Engagement Ring vs. Wedding Ring: Can you tell the difference?

Engagement Ring vS Wedding Ring

Once you decide to tie the knot, you will realize there are many traditions along the way to your wedding. Among them, the exchange of engagement and wedding rings are two of the most popular.

While often both these terms are used interchangeably, they are actually quite different. But how do wedding and engagement rings differ? Is it mandatory to wear both rings? Does your engagement ring have to match your wedding ring? Can you wear just your engagement ring after marriage?

Many such engagement ring vs. wedding ring etiquette questions perplex couples. In this article, we will address these questions by providing a deeper look at each of these rings and their significance.

Let’s get started.

What Is An Engagement Ring?

The concept of an engagement ring was first introduced hundreds of years ago when, in 1477, the Archduke Maximilian of Austria used a diamond ring to propose to his lady love, Mary of Burgundy. Later, in the 1600s, Shakespeare mentioned engagement rings and wedding rings in one of his plays. Today, engagement rings form a vital part of every proposal.

While there are many types of engagement rings, diamond engagement rings are the most popular option today. “Say it with a diamond” has become the norm for wedding proposals. Diamonds come in several shapes including princess, pear, and round, as well as in a variety of cuts, colors, and sizes.  

While it’s true that diamonds are the top choice for engagement rings, couples are increasingly changing their preferences to other types of gemstones. Ruby, pearl, and emerald engagement rings are all diamond ring alternatives that have found popularity. Diamonds are just too expensive for some, while others consider them old-fashioned. 

If your engagement is fast approaching and you still haven’t decided on your engagement ring, here’s our detailed guide on how to choose the perfect engagement ring. Hope it helps!!! :)


engagement vs wedding ring

What Is A Wedding Band?

The wedding ring tradition is almost 5000 years old. It started at the time of Egyptians, who used circular rings made of leather and wood, considering them “rings of love”. The tradition was passed to other cultures along the way with different variations.

Ancient Egyptians believed a wedding ring should be worn on the fourth finger of the left hand. According to Egyptian belief, this finger had a vein that connected directly to the heart. In reality, there’s no such vein, but the symbolism remains strong.

Over time, the idea of exchanging wedding rings became more formalized and gained widespread popularity.

Wedding rings, or wedding “bands,” as we now call them, come in a variety of styles, metals, and colors, from white gold to platinum and yellow gold.

While some prefer to exchange wedding bands, others choose wedding rings with small gemstones or accent diamonds. If wedding ring options fascinate you, you can upgrade yours anytime. Here’s how you can upgrade your wedding ring.


Difference Between Engagement Ring And Wedding Ring

So, as you can see, the basic difference between a wedding ring and an engagement ring is the time of exchange. The engagement ring is given at a marriage proposal or when a couple decides to tie the knot.

On the other hand, a wedding ring is given during the wedding ceremony when you exchange wedding vows. The ring represents the official bond of marriage.  

Traditionally, an engagement ring has one center (dominant) gemstone, which either stands alone or is surrounded by smaller stones.

wedding Rings



A wedding ring is a diamond-encrusted eternity band or a plain metal band. 

There's a fairly significant price difference between the ring types. In most cases, the carat weight of a wedding ring is lower than that of an engagement ring, even if the wedding band has inlaid diamonds or other stones.

How To Wear A Wedding Band And Engagement Ring?

In most cultures, women wear the wedding and engagement ring together on the ring finger. What differs is when these are worn.

Before The Wedding

It’s the time for the engagement ring. When the wedding is fixed or when the proposal happens, an engagement ring is required.

During The Wedding

During a wedding ceremony, wedding rings are exchanged between the partners. At this time, the engagement ring shifts to the ring finger of the RIGHT hand. As per the tradition, the ring that symbolizes togetherness is worn on the ring finger of the left hand (the Egyptian belief).

After The Wedding

There’s no hard rule about wearing both rings together after the wedding. It generally depends on the tradition the couple follows. Some choose to wear both rings together on the same finger with the wedding ring worn first so that it’s closest to the heart followed by the engagement ring on the outside.

Others prefer to wear the engagement ring and wedding band on different fingers and even on different hands. Some even wear just the wedding ring on a daily basis while occasionally putting on their engagement rings.

So, you see, there are rules. These rings are important pieces meant to celebrate your bond and should be cherished for lifetime. So, what’s most important is that you love your rings and take care of them.

engagement and wedding rings

Engagement Ring Vs Wedding Ring: Do You Need Both?

There’s no single “correct” answer to this question. How to wear your engagement ring and wedding band is a matter of personal preference and tradition.

Different couples have different perspectives. Some want to stay true to longstanding wedding traditions, choosing to wear both an engagement ring and a wedding band. They truly believe that each ring has its own distinct meaning, and purpose, which they should honor.

Then there are those who believe the traditions are outdated and unnecessary. Their preferences depend on their comfort, budget and style. So they choose to wear either of the rings to save money.

Both are right, so it’s difficult to argue with them. Having two rings is great but in no way a necessity.

Where To Buy Engagement Rings And Wedding Rings?

Whether you buy an engagement ring or a wedding band, it’s a major investment. So, it is crucial that the rings you buy are 100% authentic and of the best quality. While the market is swamped with jewelers, not everybody is worth your trust.

You must find reliable jewelry stores to buy your engagement and wedding rings.

At Dolphin Galleries, we use only authentic diamonds which are further crafted into beautiful designs by our expert jewelers. All our gemstones are certified so there’s no way you have to worry about being bluffed. Plus, all our designs are exclusive. This is hard to find anywhere. We also allow customized ring designs - just let us know your preferences and we will design your ring your way. Lastly, but most importantly, pricing is what makes us stand out from the crowd.

So, if you are looking for a designer ring for your engagement or wedding that doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket, visit our website today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a wedding ring and a wedding band? What should I buy for my wedding?

Wedding bands and wedding rings are the same. They are given at the wedding ceremony. For some people, it’s a wedding band, while others call it a wedding ring. The two terms are interchangeable.

What you should buy depends entirely on what you prefer - a simple metal band or a ring with glittery diamonds. Your budget can also help you decide.

Why are engagement rings more expensive than wedding rings?

This is because engagement rings typically feature a large centre gemstone, most often a diamond which is expensive in itself. Wedding rings, by contrast, are simple in nature and typically in the form of a plain metal band with small diamonds.

Do I need to wear my engagement ring even after getting married?

If you are an ardent follower of your traditions, yes you will have to wear both your engagement ring and wedding band after getting married. But if it's a matter of your choice and comfort, the decision is all yours.

What is more important, a wedding ring or an engagement ring?

Since ancient times, wedding rings have been considered the official marriage bond. As such, wedding rings are more important than engagement rings. That is why wedding rings are worn first followed by the engagement ring. However, both rings have their own sentimental significance for the wearer.

Is it Ok to wear only an engagement ring?

There’s no right or wrong answer to this question. It’s your choice whether you wear an engagement, a wedding ring, or both. What matters is your ring should symbolize your love for your partner and commitment to your relationship, regardless of which ring you choose to wear.


Steve Schlag

Owner of Dolphin Galleries, Art & Jewelry Expert.