What is the difference between an engagement ring and a wedding ring?

What is the difference between an engagement ring and a wedding ring?

An engagement ring is usually unique from a wedding band. A ring that indicates engagement, especially in Western cultures, is typically given by a woman to a man she intends to marry. It is a promise that she will one day become his wife. It's a symbol of their future together, and it comes with its own special significance. The classic engagement ring has one dominant stone for the traditional look.

Who should offer the engagement ring?

As a general rule, the man will offer the woman an engagement ring and then she can choose whether or not she wishes to accept the proposal. However, in some instances, the bride-to-be will be offered her choice of engagement ring with no other commitment attached. 

It symbolizes the couple's commitment to one another and the likelihood of a future marriage but is also a sign that she will be taken and espoused soon.

Engagement rings are usually extremely noticeable with stones such as diamonds but some prefer a more subtle ring. With this in mind, there are many variations of rings to suit every bride and groom.

What does an Engagement ring represent?

Each couple considering marriage should consider the kind of ring they would like to take. With so many options, it may be hard to choose. When you’re trying to make a decision, it’s important to know the difference between engagement rings and wedding rings.

An engagement ring is worn by the person who is engaged and is usually worn on the ring finger of the left hand. A tradition of wearing engagement rings on the left hand dates back to ancient times when it was believed that you had a vein from your ring finger all the way to your heart.

Engagement rings signify love and commitment, whereas wedding rings symbolize commitment. Wedding rings are often worn on the ring finger of the right hand of the bride or groom.


Which finger should rings be worn on which hand?

Just before the wedding, the engagement ring is exchanged for the wedding ring on the right hand, since it accompanies the left hand of the bride, closest to her heart. After the wedding, the engagement ring is placed on top of the new wedding band.

The rings are typically worn on the left hand in countries like the United States and Singapore. Conversely, it is acceptable to wear them on the right side, just as many couples in the central and northern Europe do.

Which finger does Chinese traditionally wear rings on?

Wedding bands in Chinese culture are worn on the hand opposite the bride and groom's middle finger, whereas engagement rings are fitted to the middle finger of the bride. 

Women wear their rings on their right hands, while men wear them on their left. In Chinese culture, women are in charge of the household, so they believe that their rings should be worn on their right hand. 

"Nan zhuo, nu you," male left, female right, is the custom according to which the right hand exerts its influence.

In ancient Chinese philosophy, there was this concept: 

  • The thumb symbolizes parents.
  • Siblings are represented by the index finger.
  • You represent yourself with your middle finger.
  • One's life partner is represented in the ring finger.
  • Children are represented by the little finger. 


In a wedding ceremony, the bride and groom exchange rings.

The exchange of wedding rings takes place during the wedding ceremony between the bride and groom. Wedding bands symbolize a couple and show they are committed to one another. Their wedding bands are symbols of their marriage.

The available styles include tungsten carbide, titanium bands, gold and platinum bands, and even silver rings with high-end designs and engravings.

The officiant announces that both parties will exchange rings and place them on their ring fingers at the end of the wedding ceremony. Rings for weddings tend to be plain, though some can be embellished with stones.

After the ceremony, women usually put on two rings, the wedding ring and the engagement ring.

The engagement ring is given by the groom to his bride-to-be. The wedding band is a symbol of their commitment.

The couple usually wears their wedding ring on their hands daily so that it serves both as a reminder of their wedding day and a symbol that they were made husband and wife.


Difference between engagement rings and wedding rings

Typically, engagement rings are given at a marriage proposal or upon a couple's decision to get hitched, while wedding rings are given at the actual wedding ceremony and signify the legal bond of the pair as husband and wife.

The engagement ring is usually a diamond or a special gem from the family's heritage. Traditionally, the man is the one who presents an engagement ring to his bride to be.

Wedding rings are usually a simpler design, like a classic band like this rose gold ring or one with smaller diamonds, like the one in this white gold eternity ring. Usually, wedding rings do not feature large diamonds and gemstones.

A ring is a symbol of a couple's commitment to one another and their promise of marriage made.

The engagement ring is given by the groom to his bride-to-be. The wedding band is a symbol of their commitment.

The couple usually wears their wedding ring on their hands daily so that it serves both as a reminder of their wedding day and a symbol that they were made husband and wife.


Expensive diamond rings are usually kept when not in use

You can wear your diamond ring while you're engaged and when you get married, but it's not meant to be worn regularly.

The diamond engagement ring is placed in a safe place that can protect it from damage or theft, possibly only to be brought out for special occasions, whereas the wedding band serves as a more simple, everyday reminder of your love for one another.

It is a trend nowadays to have lab-grown stones instead which looks just as shiny but can be worn more often rather than kept in a safe.


Is any ring suitable for an engagement ring?

You don’t have to use a diamond to have an engagement ring. The most important aspect is to choose a style that your partner will enjoy wearing. Engagement ring styles include simple designs like the solitaire ring and intricate vintage rings.

Engagement ring etiquette: Wedding rings are given at the end of the wedding ceremony as a sign of commitment between the couple.


Can the engagement ring be used as the wedding ring?

Yes, it is possible for the engagement ring to be used as the wedding ring.

As some people don’t buy a separate wedding ring, the engagement ring can also be used as the wedding band, depending on personal preference and whether you want to do so.

In some cases the bride wears both rings on opposite sides whereby the engagement ring is worn on the right hand and the wedding band on the left. The symbolism of this has to do with opposites that attract and helps solidify the bond between the couple.


Different types of engagement rings

Diamond engagement rings are timeless symbols of love. The diamond is known as a symbol for everlasting love. The rarity and size of the diamond can also depend on the relationship, which is seen as an indication that this is a lifetime commitment between two people.

A wedding band is not necessary to match an engagement ring, or vice versa. You may choose to wear your engagement ring with a plain or channel set band to compliment your engagement ring. Matching bridal sets, also called bridal sets, are available in a variety of metal colors.


You may buy engagement rings and wedding bands at the same time.

The two rings can be purchased together, especially if you wish to make sure the two complement one another. In contrast, many couples tend to select rings that clash. For example, check the metal’s color (i.e. white gold colour or yellow gold colour) and ensure that the rings match.



Does the wedding band have to match the engagement ring?

Wearing two different bands or color of gold can be worn if you wish. A bride can have a white gold engagement ring and a yellow gold wedding band while her spouse can have a white gold ring. The white gold can be chosen because it will blend with the yellow gold which will match very well.

Wedding rings and wedding bands need not always match the engagement rings. When rings and bands do match, it is slightly more common for personal preference reasons or for esthetic purposes.


When matching two wedding rings, consider the sentiment, aesthetics and price.

When deciding whether or not your rings should be matched, the sentiment, aesthetics, and price are all important considerations. Some people think that a wedding band should be the same color as the wedding ring. One reason for this is that the ring represents a lifelong commitment of true love. 

The main thing to consider in matching the rings is what you and your partner both feel about it. If one of you prefers to wear a wedding ring on the right hand, then it can be useful not to have it match the engagement ring on the left hand and vice versa.


When a man purchases an engagement ring, the significance to him is different than if he were buying it for his wife.

As a wedding band serves a different purpose than an engagement ring, the engagement ring has special significance to a man. When he purchases an engagement ring to propose to a woman, he is often looking to buy something as a reminder of his close relationship with her.

This is the perfect opportunity for him to dress the ring up with large center stones and a dazzling array of accents in order to create a memorable proposal that his fiance will be able to brag about to her friends and family.


A wedding band should be made from a reliable metal that won't wear out easily.

On the other hand, the wedding band should be designed as a more pragmatic piece of jewellery. This is a ring that the wearer will probably wear most every day of their marriage. Because of this, the band should be made from a reliable metal that won’t prove too difficult to repair in the event unforeseen wear and tear. Some of the most widely used wedding bands are those made with tungsten material and stainless steel.


Wedding rings are symbols of commitment between two people

Wedding rings are usually given as symbols of commitment between two people in love and are given at the end of the wedding ceremony as a sign of commitment between two people in love, usually worn on the fourth finer.

This being the case, most people prefer to refrain from having large center stones or delicate filigree which might break off during normal day-to-day activities. Instead of alluring center stones, the wedding band’s main purpose is to signify unity between two people in love.

A wedding band, as opposed to a diamond engagement ring, should be designed as a more pragmatic piece of jewellery. A ring like this may be worn on a regular basis by a wearer throughout their whole marriage.

A ring made with tungsten carbide is incredibly strong and durable, and it will certainly stand the test of time. If you’re seeking something simple and affordable, this may be just what you need to express your love for your future spouse while keeping your finances intact.

Browse Tiara's collection of rings here:

Besides wedding ringswedding bands and mens rings, we also have engagement rings. If you are not sure about your ring size, you can refer to this ring size chart.