You’ll find several differences when comparing an engagement vs a wedding ring. Though both represent a couple’s love and commitment to each other, they’re two distinct rings with their own traditions and symbolism. Let’s discuss the difference between engagement rings and wedding rings so you can purchase rings with confidence. 

The Engagement Ring

Symbolism and Tradition

Engagement rings and wedding bands represent different stages of a couple’s journey. The engagement ring has been around for centuries, with Archduke Maximilian of Austria commissioning the very first diamond engagement ring in 1477. 

This tradition may be linked to a Roman custom that involved wives wearing rings attached to keys, which were representative of their husbands’ ownership of them. For many, this aspect of engagement rings is a thing of the past. This precious piece of jewelry now symbolizes lasting love and commitment between two people.

Styles and Trends

Interested in the most popular styles and trends for engagement rings? You can find a lot of inspiration in celeb engagement rings. You can also learn what you like by observing what’s popular for couples today. For example, white gold and yellow gold are the two most popular metals for engagement rings. 

As for stones, round diamonds are a classic and the most in-demand diamond shape. Diamonds themselves are the most popular stone, followed by sapphires, rubies, emeralds, white sapphires, morganite, and aquamarine. No stone is inherently superior, so give them all a look to see which suits your budget and preferences!

The Wedding Ring

Significance and Custom

As we discuss engagement ring vs wedding ring, so far they don’t seem to differ much. The key differences lie in their appearance and the tradition behind wedding rings. Wedding rings are usually exchanged during marriage ceremonies, signifying the moment two people truly commit to their vows and each other. 

The existence of wedding rings can be traced back thousands of years. Like the engagement ring, there was evidence of this jewelry in Roman cultures, along with ancient Egyptian and Greek cultures. These rings were typically made with materials like woven reeds, unlike the precious metals we see today.

Exchanging rings during wedding ceremonies has become more common over time, though it’s done differently across religions and cultures. In many cultures, the ring finger is associated with the heart, making it the favored choice by many. In Hindu weddings, however, the groom places a silver ring on his bride’s toe. 

Designs and Preferences

Wedding rings traditionally have a more simplistic design than engagement rings. Most consist of a band made from gold, platinum, palladium, titanium, or silver. Though some may have a small diamond or other embellishments, they’re usually more subtle, allowing the engagement ring to shine. 

Key Differences

Engagement Ring vs. Wedding Ring

Now that we’ve explored the symbolism and history of engagement rings and wedding rings, we can identify what sets them apart. An engagement ring is a promise to wed, while the wedding ring is the culmination of your entire relationship, the proposal, and everything else that brought you to your wedding day. Rather than one person offering the ring to another, you’re mutually exchanging rings, which symbolizes your shared commitment. 

Engagement Ring Finger vs. Wedding Ring Finger

Your engagement ring and wedding ring are traditionally, in most cultures, worn together on your ring finger. Your ring finger is the fourth finger on your left hand. The Romans once believed that this finger has a vein that leads directly to the heart. 

Though most wear their wedding band below their engagement ring, some place it on top to help secure the engagement ring in place. Ultimately, you can opt for whatever you find more comfortable or more aesthetically pleasing.

Wearing Them Together

Complementing Your Engagement Ring with Your Wedding Band

When comparing engagement rings vs wedding bands on an aesthetic level, it’s actually pretty easy to have them complement each other. You’ll want a wedding band that suits not just the color of your engagement ring but the thickness too. You want the two rings to have the same or similar width. If you have an engagement ring with a thin band, for example, a thin wedding band may look better with your first ring. 

Tradition and Modern Practices

Though the ring finger remains the most popular choice, people today are more open to wearing their rings on any finger. Some people only wear one of the two rings, some put them on the right hand, and others even wear their rings around their neck as a pendant

Find Rings That Represent Your Love Story

Engagement and wedding rings may differ in appearance and in what they symbolize, but they’re both meant to represent your love story. We encourage you to consult our engagement ring guide and to find rings that feel true to you and your partner.