Difference between Engagement Ring and Wedding Ring (Wedding Band)

Does a couple need both an engagement ring as well as wedding rings to make their relationship official? What is the meaning of one as opposed to the other, and can we do without any of them? There are couples who follow along the lines of tradition and enjoy it, and why wouldn’t they? We are talking about jewels. But do they know why they do these things?


engagement ring vs wedding ring
An example of an engagement ring

An engagement ring is a ring presented at the marriage proposal. It is given by the man to the woman and, if she accepts, she is supposed to wear it from that moment on as a sign of betrothal. Historically, signs of spouse marking can be traced back to a very early age. The Egyptians used to be buried with thin metal wires wrapped around the third finger of the left hand which was thought to have been connected to the heart.

Engagement rings come in all shapes and sizes but some models are more popular. The diamond engagement ring with a big diamond elevated from the mount is the classic choice. Matters such as the type of gold, the pattern, additional diamonds can also be decided on.

wedding rings
Gold wedding rings

Wedding rings or wedding bands are exchanged during the wedding ceremony. They started being used in Christian wedding ceremonies just before the Middle Ages and they went from phases of very opulent adornment to a more simplified and rather symbolic look. The rings being round signify eternity, which is how long the couple is supposed to be bound together for.

The placement of the wedding rings on the finger – known as the ring finger – is still being debated. It seems that the Romans too had a belief that the fourth finger of the left hand had the “Vein of Love”/ “Vena Amoris” and placed the ring there, but this was shown to be false. Other theories claim that the fourth left hand finger is the most practical since the majority of people are right handed and the ring would not hinder them if placed on the left hand.

Engagement vs Wedding rings

So what is the difference between engagement and wedding rings (or wedding bands)?

Nowadays, the engagement ring is worn from the marriage proposal up to the wedding as the single ring on the left hand ring finger. During the wedding ceremony, the wedding ring is placed on the ring finger instead of the engagement ring. Some couples choose the model of the wedding ring so as to have it worn by the woman together with the engagement ring.

Although they are exchanged during different ceremonies, and in the case of the wedding rings the man often also gets to wear one, these rings have the same meaning, especially for women. They represent the fact that they are promised to or belong to a certain man. Even though feelings of love and belonging have changed over time, we have kept the symbolic gesture and it represents the same thing. People can leave out the engagement ring tradition, but wedding rings are part of the religious ceremony.

Comparison Chart

Engagement ring Wedding rings
Given at the wedding proposal to the future bride Exchanged during the wedding ceremony
Only worn by the woman Worn by both the man and the woman
Sign of betrothal Sign of belonging