When you’re planning a wedding there are numerous details to iron out, from which guests to invite to which colors to use for your decor. In the process, you’re sure to inquire about many things in order to eliminate unpleasant surprises on your big day.
But one detail brides and grooms often leave for the last minute (or forget about entirely) is a crucial one, and that is, which hand does the wedding ring go on?
The answer? It’s common practice in the United States and many other places to wear your wedding on your left hand, on your ring finger. But there’s no hard and fast rule, so it’s a matter of personal choice, ultimately.
That said, the moment at your wedding when your officiant tells you to put on your wedding ring is, needless to say, not the most opportune moment to consider this question for the first time!
If you’ve never worn a wedding ring before, there can be an embarrassingly fumbling moment where you wonder which hand your ring should go on. Most people know this but some don’t.
You can avoid embarrassment by knowing with confidence your answer to that question before you stand up in front of your family and friends on your big day.
So which hand does the engagement ring go on?
As with the wedding ring, if you prefer to follow current convention in many countries, It should also be placed on your left hand, on your ring finger (next to your pinky).
If you choose to follow this tradition, you can remember that your engagement ring goes on your left hand because it goes on the same side of your body as your heart.
Before many people receive their wedding ring, they first receive an engagement ring, which symbolizes their commitment to marry their partner.
In Western culture, engagement rings are traditionally given only to the bride, but in many other cultures, brides and grooms both wear engagement rings as a promise to marry their partner.
But before you take your engagement ring selfie and blast it on your social media accounts, you want to ensure you have that ring placed on the correct hand.
And in the context that we”re framing this, that means the hand of your choice, after considering various things including tradition and your own reasons for going with that or not.
When it’s time to swap your engagement ring out for a wedding ring, you may wonder whether the wedding ring goes on the same finger your engagement ring went on, or if it switches hands the way a tassel switches sides during graduation.
The answer? Just like the engagement ring, convention in many cultures often dictates your wedding ring should be placed on your left hand, on your ring finger.
Traditionally, you should move your engagement ring to your right hand just before the wedding ceremony so that your wedding band can be closest to your heart.
After the ceremony — and from then on — you can wear both rings on the left hand, with the wedding ring on the inside and the engagement ring on the outside.
And of course if you prefer to follow your own path, two rings offer give lots of possibilities in terms of wearing both on a certain finger of either hand, or on different fingers of the same or different hands, etc.!
What’s the significance of wearing the wedding ring on the left hand?
The tradition of wearing your wedding band on the left is said to date back to the ancient Romans. They believed that there was a special vein — the Vena Amoris, or “vein of love”
— that ran from the ring finger on the left side directly to the heart.
By encircling your left finger with a band — a circle that continues around forever without a break — you symbolize your infinite, endless love for your partner.
Today, many couples continue the tradition left by the ancient Romans by celebrating weddings with rings worn on the same finger they dictated so long ago.
But even if you don’t do as the Romans did, the sentiment behind their thinking is timeless and easily adapted to whatever choice you make.
Your engagement and wedding are milestones to celebrate. But when the celebrations are complete the music will fade, and the food will become a distant memory.
Your wedding ring, on the other hand, will remain, the one memento from your big day that you and your spouse will enjoy for the rest of your lives.
For this reason, wedding rings are one item that couples justifiably often splurge on. Just be sure, whether you follow the tradition of wearing your wedding ring on your left finger or not, that you come to your wedding day well prepared to offer one hand over the other without hesitation.
Then, you’ll be free to enjoy and savor the moment, along with all of the others in the years that follow in your journey together!