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The Three Rings of Marriage: Engagement, Wedding, and Eternity

It’s not until you begin wedding ring shopping that you realize just how many different types of rings there are, and we’re not just talking cut and color.

Did you know there are three traditional rings of marriage, and they all have different meanings and are given at different times? If you’re looking at engagement rings, wedding bands, and eternity rings with a mixture of fear and confusion, wondering which one you need and why, take a breath and keep reading.

Woman's left hand wearing The Bliss set and The Bella

Rings: The Bella, The Bliss set

Engagement Rings: The Beginning

Thankfully, engagement rings are fairly self-explanatory. These rings are for the proposal, the heart-pounding, get-down-on-one-knee, pop-the-question moment.

Woman's left hand wearing The Alexandria on ring finger
Ring: The Alexandria

Shop Affordable Engagement Rings

Engagement rings are the ones that are generally flashier and feature at least one centerpiece stone and possibly some other decorations and details. Typically, women are the only ones who receive and wear engagement rings. Men’s rings come in in the next section.

Woman's left hand wearing The Lovely on ring finger

Ring: The Lovely

Wedding Bands: The I Do

This is where people sometimes get confused. Many think that the only ring you buy is the engagement ring, but if you’re following tradition, you’ll also want to get a matching wedding band. The band is simple, usually plain metal with no stones or set with very small stones and possibly a heartfelt engraving on the inside.

Woman's left hand wearing The One and Only and The Giselle on ring finger

Rings: The Giselle, The One and Only

Wedding bands are the ones you exchange during the wedding ceremony. Both bands can match, or they can reflect the couple’s individual styles. It’s completely up to you! There really is no right or wrong way to do rings - if you want both an engagement ring and a wedding band, or one or the other, there’s no reason not to do what you feel is right.

Shop Stackable Wedding Bands for Women

If you’re sticking with tradition, the wedding band is typically worn first, with the engagement ring on top (so that the wedding band is closest to your heart).

Woman's left hand wearing The Belle and The Bella on ring finger

Rings: The Belle, The Bella

Eternity Rings: The Never-Ending

The final addition to the ring list can be given any time between the first wedding anniversary and the rest of your lives. If the wedding band is the “I do,” the eternity ring is the “I do, forever.” It’s a bit like a tangible vow renewal and re-commitment to your marriage and spouse.

Woman's left hand wearing The Amore set and The Sadie on ring finger

Rings: The Amore set, The Sadie

Eternity rings are traditionally given on a significant anniversary, such as the 10th. This isn't a rule that's set in stone, however. You can choose any anniversary you want, earlier or further down the road. Every marriage is unique!

Woman's left hand wearing The Grace, The Mia, and The Promise
Rings: The Mia, The Grace, The Promise

See, it’s not so complicated when you break it down!

Each ring is given at a different time, for a different reason, but there really are no rules. There is only what is right for each individual couple.