The wedding band and engagement ring is full of symbolism for couples. The circular shape represents the idea of eternity and eternal love, while the hole in the middle represents stepping into unknown territory. There’s even symbolism in how you are wearing a wedding ring.
Some brides will wear the wedding ring first, and the engagement ring second, so the wedding ring is closest to the heart. Other brides prefer to wear the engagement ring first, wedding ring second, in the order they received them. This is symbolic of promises made and promises kept.
But which hand does a wedding band go on? Wedding ring traditions always win, depending on where you live.
Wedding Ring on the Left Hand
Many brides and grooms elect to wear their wedding ring on their left hand, usually on the fourth or left “ring” finger. This wedding ring tradition dates all the way back to Ancient Egyptians, who believed there was a vein that ran from the left ring finger straight to the heart, called the “Vein of Love.” The ring was placed on the left ring finger of the left hand to symbolize the connection of two hearts and the eternal love they share.
There are many countries and cultures who continue this wedding ring tradition today. Western countries like South and North America, including the U.S. and European nations like France, Italy, the U.K., and Slovenia.
Wedding Ring on the Right Hand
However, if you’ve ever wondered if some folks wear their wedding ring on their right hand, the answer is yes, some do indeed! Again, stuff like this really boils down to the wedding ring tradition unique to the culture and society you live in. There are several central and Northern European countries that prefer wearing rings on the right hand and finger.
- Some areas of Belgium
Historically, Orthodox Christians and ancient Greeks brides and grooms often wore their wedding ring on the right hand and finger as well, although Christians today more often wear the wedding band on the left hand. India also once wore their wedding rings on the right hand, because the left hand was thought to be unclean (and unlucky), but today you’ll find wedding rings worn on either hand in Indian culture.
Other Wedding Ring Traditions Around the World
For Jewish couples, the bride will wear the wedding ring on the right hand. The groom places it on the index finger during the ceremony, and then afterward, it’s moved to the ring finger. In Brazil, couples wear engagement rings on the right hand, and move the rings to the left hand after their nuptials. Meanwhile, couples do the exact opposite in countries like the Netherlands and Germany.
Although wearing a wedding ring on the left hand and left ring finger is a well-honored tradition, there are many other reasons besides culture that dictate a wedding band being worn on the right hand and finger.
- Being left-handed. Some brides and grooms prefer to wear a wedding ring on their less dominant hand for convenience’s sake.
- Same-sex marriage. A ring on the right hand is often worn as an indication of a monogamous, committed relationship.
- Infidelity. You might be surprised to learn that some believe wearing a wedding ring on the right hand and finger is code for available.
Other Reasons for Wearing Wedding Bands
Some people just wear a wedding band, just because. It might be to assert their independence and show themselves as successful and wealthy, in need of no one to wear a beautiful ring. Or it could be an old family heirloom that they can’t resist wearing and showing off.
Regardless, determining what hand a wedding band goes on really comes down to traditions and personal preferences. Everyone is different and there are no laws stating one way is right over another. If you’re more inclined to buck the status quo and go the non-traditional route, more power to you! Wedding rings are symbolic of eternal love and commitment no matter how you wear them.