Getting ready to put a ring on it? Congrats! Most likely, this is your first — and hopefully last — time standing up at the altar, which means you probably have a few questions for the class. In this guide, we’re answering a surprisingly common one — “What’s the difference between an engagement ring and a wedding ring?” — to help you master marriage before you even say, “I do.”
Knowing the difference between the wedding ring and the engagement ring can help you simplify ring shopping and figure out which — if any — ring traditions you want to follow. Let’s start with some ring basics to help you decide.
An engagement ring is a ring traditionally given during the proposal to symbolize one’s desire and intent to marry their partner. It’s usually given by the proposer to the proposee, but can be exchanged and worn by both parties if desired.
Traditionally, the engagement ring comes first, so let’s start there. Merriam-Webster defines an engagement ring as “a ring given in token of betrothal” — that’s just a fancy word for engagement. The engagement ring is the classic symbol of marriage, often presented from man to woman on one knee. Traditionally, the proposer picks out and pays for the engagement ring in the months or weeks leading up to the proposal.
That’s the traditional way of doing things. But — *record scratch* — it’s not the only way. The reality is that engagement rings are often given from woman to man, man to man and woman to woman. In fact, more and more brides-to-be have been getting on one knee to lock down their future husbands, with the frequency of female-to-male proposals spiking by over 300 percent in recent years. So what we’re saying is: you can do it however you want!
Plus, it’s more common than ever to ditch the expensive diamond in favor of more affordable engagement rings featuring simulated diamonds or non-traditional gemstones, such as emeralds, sapphires or rubies. Sure, a gold- or platinum-set solitaire diamond engagement ring is the classic way of doing things, but an engagement ring can look however you want it to look as long as it symbolizes your love and honors your style.
Luckily, you can get gorgeous style without the high cost with engagement rings from Modern Gents. While ours are just as stunning as the ones from the jewelry store, they won’t be a burden on the budget!Shop All Engagement Rings
A wedding band is a ring traditionally exchanged during the wedding ceremony to symbolize unity, commitment and everlasting love between two people. Both spouses typically wear wedding bands after getting married.
The wedding band differs from the engagement ring in symbolism, timing, and often aesthetic. Unlike with the engagement ring, the rules of who picks out and pays for the wedding band is a bit less clear-cut. The purchase often comes out of the general wedding budget and may be paid for by the couple as a unit. Wedding rings are purchased in the months leading up to the ceremony and then swapped during the ring exchange vows.
Unlike the engagement ring, both members of the couple traditionally wear a wedding ring, which means the designs and styles vary a bit more than they do with your typical engagement ring. The wedding band is usually more minimalist and often doesn’t involve any precious gems. Think: a simple titanium ring for the guys or a slim rose gold band for the ladies. Sometimes, the band is meant to match the engagement ring for a cohesive look. You can even buy them together, which saves you money. Check out some of our wedding band sets to see what we mean.Shop All Wedding Ring Sets
How do you wear an engagement ring and a wedding band together? In American culture, both the wedding and engagement rings are worn on the left-hand ring finger. You can wear them in whatever order you please, but traditionally, the wedding band goes first so it’s closer to the heart.
Know Your Rings
At the end of the day, wedding traditions are only suggestions, and you can take them or leave them as you please. Whether you choose to rock them both or none at all is totally up to you and your spouse-to-be. As long as your ring represents your love for one another, you’re doing it right! Be sure to shop our entire collection of rings to find one that celebrates your relationship.Shop All Modern Gents Rings