“Where does the wedding ring go?” We are willing to bet that you have known the answer since childhood. Most people in America, especially, wear their wedding rings on the left ring finger. Why is it that the “ring finger” is where the wedding ring is? Do brides and grooms have to do this?
Stephanie Selle, a jeweler, says that “historically, wedding rings were documented to be worn every finger except the thumb.” Today, the fourth finger of the left-hand is where most wedding gowns rings are worn. However, some countries, such as India, Germany and Spain, Norway, Norway, and Russia, prefer to wear their wedding rings on the right hand. It seems that cultural norms and traditions set the standard for this custom. Selle notes that despite all the wedding traditions and trends, the ring finger remains the most popular.
We will be discussing the fascinating story behind traditional ring finger positioning and why you might want to (or not) follow it. Find out more about engagement and promise rings, as well as other frequently asked questions.
The Meaning and History of the Ring Finger
The symbolism and tradition of the ring finger dates back to ancient times. Selle notes that legend has it that the ring finger connected to the heart via a vein. This was why lovers would have their hearts connected by their rings. This vein was called the Vena Amoris by early Romans, which is the vein of love. To signify their love and to cement the union, a ring was put on the finger.
Our modern anatomy reveals that all fingers have venous connections with the heart. There is no single vein, so the cute symbolism has been shattered. Many couples still use tradition to designate their left-hand rings fingers to show their commitment to one another.
Ring Finger FAQs
Which order should I place rings on my ring finger?
Stacking is an option if you have your wedding celebrant and engagement rings on the same finger. Married couples typically wear their wedding rings closest to their hearts. This means that they are at the bottom of their stack, below their engagement ring, and pushed towards their knuckle. This is the best way to remember it on your wedding day. Just before you walk down to the altar, switch your engagement ring over to your right hand. Your spouse can now slide the band up to your left finger. You can add the engagement ring to the band during the ceremony or later. Some Rose Gold brides choose to join their engagement and wedding rings into one piece for added practicality. This creates a new metaphor for “marital bonds” and we love it.
Can I wear my wedding ring and engagement ring on different hands?
Absolutely! It often comes down to cultural or personal preference. Some women prefer to wear their engagement ring on one ring fingers while their wedding ring is on the other. It is up to you to decide whether you want to keep a tradition alive or make your own.
Are Rings allowed on my Ring Finger if I’m not married or engaged?
According to an old wives’ tale, wearing a non-committal band on your left-hand finger could spell doom. Are you not a superstitious person? Wear it if the ring fits! However, a ring worn on your finger can indicate to others that you are in an intimate relationship. This might not be the best thing for someone who is just starting out on the dating scene.
Are Rings OK to Wear All The Time?
It might seem tempting to leave the rings on, but you should avoid any damage, such as scratching, causing damage to the stones or disfiguring the setting. If you use chemicals, go to the gym, or engage in any other physical activity, it is important to take the rings off before going to bed. Not only will it protect your rings from swelling and prevent you (or your spouse!) from getting scratches on your skin when you wake up, but it will also help to keep your hands clean.
How do I measure the size of my ring fingers?
There are many factors that go into the size of a ring fingers. You need to take into account your lifestyle and the ring you are considering. You should be aware of any activities that could cause your finger swelling, such as long travel or physical exertion. Climate can also play a role as your fingers and hands may swell more in summer than in winter. The sizing will be affected by the width of the band. Thicker bands are more likely to fit snugly.
The best time to measure your body is during the day when it feels the most normal. This means that you should be at room temperature throughout the day. Fingers might swell over the night or after eating, so don’t take the measurement after you have finished working out or eaten. If you experience slight changes in your finger size, ring guards and beads can help to offset them. Consider getting professional measurements if you are unsure of your ring size.
How to follow the Ring Fingers Tradition
There are many ways to show your love for your partner, including finger tattoos and wedding rings.
The Wedding Ring
Wedding rings are typically worn on the fourth finger of the left hand, especially in the West. However, your wedding ring can be worn on the right-hand side of your ring finger. You’d follow the lead of many northern and central European couples by doing this. This list includes Norway (Austria), Denmark, Poland, Belgium (some regions), Germany, Russia Latvia, Greece, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and Ukraine. Orthodox Christians wore rings on their right. In India, this was also true. It was believed that the left hand was cursed or unlucky. Nowadays, you can use either hand to make wedding baubles.
This tradition holds a special meaning for same-sex couples. Selle says, “I recall that before states adopted same-sex marriage, many LGBTQ+ couples would wear “commitment rings”, sometimes on their right hands. “But, since the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right, almost all of the LGBTQ+ couples that I have known and worked with chose the traditional ring fingers to be their wedding rings. Selle recalls a client who was eager to finally replace her long-term commitment ring with a marriage ring. Selle says that both sets were almost identical and represented the same promise to be married. “But, to her, the wedding band symbolised something else, as she said, ‘now we can finally get married, just like everybody else’.”
The engagement ring
In the 15th century, Maximilian, Austria’s Archduke, gifted Mary of Burgundy a ring.
The tradition dictates that newly engaged couples wear the engagement rings on their left ring fingers. This is commonly known as the “engagement ring fingers”. Some people in Europe, who prefer to wear their wedding rings on the right hand, also wear their engagement rings on the left. They then transfer the ring over. Contrary to this, couples who are engaged in Colombia or Brazil may wear their rings as bands on their right hands and then, once they have made their vows, move their rings to their left. Swedish brides may wear unique sets of wedding fashion rings, which might include an engagement ring and a wedding band.
The Promise Ring
The rise of “posy rings”, in England and France in the Middle Ages, is a key factor in the tradition of promise rings. These were small tokens that were exchanged between lovers, often with love poems inscribed.
They are largely gifted in the same way today, but the “promises” behind a promise rings can have different meanings for different people. Although commitment is the main idea, it can also refer to the future engagement, abstinence till marriage, the idea that forever or the immediate future. Although there is no set rule regarding the placement of rings, many people believe that the “engagement” and/or “wedding ring fingers have the most significance.
While rings are a great way to signify your union, they can also be used as a metaphor for the endless circle of life. But you have other options. You can choose to not wear a ring. Nontraditional couples might choose to have a tattoo placed on their ring fingers as a sign of their commitment to a life of self-sacrifice and permanence. This is a case where you need to be confident about the designation of the vein, finger or hand that will show your commitment. It’s not a slip-on, slide-off thing.