After months (or years!) of organizing all the details, you've officially crossed the big to-dos off of your wedding planning checklist and there are just a few small details left to consider. One important thing to think about? Where you'll put your engagement ring on your wedding day. You’ve probably gotten used to having your ring on your finger, so the idea of taking it off might seem strange, but what are you supposed to do with it during the ceremony when your partner will be putting your wedding band on that very same finger?
To get the answer, we tapped wedding planners and jewelry experts to learn more about the etiquette around wearing your engagement ring on your wedding day. Plus, we have a few helpful ideas on where you might be able to store it should you choose not to wear it.
Meet the Expert
- Neil Lane is a Los Angeles-based jeweler with an eponymous collection at Kay Jewelers.
- Lara Mahler is the founder and chief planner of The Privilege Is Mine, a New York City-based wedding planning company.
- Tiina Smith is the owner of Tiina Smith Jewelry, a rare vintage jewelry brand.
- Megan Kothari is the designer and founder of AARYAH, an engagement ring and fine jewelry company.
- Sandy Ip is the founder of Sevun, a luxury jewelry retailer, and a member of the Brides review board.
Standard Etiquette for Wearing Your Engagement Ring on Your Wedding Day
Traditionally, after accepting a proposal you will also accept an engagement ring. This symbolic ring is then worn on the fourth finger of your left hand throughout your engagement. On your wedding day, the wedding band will go on that same finger towards the end of the ceremony. “Standard etiquette for wearing your engagement ring on your wedding day would be on your ring finger on your right hand," says Lara Mahler, founder and chief planner of The Privilege Is Mine. “Your wedding band would be placed on your left-hand ring finger, and then after the ceremony, you can put your engagement ring on top of your wedding band.”
The Traditional Order of Wearing Your Wedding and Engagement Rings
While rings can be worn in any way you see fit, there is a tradition of keeping them in a specific order. Tiina Smith, owner of Tiina Smith Jewelry, says, "Tradition suggests that a wedding ring goes first on your left-hand ring finger to keep it closer to your heart, so many brides forgo wearing their engagement ring on their wedding day or choose to wear it on their right hand."
Ideas for Holding or Wearing Your Engagement Ring on Your Wedding Day
While transferring your engagement ring to your right hand during the ceremony is customary, there are plenty of other options for keeping this special piece of jewelry safe. After all, it’s a prized possession, and one that you'll want to know is in good hands.
Use a Ring Box
Megan Kothari, the designer and founder of AARYAH, suggests storing your engagement ring in a ring box until after the ceremony. If you'd prefer not to wear your engagement ring at all on the big day, there's no reason not to keep it stored there throughout the celebration, but you will miss out on having it in your wedding photos.
Move Your Engagement Ring to Another Finger
Want the ring with you during the ceremony? According to Mahler, another option is to simply keep the engagement ring on another finger on the left hand (if it fits properly). Ultimately, you have the freedom to wear your engagement ring however (and wherever!) you like, says Kothari. "How you style your jewelry on your wedding day should hold meaning for you and give you confidence on your day," she explains.
According to Sandy Ip, founder of Sevun, wearing your engagement ring on another finger until after the ceremony is traditional in some countries. "In Hong Kong, brides often opt to wear the engagement ring on their left middle-finger. Once they get married, they shift the engagement ring to their ring-finger. So, a ring on the middle-finger means engaged and a ring on the ring-finger means married," she explains.
Put the Wedding Band on Top of Your Engagement Ring
This is an option that doesn’t necessarily follow tradition, but it might be the best fit for you. "[You can] wear the ring on your left hand, then [your partner] can place the band on top of it," says Neil Lane, founder of the eponymous Neil Lane jewelry collection. "They can re-stack it for the reception."
Just be sure to give your partner a heads up so they’re not trying to switch around rings during the ceremony. Another option would be to wear no rings down the aisle, then have your partner to place both your wedding band and engagement ring on your finger during the ceremony.
Have Someone Hold Your Engagement Ring
If you don't want to wear the ring, put someone in charge of holding it, Ip suggests. "Have someone trusted who is attending the wedding, such as a family member or a close friend, hold onto your ring until after the ceremony." After your new wedding band has been placed on your fourth finger, you can slip the engagement ring on above it.
Leave It at Home
For some people, leaving the engagement ring at home is the best option; you'll know it's safe and sound, and you won't have to worry about moving it between hands, asking loved ones to hold it, or storing it in your bridal suite. There are other benefits to not wearing your engagement ring, too: Namely, your brand-new wedding band will get its chance to shine. "If you want your wedding band to be the star of the show, then leave your engagement ring at home in a secure place like a locked box," Lane explains.