Which should you put on first: your wedding ring or your engagement ring? Well, there’s really no right or wrong answer to this question. Ultimately, how you wear your bridal set is a personal choice that’s entirely up to you. However, if you’re wondering what affects how other people wear their rings, we can clear that up, since there are ancient and modern traditions that come into play. Read on to learn the old and new traditions that influence how people wear their wedding ring sets today.
Influenced By Ancient Tradition: Wedding Band First
Many people say that you should put your wedding ring on first because doing so is more traditional. This idea can be traced all the way back to ancient Egypt and the legend of the vena amoris.
Ancient Egyptians believed that all people have a vena amoris, which is Latin for “vein of love.” According to ancient Egyptian lore, the vena amoris ran from the third finger of the left hand to the heart, creating a direct connection. Because of the vena amoris, ancient Egyptian people wore their “rings of love” on their left ring fingers in order to keep them close to their heart. They believed that the closer a love ring was to your heart, the stronger your love bond would become.
Thanks to the modern science of today, we now know that the vena amoris doesn’t technically exist. Yet, still, the legend of the love vein is in large part why people say it’s traditional to wear your wedding rings on the ring finger of your left hand. It’s also why some people believe you should put your wedding band on first. According to the lore connected to the vena amoris, the closer your ring is to your heart, the stronger your bond of love. The ring you put on first is just a bit closer to your heart, so some say that putting your wedding band on first represents a stronger bond. Of course, this only makes your wedding ring a tiny bit closer to your heart, but it is still a lovely sentiment. And if you like the idea of the vena amoris and the traditions that come with it, you may prefer putting your wedding band on first.
Influenced By Modern Tradition: Engagement Ring First
There really isn’t a dominant modern tradition about how to wear a bridal set, but wearing your engagement ring first is a popular choice that’s based on modern wedding culture. Today, brides-to-be usually receive their engagement ring before their wedding day, then get their wedding band at their wedding ceremony. That’s why many people like to put on their engagement ring first, then put on their wedding ring second. This placement symbolizes the story of your marriage: first comes the engagement, then comes the wedding.
Anniversary Bands, Promise Rings, and Fashion Rings in a Bridal Set
Just like there are no rules on how you should wear your wedding band, there are no rules on how you can or can’t incorporate other rings alongside your bridal set. If you have a shiny new anniversary ring, a beloved promise ring, or a stylish fashion ring you want to add into the mix, you can do so in whatever way you like.
Out of the ring options mentioned here, the anniversary ring is the one that’s most commonly added to a bridal set. An anniversary ring, commonly an eternity band, is typically given to mark milestone anniversaries. If you like the modern idea of telling the story of your relationship with your rings, you may like adding your eternity ring as a bookend on the ring finger of your left hand. You can put your engagement ring first, your wedding ring second, and your anniversary ring third, thereby telling the story of three very special occasions in your life. Of course, if you don’t like that styling choice, you have plenty of alternative options. For example, some people like to spread out their bling and wear their anniversary band on the ring finger of their right hand. Others like to stack both bands on one side of their gemstone or diamond engagement ring. Then, other people may choose to swap out their wedding ring for their new anniversary band, which can keep things simple yet still freshen up your look.
Final Thoughts: Personal Preference & Your Wedding Ring Set
While ancient and modern traditions may inform how people wear their wedding bands, there’s truly no right or wrong way to wear your wedding ring set. Your engagement ring and wedding band represent your unique bond with your spouse and how you wear them can be just as unique (or as traditional) as you like. If adhering to a certain tradition feels right for your relationship, feel free to do so. But if you don’t love a particular wedding band tradition, just do whatever feels right for you. You can put your wedding ring first, put your engagement ring first, wear just one ring at a time, wear your rings on different fingers, or do whatever else you want to do. Whichever way you love to wear your wedding band is the best way for you.