In which order do you wear Wedding, Engagement and Eternity Rings – Does one replace another?

3 Rings on a Branch

Getting engaged and getting married are key moments in your life and there are traditionally different rings to mark each occasion.

Add eternity rings into the equation and it can become a bit confusing…

Do you wear all 3 together?

In what order?

Does one ring replace another?

Most women have a hard enough time deciding which jewellery to wear on any given day.

The last things she needs is a dilemma over the proper way to wear her engagement ring, her wedding ring, and her eternity ring.

The first thing to do is examine the purpose of each ring as well as the occasion on which it is given:

The Engagement Ring

A Diamond Engagement Ring

The ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans were among the first to use rings as a symbol of commitment. Betrothal rings or engagement rings, as they are better known, were designed to show a man’s intent to marry and marked the woman as taken by or connected to her future husband.

Love, unfortunately, had little to do with engagements during this time as they were usually more matters of business than emotions. As time passed, the Church made a ruling requiring a betrothal ring to be given, both to show the man’s commitment as well as his financial status and ability to care for a family.

Eventually, the plain band was replaced by gemstone rings and sometimes bared more intricate details. The first diamond engagement ring was not given until 1477. Archduke Maximillian of Austria presented it to his fiance, Mary of Burgundy. Since that day, diamond rings have become the standard for engagement rings.

Where to wear an engagement ring: which finger?

The engagement ring is generally worn on the same finger as the wedding ring (the ring finger), placed second on top of the wedding band. In some cases, when the engagement ring and the wedding band don’t match, a bride will wear her wedding band on her left hand and her engagement ring on her right-hand ring finger.

The Wedding Ring

A bride & Groom Wearing Wedding Rings

The history of wedding rings dates back to the same period as the engagement ring. They served both as a symbol of love or as a symbol of ownership, depending on which culture you use as a reference.

Weddings bands have been made from all types of materials over the centuries including leather, brass, silver, lead, gold, and platinum. It is very common to find bridal sets that include both the engagement ring as well as the matching wedding band.

How to wear a wedding ring: which finger?

Illustartion of Where to Wear a Wedding Ring

The wedding ring is traditionally worn on the fourth finger from the body (digitus annularis), between the middle and little finger, on the left hand. It is often referred to as the ring finger for this reason. The ancient Greeks believed that this finger contained the ‘vena amoris’ or ‘vein of love’ which is connected directly to the brides’ heart.

The Eternity Ring

A Wedding, Engagement and Eternity Ring

An eternity ring can also be described as a dress or formal wedding band. It is a solid band, set with gemstones, traditionally diamonds.

Traditionally, an eternity ring was given to celebrate an anniversary, with some dispute over which anniversary they should be presented on. While anniversaries such as the tenth and fortieth list gemstones as the traditional gifts, many people take this to mean that an eternity band with that particular gemstone is appropriate for that anniversary.

The larger jewellery companies, however, are trying to persuade people that the first year anniversary is when an eternity ring should be presented, a very ingenious marketing technique. Eternity rings are also common gifts a husband gives to his wife to celebrate the birth of the couple’s first child.

Where to wear an eternity ring: which finger?

When an eternity ring is presented, the proper way to wear all three rings isn’t as well defined. One suggested way of wearing them is to wear your wedding band closest to the hand, followed by the engagement ring, and finally the eternity ring.

Since some ring styles are somewhat wider than others, this method may become cumbersome. In that case, the eternity ring can either be worn on the left-hand ring finger or the finger of the bride’s choice. Another suggested order is to wear your eternity ring in between your wedding ring and engagement ring. Some sources also suggest wearing your eternity ring first, then your wedding band, and then your engagement ring.

Wearing different ring combinations

Wearing a wedding ring and an engagement ring

Traditionally, when you already have both an engagement ring and a wedding ring, they are both worn on the ring finger between the little and middle finger on the left hand and the wedding ring is worn first followed by the engagement ring above it.

Wearing the wedding, engagement and eternity ring all together

Traditionally if all rings were to be worn on the same finger, they would be worn on the ring finger (between the middle finger and the little finger) on the left hand with the wedding ring going on first then the engagement ring and then finally the eternity ring.

However, this may not always be practical and many people choose to wear the eternity ring on the corresponding finger of the right hand. The bottom line is, the order in which the rings are worn is essentially a matter of personal preference as well as what works best for the style of the rings in conjunction with each other. Essentially, there is no right or wrong way to wear them.