Engagement Ring vs Wedding Ring: What is the Difference?
What exactly is the difference between an engagement ring and a wedding ring? We'll show you how they are different in meaning and appearance.
Engagement ring, wedding ring, eternity rings… What's the difference?
Are engagement rings and wedding rings the same?
(Answer: definitely not.)
To us women, this may seem like a silly question. But that's because most of us have been planning our wedding even before we met you.
Don’t worry, it's actually a common question. Especially if it's your first time proposing.
So I’m just here to set it straight. An engagement ring and a wedding ring are both symbols of love, but they have very different meanings. They’re also different in terms of appearance and cost.
Let’s go over the differences.
What Is an Engagement Ring?
This is basically what it sounds like. It’s a ring given to the girl to symbolize that you’re engaged. This is the ring you present to her when you ask “will you marry me?”
You are asking your girlfriend if she would spend the rest of her life with you. This is a huge moment. And doing it with a ring shows that you have really thought about it and are not just saying it for fun. Engagement rings symbolize your love and commitment.
Because of this, engagement rings are expected to be more “flashy” and expensive. Thanks to De Beers, a diamond ring is now the norm.
Typically, engagement rings have a diamond center (or another precious gemstone). And a lot of men (and their future brides) put a lot of effort into choosing the best diamond possible. After all, no one wants a diamond ring that doesn’t sparkle!
Engagement rings are worn on the 4th finger of her left hand. When she wears it, it tells everyone else that she’s already spoken for.
What Is a Wedding Ring?
A wedding ring (also called a wedding band) is exchanged during the marriage ceremony. This gesture says that the two of you are united forever from this day forward. Both the bride and groom will wear a wedding ring… well, until forever.
A wedding ring is simpler in design. The style is normally a continuous band that has no beginning nor end. This symbolizes eternal love and unity.
Normally, the bride will pick a wedding band that matches her engagement ring, so that they look good next to each other. The most popular styles for her are a plain band or a band with small diamonds.
A lot of couples also get matching wedding bands to further express unity.
But many modern men are also choosing alternative materials that look more masculine. I’m sure it’s no surprise that most men don’t like wearing jewelry. So it’s also important for him to get a wedding band he likes. Popular alternative materials for men are titanium, tungsten, cobalt, and ceramic.
The wedding ring is worn on the same finger as her engagement ring, usually with the wedding ring on the bottom. This is to have the wedding ring closer to her heart, since it’s a symbol of everlasting commitment.
If a woman receives an eternity ring at some point later on, she can choose to replace the simpler wedding ring with it. Or she can wear all 3 rings on the ring finger of her left hand.
How Much Should the Rings Cost?
You may have heard the “rule” that you’re supposed to spend 2 months’ salary on the engagement ring. While we don’t exactly agree with that, the intent is good.
Let me explain further:
The basic meaning is that it should show her that you are investing in your future together. That you have saved up and sacrificed to buy something special just for her.
From a woman’s point of view, if you only spend $100 on a ring, that’s not much of an investment. You can easily lose $100 and not be too heartbroken. While you shouldn’t go broke buying the ring, it should still be an amount that you have worked hard for.
How much you spend is a very personal choice that depends on your budget. Just remember, it should show that you are serious about your relationship, without going into debt.
The wedding ring, on the other hand, costs much less. You can find nice wedding bands for just a few hundred dollars. But again, it depends on your budget and style. A lot of couples choose to save on the wedding rings by going with cheaper options.
An engagement ring symbolizes that you are ready to commit and invest in your future. A wedding ring symbolizes love and unity from your wedding day forward.
Hopefully you understand more about the different meanings and styles. But of course, the rules are not set in stone. I know a couple who chose to get tattoos on their ring finger instead of wedding rings. And I also know a bride who chose to get two diamond rings simply because she didn’t like the style of an eternity band.
The rings should reflect your personalities and style. Take time to find rings that you’ll both enjoy wearing. Good luck and have fun shopping.