Engagement Ring vs. Wedding Ring: What’s the Difference?

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One of the most important aspects of a marriage proposal is the engagement ring. This ring is traditionally a beautiful gemstone set on a band and is what has come to be known as a symbol of wedding culture. This piece of jewelry is oftentimes mistakenly referred to as the wedding ring, and the two terms seem to have become interchangeable in everyday vocabulary. But, what really is the difference between an engagement ring and a wedding ring? Do you need to have both?  We answer these questions and more to help clear things up.

What is an engagement ring?

An engagement ring is given to someone at the time of a marriage proposal. Traditionally, women receive the engagement ring and are expected to wear it starting from the time of the proposal. Having a ring on her finger will indicate to the world that she is taken and is committed to her partner. These rings can vary greatly in terms of extravagance and price, but the most common type of engagement ring has a diamond or another gemstone set atop a pretty band. The engagement ring is worn on the third finger of the left hand (the one next to the pinky).

wedding ring versus engagement ring

Photo Credit: Flameville

What is a wedding ring?

Wedding rings are exchanged between partners during the wedding ceremony. They are typically more simple bands in comparison to the engagement ring and do not have a center diamond or prominent gemstone. Both partners receive a wedding band during the ceremony and they each wear them on the third fingers of their left hands. Because the wedding band is placed on the same finger as the engagement ring, many brides choose to move their engagement rings to their right hands for the ceremony and then move them back to the left hand afterwards so that their two rings are stacked.

wedding ring engagement ring set

Photo Credit: Weddingbee

The meanings behind the rings

The tradition of the engagement ring dates back many centuries, when a man would ask for his lady’s hand in marriage by giving her a valuable ring in exchange for the father’s  approval and exchange in “ownership” of this lady. These rings became more and more extravagant over time because they came to represent the man’s wealth, which was very desirable for both the man and the woman and her family. Although this notion is clearly very dated, the tradition of offering a ring for one’s hand in marriage has lived on.

In addition to the historical meaning of the wedding ring, there is also a symbolic aspect as well. The circular shape of a ring represents eternity and infinity, and the hole through the ring signifies a doorway leading to events in the future. To give someone a ring indicates the commitment of never-ending and immortal love.

engagement ring vs wedding ring

Photo Credit: Robbins Brothers

Do I need to wear both an engagement and wedding ring?

Because the engagement ring is traditionally the flashier and more extravagant ring of the two, most women wear the engagement ring on their left hand ring fingers. Many women will wear their wedding bands stacked underneath the engagement ring as well, while some women choose to only wear one ring to represent both. Many jewelers sell engagement rings and wedding rings as a set so that they match one another and look stylish when worn together. However, this is absolutely not a requirement and you and your partner can choose to buy wedding bands at your own leisure if you wish to have them at all.

bride and groom wedding rings

Photo Credit: Gigmasters

Men typically receive wedding bands on the day of their wedding ceremonies. These grooms wedding bands are generally thicker in width than bridal wedding bands and are usually made of one type of precious metal, such as gold, silver or platinum. Some men’s wedding bands may contain small diamonds or jewels and the design and style of the band is up to their personal preference.

How much do wedding and engagement rings cost?

Wedding rings and engagement rings can vary greatly in price depending on the materials used to make it, the size and your location. Most engagement rings include at least one diamond and most wedding bands do not have any gemstones, so engagement rings are usually much more expensive than wedding rings. A general rule of thumb that many people choose to follow is to spend about two to three months’ salary on an engagement ring. Of course, how much you choose to spend on any of your wedding jewelry is entirely up to your preference and tastes.

bride and groom wedding bands

Photo Credit: Onewed

Your engagement ring and wedding ring both represent the unity and bond that you’ve committed to one another on your wedding day. Whether you choose to go with an extravagant jewel or an understated band, this piece of jewelry is something that will indicate to the world and to yourselves your commitment to one another as a married couple. There’s so many different types and styles of both engagement rings and wedding rings, guaranteeing that you and your partner will surely be able to find the perfect ones for you.


Recommended Retailers for Your Engagement and Wedding Rings: 

Helzberg Diamonds Engagement Rings

Jared – The Galleria of Jewelry Wedding Rings

Kay Jewelers Engagement Rings


Engagement Ring vs. Wedding Ring: What's the Difference?
Article Name
Engagement Ring vs. Wedding Ring: What's the Difference?
Do you know the difference between an engagement ring and a wedding ring? Do you need both? Here's everything you need to know about your wedding jewelry.

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57 Responses

  1. that’s a lot of money to spend! i’ll have to save up, i guess. thank you for the post!

  2. Nice article, the difference between engagement ring and wedding ring clearly explained. Love the way you write this article, it makes me fully understand the difference.

  3. Very informative, I particularly enjoyed the section on the traditions and history of the engagement and wedding rings.

  4. paul says:

    Very interesting and informative article. Thanks for sharing such knowledgeable stuff. now I can easily buy stunning engagement ring for my beloved.

  5. Nice article. after reading this article, anyone can buy stunning rings for his beloved. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Ha says:

    Nice article, but i have a little bit confusion, pls help advise that the engagement ring should be worn on the 4th finger of the left hand or the 3rd as mentioned above. If it is the one next to the pinky, it should be the 4th finger, right? 🙂

    Thank for sharing.

  7. Beer says:

    For the person above, we have 4 fingers and a thumb. So yes it would be your third finger on your left hand. Smh

  8. Jess says:

    U have four fingers and a thumb..so the article is written correct. Yes finger next to pinky is #3

  9. Tim Casey says:

    When you get the engagement ring it’s something, but when you get to the wedding ring it’s like level up, totally different kind of story.

  10. Diamond Engagement Rings says:

    There is no difference between them, only in the amount of love pouring from them.

  11. Deda says:

    Really nice reading but, i think its nonsense that it should be diamond ring? In my country (slovakia) i never seen any girl have a diamond engagement ring, for example my mommy had ruby one! Here only some very very rich people have it, so is it some american habbit or what?

  12. Good morning,how much is engagement ring and wedding diamond or gemstone?

  13. Shelly McDonald says:

    Thanks for this important information because I just got engaged, and I’m confused because I got a band with my engagement ring and I’m not sure if I should wear both or just one and wait till I get married to put on the other. They both look better together though lol 🙂

  14. DarkanE299 says:

    wooow, awesome, pretty good information, finally I have an exactly idea to find what I’m looking for.

  15. Kristine Wright says:

    I believe the only difference are the diamond rings I believe that they are used more for engagements than weddings and that is the only difference i can think of, but nice post and good info.

  16. Jay says:

    Umm, hence the ” most common type of engagement ring has a diamond or another gemstone set atop a pretty band” no one said it had to be diamond…..

  17. Walter Duncan says:

    When it comes to diamond rings there is only a difference in the name and what is it meant for. Nice post by the way.

  18. Von says:

    VERY informative I agree! Thanks for the straightforward clarity contained in this article. These questions being asked may be common knowledge to most – but people need to realize there are hundreds of people like myself who’s never been married, so it clears up a bit of confusion I’ve always had regarding this topic. THANK YOU!

  19. WOW! Such a wonderful blog about engagement and wedding ring. While I knew they look different, I did not know what the major difference is. Your blog is quite beneficial.

  20. elmira says:

    I have engagement ring and wedding bands my future husband boughte together like together design do I have to wear the two? its designed to my engagement ring the same diamond

  21. anonymous says:

    Do you have to have both a wedding and an engagement ring? Can you just buy one really nice ring and use it for both??

  22. Billy says:

    I got my wife a Ring Pop. She said it was the sweetest ring she ever owned.

  23. Alina says:

    I think the best part of engagement ring shopping nowadays is that so many couples are doing it together. Before, it may have only been the wedding rings that couples bought together- but my fiance and I chose everything together. I’ll be wearing my engagement ring everyday so I wanted to play a role in deciding how it should look. I really was dissapointed by shopping in stores- really uncomfortable- especially when the salesperson is making all the calls and pushing you in one direction or another.

    After a little bit of googling- I came across fourmine.com. They send you 3d printed replicas of your favorite ring styles- looks just like the real ring! The preview is at home and it’s free- so easy and comfortable. He and I found the perfect styles together and I got to play a role in deciding on the perfect ring.

  24. David says:

    Advice being sought. I’m considering an engagement band of white gold inset with diamonds and rubies rather than a larger diamond above the band in the form of the traditional engagement ring. Any thoughts on this? Our wedding bands would be simpler white gold bands.

  25. The only difference is the one you make, both are love represents and reminders of that love.

  26. Embry-Riddle says:

    Engagement rings have only been around for less than 100 years.. not a “centuries old tradition”.
    De Beers came up with the idea so that they could sell more diamonds. Prior to 1920’s to matching wedding bands were the norm.

  27. urbanrings says:

    As i Checked your Blog, Engagement Ring looks 100% like a fashion ring. So, I think your website is very Helpful

  28. Bridget says:

    Fantastic article, you’d be surprised how often people can’t tell the difference.

  29. Stacey says:

    These days you can buy a £200 engagement ring and then save for a nicer one

  30. No as you know the diffrence you can buy the best rings from Segal Jewelry

  31. No matter what you choosing , choose wisely and make sure it is unique.

  32. Elsa Nelson says:

    What do you think about halo rings for engagement?

  33. Madison says:

    It’s traditional in the US to have a diamond as the center stone. This is also symbolic because diamonds are supposed to be the hardest gemstone, I think it’s meant to think of your love as unbreakable. However, even in the US people get other gemstones, it’s just less common.

  34. georgiakayla says:

    Engagement ring express the feeling for the love and propose to partner. And Wedding Ring describe the Love forever between husband and wife, wedding ring also express the love but engagement ring propose to become life partner. Its only to improve the love and make strong relationship.

  35. rohit says:

    it’s really an interesting post because i had no idea before reading this post that there exactly exist any difference between engagement ring and wedding ring. I always presumed that both are same. BUt after reading this blog, i got my doubt clear. And, very well written article indeed… Thanks

  36. ayobami oladayo says:

    nice one

  37. well, here are sharing Very Informative Information regarding Engagement Ring….!

  38. Lauren says:

    What a cute lil history lesson! Engagement ring + wedding band = happily ever after!!

  39. The Diamond Engagement is probably the most celebrated and universal aspect of human relationships. And just as every relationship and Engagement is unique, Diamond Engagement Rings are just as varied and special. 

  40. Ellen says:

    Interesting article, I like the idea of the ring shape symbolising everlasting love!

  41. Rajesh Kumar says:

    I was searching about wedding engagement ring and got your blog. It’s really nice concept and you are really describe it very well.
    Thanks for sharing it with us.

  42. MissAJ says:

    wow….Thanks for the info..

  43. Kally says:

    We exchanged rings 3 years back, but today I have understand the true meaning of exchanging wedding and engagement rings. Thanks to you 🙂

  44. What’s up, I desire to subscribe for this weblog to get most up-to-date updates, therefore where can i do it please assist.

  45. Anne Marie says:

    It’s a very interesting article. Many thanks to the writer! Me and my fiancé are currently searching for the perfect wedding rings. I have recently seen wonderful jewelry on Brilliant Canary dot com, free shipping and free engraving for rings. If you also have some nice websites to share with me, I am waiting for your reply.

  46. Awesomely done article. I surely love your site. Keep it up!

  47. I just learned something new. Thanks!

  48. Carlos says:

    After reading reading this article I feel twice as broke as I originally did. Thanks.

  49. HK says:

    Fine article! It perfectly describes the difference between the engagement ring and wedding ring. And I think both moments are precious whether it is an engagement or wedding. Buying polished diamonds ring for her adds something special moments that remains memorable forever.

  50. Jordan says:

    You can save money by selecting engagement ring with some smartness, I’ll show you how, read this article published by http://www.eternitybyyoni.com

    The reference link for the article is: http://cushioncuthaloengagementrings.blogspot.com/2017/05/tips-to-consider-for-engagement-ring.html

    & There is also an info-graphic: http://cushioncuthaloengagementrings.blogspot.com/2017/06/tips-to-consider-for-engagement-ring.html

  51. Patricia says:

    The Difference Between Wedding Rings And Engagement Rings

    Timing – The engagement ring is presented to a woman during a proposal. On the other hand, the wedding rings are exchanged between partners during the marriage ceremony and are worn starting from that time.

    Design – Engagements rings tend to be more extravagant and usually have a center stone made of diamond. In contrast, wedding rings tend to be plain looking and have simple designs.

    To sum things up, the engagement ring is worn by your fiancée after a successful proposal. The engagement ring symbolizes a pledge of love and tells other people that a woman is no longer available.

    The wedding ring (wedding band) is worn by both spouses after exchanging vows during the marriage ceremony. The rings are worn on the 4th finger of the left hand and it represents the commitment, love and faithfulness of your spouse to you.

    For Beautiful engagement and wedding rings, you can explore the collection of Eternity by Yoni (https://www.eternitybyyoni.com)

  52. Renae says:

    I had so much help in finding the engagement ring that was and is perfect for me, and the perfect wedding band to complement it by working closely with this jeweler . There is nothing better than knowing you have a custom ring that you didn’t spend a fortune on.

  53. Gigi Fox says:

    Moissanite has truly been a blessing to those of us looking to save the world and a little cash! There are many wonderful places to purchase unique rings, so don’t be afraid to move outside of the mainstream! Check out https://www.etsy.com/shop/Imperfect2Perfect?ref=ss_profile

    You might be pleasantly surprised by what you find. I know I was!

  54. diamos says:

    Wow great information . Thanks for the post

  55. Marissa says:

    Hi thank you so much for this interesting article!
    I have a question:

    are men also supposed to wear engagement rings? it’s only a woman that gets an engagement ring from her man, or a man buys another ring for himself as well?

    We all know these beautiful engagement scenes from the movies, when a man proposes and puts a ring on his woman’s finger, but does she have to do the same for him too…

  56. Wedding Ring says:

    Michael Trio is a Singapore-based custom jewellery brand that launched its online store.