Engagement and Wedding Ring Customs and Traditions

Engagement and Wedding Ring Customs and Traditions

There are many traditions and etiquette involved in your engagement and wedding. Rings symbolize the enduring love and devotion you have for one another. What is the significance of having the rings on your left ring finger?

In ancient Egypt, circles represented eternity, which led to the origin of engagement rings. Ancient Egyptian couples were known to exchange "rings" made from braided reeds prior to getting married. Couples wore these reed rings on their left hands.

The vein leading from the left hand to the heart is called the "vena amoris." The heart is believed to represent love and loyalty, so it is customary to wear the ring on the finger that has the vein running directly to it. Your engagement ring is worn on your right ring finger on your wedding day. Your future husband places your wedding ring on your left ring finger during the wedding ceremony.

What types of engagement and wedding rings are used all over the world?

Most Western nations present couples with diamond rings at their weddings or engagements - a simple, sparkly gem that symbolizes loyalty and longevity in a relationship. In conventional rings, precious metals are often used, such as solid gold or platinum. Other cultures commemorate their traditions with unique wedding rings that are culturally and personally significant.

In Europe

Rather than wearing their engagement rings on the left hand, people in these countries wear them on the right. Traditions like these are passed down from generation to generation, but the rings symbolize the same concepts. Their rings are generally simpler and are made up of gold or silver bands, unlike their American counterparts. Colored gems are more popular in France than diamonds. Ruby, emeralds, and sapphires tend to be the stones of choice for Parisian ladies. The engagement ring tradition in Ireland is particularly intriguing. Claddagh rings are especially popular with Irish women.

In Some Regions of Latin America

The bride and groom are customarily expected to give each other rings on their right hand and wear them until the wedding day in many regions of Latin America. As soon as a couple is married, their wedding ring is moved to their left hand and worn there as their wedding ring. Other interesting traditions exist as well. In Argentina, for instance, both bride and groom wear silver engagement rings, which are swapped for gold bands on the wedding day. Argentinians are not big fans of diamond rings.

In Hindu Cultures

Women often wear toe rings rather than finger rings to signify their marriage status in Hinduism. Some Hindu cultures wear engagement rings of the Western style in addition to the toe rings. Some people believe that wearing toe rings keeps their reproductive system healthy by pressing on nerves related to it.


There has long been a love affair between the United Kingdom and engagement rings, and its engagement rings adopt similar, if more subdued styles to those used by the United States. Among the very popular engagement rings are vintage styles and vintage engagement rings, though many of the rings tend to be smaller in size, and have very dainty and elegant designs. Diamond solitaires with prong settings have always been a traditional choice when it comes to diamond engagement rings.

Claddagh Ring, Irish

An Irish Claddagh ring symbolizes friendship, loyalty, and love. A ring with hands represents friendship, a ring with a heart represents love, and a ring with a crown represents loyalty. To show you are single, wear your ring with its crown facing you on your right hand. The crown of a relationship ring should be worn outward on the right hand. When you are engaged, move the ring from your right hand to your left. It should be placed on the left hand, facing away from the wearer, to indicate marriage.

In Nordic Tradition

Both men and women in the Nordic countries, such as Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Finland and Denmark, exchange and wear simple gold bands as engagement rings. Both sexes typically exchange engagement rings of the same form in Nordic countries, and, to top it off, the bride receives an additional, more precious, and more exquisite wedding ring. The popularity of ornate and complex men's engagement rings has increased over the past few years as more women initiate proposals. Furthermore, women's engagement rings are now becoming more elaborately decorated.


A very unique engagement tradition in Turkey involves the bride and groom waiting for a young girl to carry their engagement rings on a tray to a senior member of their family while standing in front of the senior member. An old family member cuts the red ribbon that ties the rings together and gives the bride and groom a traditional blessing and wish before presenting the rings. Additionally, the bride is often presented with jewelry while the groom is presented with a wristwatch during the ceremony.


China has not had an engagement ring custom for several decades. The gold band is usually worn by married couples, like in Norway, to symbolize their union. Diamond companies like DeBeers and Tiffany are now taking engagement rings to Asia, which could change the engagement ring industry there. Platinum engagement rings are popular with rich couples who want lots of sparkly diamonds. Ornate but modern styles include twisted bands, pave halos, and mixed metals.

Final Verdict

As far as wedding and engagement ring traditions go, there is no 'one size fits all approach. Choosing the right piece of jewelry is a personal decision as much as it is cultural and religious. There is a fundamental truth to the majority of weddings, namely, that two people decide to spend their lives together. However, every culture has its own beautiful traditions, including the wearing of wedding rings on the vein amoris in some countries.

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