Engagement Ring vs Wedding Ring

Engagement Ring vs Wedding Ring – Basics

An engagement ring is used to pop the question. A wedding ring is given at the wedding. They can be one and the same. Or you can present two separate rings.

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The Wedding Ring Described

The moment you say, “I do,” the engagement ring becomes a wedding ring. When it’s joined with a second ring at the ceremony, also called a wedding band, the wearer has a wedding set consisting of two rings.

engagement ring vs wedding ring
Photo courtesy of Blue Nile

Engagement Ring vs Wedding Ring

Traditional wedding sets consist of a primary ring (the engagement ring) which showcases a dominant center stone, either as a solitaire, or surrounded by smaller stones. The wedding band which joins it at the ceremony might be plain metal, or set with diamonds, but it’s typically more subtle and far less expensive than the dominant ring, even when adorned with small diamonds or other gemstones.

PriceScope Pointer: Be sure the bride’s rings were purposely designed to be worn together. Non-matched rubbing rings will nearly always damage each other, especially when diamonds are involved.

Some married women remove their wedding ring for occupational reasons (surgeons), when traveling, etc. In such cases a wedding band is nice to keep wearing for symbolic reasons. This idea was developed in ancient Rome, where affluent brides were presented with two rings – a gold band to be worn in public and an iron ring to wear when working in the household.

wedding set worn casually
Photo courtesy of James Allen

The traditional wedding set is worn with the engagement ring and wedding ring together on the fourth finger of the left hand in most countries, or the right hand in India. Some people believe the wedding band should be worn inside the original engagement ring, so it’s closer to the heart. Others don’t even wear the engagement ring and wedding band on the same hand.


Engagement Ring vs Wedding Ring: Let’s Get Practical

Do you need both? A better question is “does the recipient want both?”


A diamond engagement ring paired with an elegant wedding band is a frequently seen, timeless combination. With that said there are no rules. It really comes down to personal preference. If the wearer likes a more traditional look and the practicality of a second ring when the engagement ring comes off, go for it. A well designed, high quality wedding set offers the opportunity for amazing sparkle.

matching wedding set
Photo courtesy of Whiteflash

Practical Decisions

It’s undeniable that brides are more and more involved in choosing the designing their rings ahead of the wedding. For this reason, we recommend asking recipients what their preferences are. The bride to be may want to design a single masterpiece. On the other hand (not usually literally) wedding bands provide the opportunity to add flair, personality, and sparkle to the ring finger. Whatever the case, you might stimulate even more excitement about the wedding by opening a dialogue about another blinger for her finger.

Practical Pondering

 It’s possible the recipient hasn’t thought about a solo engagement ring vs wedding ring paired with a wedding band. It may be practical for her to wear the engagement ring for some weeks prior to deciding whether to add a wedding band. Taking time to envision what it would look like, paired with the proposal ring, is a good idea.

Practical Timeline

Wedding bands may need lead time for your chosen vendor to create and deliver. We suggest you make your final determinations well in advance of the wedding date, in close communication with the jeweler providing the wedding band (or his and her wedding bands). A delivery date at least 30 days in advance of the big day provides a comfortable timing cushion. Besides, you’ll have a lot going on that last month.


Devil’s Advocate

Now that we’ve provided advice on the engagement ring vs wedding ring let’s consider the merits of a single ring worn after the wedding.

  • The money you would normally spend for two rings could be set aside. Propose with a simple, affordable solitaire and then surprise the bride to be with an upgrade budget she can use however she wishes.
  • If you propose with a standalone engagement ring it can be challenging to find a matching wedding band later, depending on design (and her taste of course). Two rings worn on the same hand need to be carefully matched to avoid discomfort and damage.
  • Speaking of discomfort, single rings are typically more comfortable and less time consuming to maintain. If the wearer’s finger size changes, seasonally or over time, a wedding set will also require two re-sizings.

So what’s the answer to the engagement ring vs wedding ring (band) question? Ultimately there are no rules. The sky is the limit when it comes to proposal, marriage, and the symbols you choose. The most important thing is to ensure the recipient is ecstatic when looking at that dazzling ring finger.

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