What to Know About the Wedding Ring Finger Meaning (2023)

After your significant other pops that question, your first instinct might be to slide your engagement ring on the fourth finger of your left hand. It's often referred to as your "ring finger," primarily because it's a common spot to stack an engagement ring and wedding ring. But if you've ever wondered which finger a wedding ring goes on, you're not alone. While wearing wedding jewelry on your left ring finger is a common practice, especially in the United States, it's not the only option. In fact, the wedding ring finger meaning and tradition is steeped in history, and it often changes among different cultures.

READ MOREHow to Stack Your Wedding and Engagement Rings

So, what's the proper wedding ring finger and hand? Do you have to wear it on your left, or can you transfer your jewels to the right if you'd like? Here, we break down everything you need to know about how to wear your engagement, wedding or promise ring.

READ MOREHow to Stack Your Wedding and Engagement Rings

In this article:

  • What's the Proper Wedding Ring Finger?
  • The Traditional Ring Finger Meaning
  • The Wedding Ring Finger Meaning
  • The Engagement Ring Finger Meaning
  • Which Finger Do You Wear Your Engagement Ring On?
  • Which Finger Do You Wear Your Wedding Ring On?
  • Can You Wear Your Wedding Ring on Your Right Hand?
  • What Does Wearing Rings on Different Fingers Mean?
  • What Finger Does a Promise Ring Go On?

What's the Proper Wedding Ring Finger?

If you're confused about what hand you should wear your wedding rings on, we have good news: As with most wedding traditions, the choice is up to you. You might be familiar with the "vein of love" tale that prompts most couples to wear their wedding jewelry on the fourth finger of the left hand. But if you like the look of your engagement ring alone on one finger, you can certainly separate both rings—you can even wear your stack on your right hand if you'd like. While there's no "proper" wedding ring finger, there are some meaningful reasons why couples often choose the left hand, which we explain below.

The Traditional Ring Finger Meaning

The tradition of wearing an engagement and/or wedding ring on the fourth finger of the left hand is a romantic one—but the meaning is totally untrue. Kristen Lawler-Trustey, a spokeswoman for jewelry brand Forevermark, explains that the ancient Romans believed this finger had a vein that ran directly to the heart—the Vena Amoris, or "Vein of Love." So of course, couples in love should wear the symbol of their love and devotion on that lifeline.

(Video) If You Wear Rings on Different Fingers, It Says a Lot About You

Today, we know there's no such vein (although we still love the story!), yet the tradition of wearing the engagement and wedding ring on the fourth finger of the left hand continues here in the US. But there are some countries, says Zaven Ghanimian, CEO of Simon G Jewelry, where the ring finger of the right hand is the more popular choice for brides and grooms to wear their rings, like in Russia, Greece and Colombia.

Want to know more about which finger and hand to wear your wedding, engagement or promise ring? Read on.

The Wedding Ring Finger Meaning

What to Know About the Wedding Ring Finger Meaning (1)

Joseph Esser Photo and Video

Wedding rings are a sweet symbol of eternal love throughout history. "The tradition of wedding rings came about in Egypt, about 4,800 years ago," Ghanimian says. "The circle symbolizes eternity, with no beginning or end. What most people don't know is that the hole in the center of the ring also has significance—it's not just space, but rather a gateway or door. When you give someone a ring, it signifies immortal love."

Couples typically exchange rings during their wedding ceremony, placing the ring on each other's wedding ring finger—the fourth finger of the left hand—after saying their vows. As for determining what hand does the wedding ring goes on, the choice is really up to you. Traditions are nice, but etiquette rules have softened through the years.

There are no rules on which metal your wedding rings must be made of, or whether or not they should match. You can opt for simple bands or more elaborate ones with stones or designs. Some couples choose to have their wedding date or a romantic phrase inscribed in their bands.

(Video) What does it mean to wear a wedding ring on your right hand?


The Engagement Ring Finger Meaning

It wasn't until more recently that engagement rings appeared on the scene. "The first recorded use of a diamond engagement ring occurred in 1477, when Archduke Maximilian of Austria presented Mary of Burgundy with a ring featuring hogback diamonds (modern-day baguette diamonds) arranged in the shape of the Gothic letter M," Lawler-Trustey says.

His engagement ring choice then sparked a trend—for more than one reason. "Diamonds have long been an unwavering symbol of a couple's eternal love and commitment to one another," Lawler-Trustey says. "A diamond is the hardest and most durable naturally occurring substance found on Earth, making it the perfect choice to represent enduring, everlasting love and the promise of forever. Each diamond is also incredibly rare and unique. No two diamonds are alike, just as each couple's love has its own unique story."

Still, diamonds aren't a requirement for an engagement ring. They can have other gemstones, or whatever else suits your sense of style. For example, Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton has a blue sapphire engagement ring, Carrie Underwood has a canary yellow diamond and Jessica Simpson has a red ruby engagement ring. Emerald engagement rings and black diamond engagement rings are other trendy alternatives to the classic bauble. Pearl engagement rings and moonstone engagement rings are other non-diamond engagement rings to consider.

There's also been a rise in the popularity of engagement rings (or watches) for men too. "Today, it is not uncommon to see men wearing an engagement ring," Lawler-Trustey says.

Which Finger Do You Wear Your Engagement Ring On?

Given this knowledge, most wearers dictate their fourth finger on their left hand as their engagement ring finger. Since it's become so mainstream over the years, the engagement ring finger is generally known to be on the left hand. However, there aren't any steadfast rules about ways you must wear your wedding jewelry. If the ring feels comfortable on another finger or your opposite hand, you can wear it wherever you please. (It is your bauble, after all!)


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Which Finger Do You Wear Your Wedding Ring On?

What to Know About the Wedding Ring Finger Meaning (5)

Bonphotage Fine Art Photography

If you're planning your wedding and looking down at that sparkler, you're probably wondering how you'll wear your engagement ring on your wedding day. The first thing to note is that married people typically wear their wedding bands closer to their hearts—in other words, below the engagement ring.

Probably the most popular way to swing this is to move your engagement ring to your right hand for your walk down the aisle. That way, your fiance can slide your wedding band onto your left hand, and you can then later place your engagement ring on top of it.

"Usually people have slightly larger ring sizes on the right hand, but as long as it is within a quarter of the size, this should work," Ghanimian says. If the engagement ring is too big or too small to do this—or you just don't want to take the engagement ring off (and risk losing it!)—it's okay to put your band above your engagement ring. Some people even have their wedding band soldered to the engagement ring so that it becomes one piece of jewelry and represents the marital bond.

After the wedding day, wear your engagement and wedding rings however you like them best. Again, the most popular way in the US is to have them both on the ring finger of the left hand with your wedding band first, but you can separate them and wear them on opposite hands, or you can wear your wedding band solo. While it's easy to obsess about which finger does a wedding ring go on, the choice is really yours to make.

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"Many people are wearing their wedding bands solo as an excuse to start a collection of bands that they can stack on their right hand," Lawler-Trustey says. "Some are even receiving more than one wedding band on the day of the wedding to surround their engagement ring. Another trend we've seen is forgoing the traditional engagement ring altogether and requesting a beautiful diamond eternity band."

Ghanimian agrees that breaking engagement ring rules makes your choice even more unique. "There may be traditions, but there are no rules!" Ghanimian says. "Everyone can express their personal preferences individually through wedding jewelry."

Can You Wear Your Wedding Ring on Your Right Hand?

What to Know About the Wedding Ring Finger Meaning (6)


Your wedding ring finger doesn't have to be on your left hand. While tradition singles out the left ring finger as the ideal option, modern trends allow us to pick and choose how to wear our rings. It's perfectly acceptable to wear your wedding ring or engagement ring on either hand and any finger. In fact, you don't have to wear a ring at all – the choice is up to you and your partner to decide what fits your lifestyle best.

What Does Wearing Rings on Different Fingers Mean?

Different cultures have different meanings associated with each finger. While your wedding ring finger is traditionally on your right hand, some cultures wear wedding rings on their right index finger. Similarly, signet rings worn on the pinky finger are also associated with marital status. In general, though, there are no hard and fast rules to follow, so choose whichever finger works best for your ring.

What Finger Does a Promise Ring Go On?

Unlike engagement and wedding rings, the promise ring is a tradition dating back to the 16th century that's commonly misunderstood, since the ring used to signify the promise that an engagement would ensue. Now, that's not always the case, since some couples might not be ready for impending marriage, but want to show their commitment somehow.

So, what is a promise ring exactly? Today, a promise ring can have any number of personal meanings; typically it's a symbol of an exclusive relationship and/or of love. "The gifting of promise rings has been an age-old tradition, for couples who are in a steady relationship, and symbolizing their newfound love and commitment to each other," Lawler-Trustey says.

(Video) 5 Rules For Men Wearing Rings | Ring Symbolism & Significance

It can also mean the couple has promised to one day get married. Or in the case of purity rings, they may have promised to remain abstinent until their wedding day. Some believe promise rings are pre-engagement rings—and while it isn't always, it can be. "Many times, engagement rings inspire responses of 'How did he propose, when's the date, what are your colors and where are you getting married?' If you don't want to jump into the wedding planning process, a couple may choose to go with a promise ring," Ghanimian says. "It's a symbol that marriage is where the relationship is headed eventually, when you're both ready."

So, on which finger does a promise ring go? There's no hard and fast rule here. Some couples use the same finger as the engagement and wedding rings—the fourth finger of the left hand—but since this isn't an official engagement, others opt for a different finger. If you wear your promise ring on your left hand, once you get married, the tradition is to move the promise ring to your right hand ring finger, Lawler-Trustey says.


What is the meaning of the wedding ring finger? ›

The tradition and symbolism of the ring finger can be traced back to ancient times. "According to legend, it was believed the ring finger had a vein that connected directly to the heart, so lovers' hearts would be connected by their rings," notes Selle.

Does it mean when you wear your wedding ring on the right hand? ›

This is because it is believed that the right hand represents virtue and honor, just as the Bible mentions Jesus sitting at the right hand of God. In Jewish tradition, during the wedding ceremony, the wedding ring is placed on the index finger of the right hand.

What finger are you supposed to wear your wedding ring on? ›

The ring finger is the fourth finger on the hand, and most brides wear their engagement and wedding bands on that finger of the left hand. However, it's not the same in all cultures and countries. In parts of Europe, women wear their wedding jewelry on the right-hand ring finger instead.

Does the ring finger have a vein that goes straight to the heart? ›

The fourth finger of the left hand, believed to possess a vein that runs securely to the heart, is the finger we here in the US wear our wedding rings on. The vein of love or more amorously called the Vena Amoris, is from ancient times and is thought to originate with Eqypt.

What does each finger represent? ›

Ring finger – relationship status – this is where your wedding band goes. Middle finger – individuality – communicates order and purpose. Index finger – allegiance – leadership and ambition – mainly used for membership rings. Thumb – strength of character – shows willpower and freedom of thought.

Who wears wedding ring on right hand? ›

While it's common in the Western world to have your ring finger on your left hand, that tradition doesn't hold true throughout the world. Greece, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Poland, Austria, Norway, Russia and Spain, among other countries, have cultural traditions that dictate you wear your wedding ring on the right.

What is a divorce ring? ›

A divorce ring is a piece of jewelry that symbolizes the end of a marriage. It can be worn on the finger of the hand that once held a wedding ring, or it can be placed on a necklace or bracelet.

Do I wear my engagement ring on my wedding day? ›

It's perfectly natural and very common for the engagement ring to remain on the wedding ring finger during the ceremony. Although it's tradition for the wedding ring to sit underneath the engagement ring, you can simply swap these over later.

Is it disrespectful to not wear your wedding ring? ›

While many couples believe you should always wear your ring, it really is up to personal preference, and you won't know how your partner feels about it until you ask.

What is promise rings for girlfriend? ›

The tradition of gifting promise rings dates back to ancient times, when rings engraved with romantic poems were exchanged as a symbol and promise of love. Nowadays, it often means a couple's commitment to each other or a declaration of monogamy, especially if they've been dating for some time.

What finger should I wear a ring on if I'm not married? ›

2. The Fourth (Ring) Finger. In the US and much of North & South America, the ring finger is most commonly associated with wedding symbolism: a band on the right fourth finger indicates engagement, while a band on the left fourth finger indicates marriage.

What finger do men wear wedding ring? ›

Yes, traditionally wedding rings, at least in America, go on the left ring finger (the second finger from the left) for both women and men. This tradition stems from a belief that goes back to the Tudor era in England in the 1500s that there's a vein that runs directly from the left ring finger to the heart.

Is your ring size the same as your shoe size? ›

Is Her ring size the same as her shoe size? We hear this one surprisingly a lot! The truth: shoe sizes and ring sizes have no connection to each other – any similarities are pure lucky coincidence.

Which finger is connected to the artery? ›

Radial Artery of the Index finger

It brings blood supply to the index finger along its thumb side. The other side (ulnar side) of the index finger is supplied by a branch of a common digital artery.

Is there a main artery in your ring finger? ›

Each finger has two proper digital arteries that run on either side. If one of these vessels is injured, the others can usually maintain the blood supply to the entire finger.

What fingers say about your life? ›

That said, your finger length can also speak volumes about the kind of person you are. Studies have shown that high levels of male hormone i.e. testosterone is associated with the slow growth of index finger, which people believe can disclose many things about a person's personality.

Which finger means single? ›

2. Index Finger. Wearing a ring on his /her left index finger indicates that he/she is unmarried and also symbolizes his/her status as a single nobleman.

What do the 5 fingers represent? ›

The thumb represents your parents, the index finger represents your siblings, the middle finger represents you, the ring finger represents your partner and the pinky represents your children. 1.

Which finger do you wear a ring for good luck? ›

To bring harmony to your relationships, you should wear it on your ring finger. Another good finger to wear it on is the little finger.

What is the difference between engagement ring and wedding ring? ›

An engagement ring is usually given as part of the proposal or, if not, at an early point in the engagement. By contrast, a wedding ring is traditionally a plain metal band or a diamond-encrusted eternity band that you receive when you exchange your vows during the wedding ceremony.

Why do widows still wear their wedding rings? ›

A common option when deciding what to do with your wedding ring after your spouse's death is to continue to wear it in their honor. For many, it can be a form of comfort to continue wearing your wedding ring. Often that ring is a reminder of the love and memories you shared with your spouse.

What do black rings mean? ›

Black can signify power, courage, or strength, as well as show conviction or belief. In relation to marriage, a black ring can symbolize the power of love. Wearing black rings can be a way for a couple to show that they are dedicated to their marriage and that they believe in the strength of their union above all else.

Who keeps wedding ring after divorce? ›

Due to the fact that the wedding rings are exchanged during the wedding ceremony, they are considered interspousal gifts and thus marital assets. Upon dissolution of the marriage, each spouse would each receive one half the value of both rings.

Who keeps engagement ring after divorce? ›

As we explained above, even if an engagement ring is a conditional gift, it belongs to the recipient once the couple is married. For this reason, most state courts agree that the engagement ring is the recipient's separate property. That means the recipient will probably get to keep it after the divorce.

How long should you be engaged for? ›

While research shows the average length of engagement for most couples in the United States is between 12-18 months, you shouldn't let this influence your decision. Some couples have shorter engagements and others wait closer to two years before tying the knot.

Who puts ring on first in wedding? ›

Traditionally, the groom goes first in the exchange of rings. Although most couples choose to follow tradition, there's no rule that says you can't switch things up. If one of you is more comfortable than the other in front of an audience, then you might want that person to go first, so the other will be less nervous.

Is it better to have a ring sized up or down? ›

If you're between sizes, it's usually best to size up rather than down, as it's easier to adjust a ring that's too big than one that's too small. You may even go back and forth between two sizes; for example, your hands can swell up on hot days, making your ring size slightly larger.

What should you not do with your wedding ring? ›

No matter the kind you have, avoid exposing your wedding band to harsh chemicals, soaps and beauty products. You'll also want to avoid potential damage to your ring by taking it off at the gym and leaving it at home when you go to the beach or hit the pool.

Can I wear a ring on my wedding finger if I'm not married? ›

You can wear whatever kind of jewelry you want, and when it comes to rings, if you want to wear rings on your ring finger and you're not married or engaged, that is YOUR CHOICE. There's no law or rule prohibiting you from wearing rings on your ring finger if you're single.

When should you not wear your wedding ring? ›

While swimming or exercising. Salt water and chlorine can be damaging, especially for sterling silver jewelry. And sweat can make sterling silver jewelry tarnish quickly.

What is karma ring? ›

A Karma ring uses a combination of circles to symbolize the spiritual notion of "what goes around comes around". This ring will inspire the wearer to live a life full of good deeds and in so doing will receive the same in return.

How do I find out my girlfriend's ring size? ›

Simply put one of your partner's rings on your finger and remember (or mark) where it stops. A jeweler can measure that part of your finger and get a good estimate of the size of that ring. Each finger is typically a different size, so make sure to use a ring that your partner actually wears on the ring finger.

What are the rules of a promise ring? ›

Promise rings are worn on any finger, unlike the engagement ring, which goes on the left hand's ring finger. However, couples who intend to get engaged at some point wear the promise rings on the same finger as they would wear an engagement ring. The ring is then moved to another finger once the engagement happens.

Do men wear wedding ring on right? ›

Although various cultures have different traditions and norms, the most common aspect is exchanging rings at weddings. Traditionally in most countries worldwide: the USA, Britain, New Zealand, and Australia, men wear their wedding rings on the left hand.

How much should a man's wedding ring be? ›

Average Wedding Band Cost for Men

The average cost of a wedding band for men is about $510, according to The Knot. The price can vary significantly based on the metal used. Titanium is the least expensive, while platinum costs the most.

Does ring size increase with age? ›

After years, fingers and/or knuckles usually get bigger. It's best to have your ring resized while you can still take it off.

How do you tell if a ring is a good size? ›

Rule of Thumb: A proper fitting ring should slide over your knuckle with a little friction and fit snugly on your finger, but not too tight. You should feel resistance and need to apply a little extra force to remove the ring backwards over your knuckle.

How can I check my ring size at home? ›

Wrap string or paper around the base of your finger. Mark the point where the ends meet with a pen. Measure the string or paper with a ruler (mm) then divide by 3.14 (or Pi) to get the diameter of the ring. Pick the closest measurement on the ring size chart to find your ring size.

Why do we take blood from ring finger? ›

The middle or ring finger is preferred as having the greatest depth of tissue beneath the skin and hence offering the least chances of injury. The thumb or index finger may be more likely to be calloused or scarred, as well as being much more sensitive, making the procedure more painful.

Why do you put a ring in your ring finger? ›

The History and Meaning of the Ring Finger

The tradition and symbolism of the ring finger can be traced back to ancient times. "According to legend, it was believed the ring finger had a vein that connected directly to the heart, so lovers' hearts would be connected by their rings," notes Selle.

What happens if a needle hits an artery? ›

Hitting an artery can be painful and dangerous. Arterial blood travels away from the heart so whatever is injected goes straight to body limbs and extremities. Injection particles get stuck in blood capillaries and cut off circulation. This can result in a lack of blood flow, eventually causing the tissue to die.

Which finger is closest to the heart? ›

The fourth finger of the left hand, believed to possess a vein that runs securely to the heart, is the finger we here in the US wear our wedding rings on. The vein of love or more amorously called the Vena Amoris, is from ancient times and is thought to originate with Eqypt.

Why do we wear wedding rings? ›

By wearing rings on their fourth fingers, married spouses symbolically declare their life-long love for and fidelity to each other. This symbol has public utility, and is presently expected as a matter of tradition and etiquette, so much so that its absence is often interpreted as meaning that the person is single.

Why do people wear wedding rings on right hand? ›

The Romans, who introduced the world to the principle of marriage proposals, believed that the left hand was untrustworthy and unholy. Therefore, they used to wear their wedding rings on their right hand.

Why does a woman wear a ring on her right hand? ›

While the term 'right hand ring' is a relatively new one, the idea of wearing a ring on the right hand to signify a woman's economic independence has its roots in the original cocktail rings of the 1920s.

Which ring finger means single? ›

Both the left pinky finger and right pinky finger wear rings to be single. The ring on the left pinky finger also reveals that a person is unmarried. Wearing a ring on your right pinky finger indicates that you don't want to fall in love.

Why do people wear 3 rings on wedding finger? ›

The engagement ring represents the promise to get married, the wedding band represents the actual union and the third ring represents another large milestone for couples. The third ring is given after one of two events: an anniversary or the birth of a couple's first child.

Why does a woman wear a wedding ring on her left hand? ›

The western tradition of wearing your wedding bands on your left finger goes further back than you might have previously thought- all the way to the days of Ancient Rome. At the time, the Romans believed that a vein ran directly from the fourth finger on the left hand to the heart.

How long should you be in a relationship before you get a promise ring? ›

It depends on when you feel comfortable and settled enough in your relationship to want to make a promise. This process may only take a couple of months for some people, while for others, it may take a year. Typically, we'd recommend waiting for at least six months before you give or receive a promise ring.

Which finger is lucky for ring? ›

To bring harmony to your relationships, you should wear it on your ring finger. Another good finger to wear it on is the little finger.

Can I wear my wedding ring after divorce? ›

#1 Continue to wear it

If you feel comfortable to still wear your wedding ring, then you should not feel pressured to take it off. Some people are not ready to remove their wedding ring for some time, perhaps not until they meet someone else or enough time has passed for them to recover from their divorce.

What ring goes on first after marriage? ›

Wearing The Rings After The Ceremony

Traditionally, the wedding band is placed first on the left ring finger and then the engagement ring is placed on top of it. The wedding band symbolizes the bonded commitment between you and your partner, so wearing it first keeps the ring closest to the heart.

How many rings should a wife have? ›

It's customary for brides to receive two rings. An engagement band before the wedding, and a wedding ring during the ceremony. Your first ring is a promise of marriage. The second solidifies the promise.

What does the Bible say about a wedding ring? ›

The use of wedding ring is not commanded in the Bible, and there is no indication that it was ever practised in the New Testament. The use of finger ring in the Bible was as a symbol of authority.

Why does the engagement ring go on after the wedding ring? ›

Symbolically, the idea that your engagement represents a promise and your wedding ring crystallizes that promise might really speak to you. Wearing your wedding ring on the outside gives your engagement story a sort of figurative bookend—first, you're engaged, now it's official.


1. Which HAND Does a Wedding Ring Go On | Wedding Ring Finger
(Jill Maurer)
2. Origins: Why does the wedding ring go on our left hand?
(Fox News)
3. The Meaning of Engagement, Wedding, and Promise Rings and What Finger to Wear Them On | The Knot
(The Knot)
4. Rings & Their Meaning, Symbolism For Men - What Finger(s) To Wear A Ring On
(Gentleman's Gazette)
5. Who Invented Wedding Rings? Why We Wear Wedding Ring On 4th Finger?
(Facts Drawn)
6. Wedding Ring Finger: Why do we wear Wedding Rings 4th finger of Left Hand, Know the Reason | Boldsky
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