Why Is the Wedding Ring on the Left Hand?

Why Is the Wedding Ring on the Left Hand?

Have you ever wondered why you're supposed to wear your wedding ring on the fourth finger of your left hand? Is it possible to wear the ring on another finger? While there are no hard and fast rules for which finger to wear your wedding ring on, in most Western cultures including the United States, it's traditional to wear the ring on the fourth finger of the left hand.

Why Is the Fourth Finger on the Left Hand the Ring Finger?


a couple and their wedding name

The tradition of wearing your wedding ring on the fourth finger of your left hand dates back thousands of years. During ancient Egyptian times, people believed that a vein, called the vena amoris or vein of love, ran from the heart to the tip of the fourth finger of the left hand. Wearing a wedding ring over that vein symbolized the strong love two people share. In the 16th century, England's King Edward VI declared that all couples must wear their wedding rings on the fourth finger of the left hand.

Before the king's decree, most couples wore their wedding rings on the thumb or middle finger of the left hand. In certain countries such as India, Poland, Greece, and Russia, the couple wears their wedding rings on the fourth finger of the right hand. Today, scientists know that all the fingers of both hands have a vein that runs through them, so in reality, the couple can choose whichever fingers they like to show their commitment to each other. Ultimately, the choice of which finger to wear your wedding ring is yours. 

Can I Wear My Wedding Ring and Engagement Ring on the Same Finger?

Most couples choose to wear their wedding band below their engagement ring at the base of the knuckle. Wearing the two rings together on the same finger is a personal choice; however, seeing the two rings together on the same finger can help remind a couple of their endearing love.

Before arriving at the wedding venue, the soon-to-be-bride will often take the engagement ring off of the finger that the wedding band will soon go on and place the engagement ring on the opposite hand. After the ceremony, the bride can either put the engagement ring back on the wedding ring finger or do so at a later time. Some people even solder the two rings together to make the marital bond even stronger.

What if I Want To Wear My Wedding Ring and Engagement Ring on Different Hands?

One thing to consider: If both rings are large, the two rings may not fit comfortably on one finger. In that case, you may choose to wear your engagement ring on a separate finger. Additionally, if your engagement ring has a different style than your wedding ring, you may want to showcase the two rings separately. For example, if you have a vintage or estate engagement ring and a wedding ring encircled with diamonds and gemstones, you may want to differentiate the two styles by wearing them on separate hands. 

Do keep in mind that in general, the size of your fingers varies from your left hand to your right hand. If you have an engagement ring sized for the fourth finger of your left hand and decide to wear it on your right hand, you may need to have it resized. Our professional jewelers at Martin Busch Jewelers can help you resize a ring if needed.

What Type of Wedding Band Should I Choose?

Selecting the perfect wedding band is a personal choice. The first thing you want to consider is what type of material you want for the band. Ideally, you'll want to wear your wedding band forever, so it's important to pick a metal and a stone that are durable. Gold is often the preferred metal to use and comes in yellow, rose, or white. You can also choose platinum, palladium, or tungsten.

Next, pick your stone — whether you prefer sparkling diamonds or glimmering rubies, the choice is yours. You can also have a custom ring made with a special message engraved on the inside of the band. Having a custom wedding ring made means that you can have the exact metal, stone, and cut for a personalized ring. If you decide to go with a custom wedding ring, place your order with us at least a couple of months before the wedding date to ensure the ring fits properly. 

What's the Best Way To Measure My Ring Size?

While you can try and measure your ring size at home, when it comes to a ring as important as your wedding band, it's best to have your ring finger sized professionally. Professional jewelers use a set of sizing rings. The rings hang from a keychain-type device with various-sized bands attached to it. When you visit in-house, you'll try several sizes from the attached bands to find the ideal size for your finger. Do keep in mind that the width of the wedding ring band can have an impact on the size of the ring. 

In addition, your hands often swell later in the day and during warmer months. If your ring fits perfectly on a cool spring day, it may feel tight on a hot summer afternoon. However, if the wedding ring fits comfortably when it's warm out, it may become loose when your hands aren't swollen and could potentially slip off. A professional jeweler can help you find the right-sized ring to fit you year-round.

When the time comes to pick out your engagement and wedding rings, stop by Martin Busch Jewelers. We have over 60 years of experience, and as the oldest continually open jewelry store in the neighborhood, our professional team has helped thousands of couples find the perfect rings to celebrate their special union. We look forward to seeing you in our store so we can help you size the ring accurately, find the stone and setting you'll fall in love with, or help you start your custom wedding ring order.