Wedding Ring Etiquette

Wedding ring etiquette ties into engagement ring etiquette and wedding customs, often with strong cultural overtones. Depending on where you live a wedding band may be worn on the left or right ring finger. At first wedding rings were only worn by women, but now both wives and husbands don them in ceremonies depending on their preference.

The engagement ring is a betrothal present and acts as sign of a promise. This tradition began in Rome and possibly even prior to that. The Wedding band finalizes that promise as a circle representing eternity. In Europe it’s traditional to have your partner’s name engraved inside the band with a date on it.

In terms of cost usually the groom pays for an engagement ring and his bride’s wedding ring. The Bride pays for the groom’s wedding band and sometimes an engagement gift. While diamonds have often been the stone of choice because of their durable beauty, cubic zirconium has become very popular for couples on a budget.

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Does wedding ring etiquette dictate style? No. This is all about personal preferences. Some couples use rings from the family line. Others buy a ring that reflects a certain theme, while others still might design something wholly unique. Take your time and shop around. Prices vary greatly from store to store, and there are a lot of options from which to choose. You want something as timeless as you wish your relationship to be.

One very popular idea is buying matching engagement rings and wedding bands so the two fit comfortably together on one finger. Again this isn’t a matter of wedding etiquette so much as practicality.

At the wedding, tradition dictates that the wedding band goes closest to the hand with the engagement ring on top. Usually the responsibility of taking care of the ring goes to the best man or Maid of Honor. Alternatively, a ring bearer is perfectly acceptable for transporting the rings into the wedding at a specific moment.

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Should the relationship take a bad turn, wedding rings are legally considered a gift. It is not something that must be returned. Should someone keep the ring and wish to wear it, etiquette dictates putting it on a different finger. An alternative is reshaping the metal in the ring into something else. No matter what, one should never reuse a wedding ring from a previous marriage in a new relationship.

In death there are no hard and fast wedding ring etiquette rules. The ring has powerful emotional symbolism for an everlasting commitment. Many spouses keep wearing their ring after death as a result. Some people make the ring into something new that still has meaning so they can enjoy the memories while moving forward in life. In both cases, the rings may become family keepsakes passed down through generations.

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