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Do You Need Both an Engagement Ring and a Wedding Ring?

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If your significant other surprised you with the perfect engagement ring, you may be wondering if you really need to add another ring to your fourth finger once you're married. What is the distinction between an engagement ring and a wedding band? And, as you're probably wondering, if you love your engagement ring so much, do you really need to add a wedding band, or can you just wear it alone after you're married? Let's settle the debate over engagement rings versus wedding rings once and for all.

Wedding Ring vs. Engagement Ring

Traditional engagement rings typically feature one large stone that either stands alone or is surrounded by smaller stones. An engagement ring is typically given as part of the proposal, or at a later point in the engagement if not.

A wedding ring, on the other hand, is traditionally a plain metal band or a diamond-encrusted eternity band that you receive and wear after exchanging vows during the wedding ceremony. There is also a fairly significant price difference between engagement rings and wedding bands; even if the wedding band has inlaid diamonds or other gemstones, the total carat weight of the wedding band is usually less than that of the engagement ring.

Tradition can, of course, be thrown out the window. Brides are having a greater say in the selection and design of their rings. Not only are they breaking with tradition, but they are also diversifying their engagement and wedding ring choices. People are doing whatever they want, and wedding bands allow them to express themselves more.

How to Wear Your Wedding and Engagement Rings

Traditionally, your engagement and wedding rings are worn together on the fourth finger of your left hand. In terms of stacking them, tradition holds that you should wear the wedding band inside the engagement ring to bring it closer to your heart (aww).

However, some brides prefer to wear their engagement ring on one hand and their wedding band on the other, especially if the rings are too different to stack.

When Should You Buy Wedding Bands?

Wedding bands are chosen by couples at least two months before the wedding. That way, you can account for any last-minute wedding planning details that may arise, and your rings will be ready to ship.

If you're not sure what kind of wedding band you want, wear your engagement ring for a few months before deciding on a wedding band. Your preferences may change, so try on your engagement ring to get a better idea of the wedding band you want closer to the wedding day.

Do You Require Both?

In the end, it all comes down to personal preference. Of course, if you like the traditional look. A wedding ring and engagement ring pairing is a timeless and beautiful look, whether you add an eternity band set with pavé diamonds or a plain metal band. Building a ring stack of three (or more!) bands, often with mixed metals and styles, is a recent trend that shows no signs of abating.

Of course, it's perfectly acceptable to wear only one ring to represent both your engagement and your (future) married status. Here are a few valid reasons why some brides choose to wear only one ring:

  • Single rings can be more comfortable and less obtrusive than a wedding band and engagement ring combination, and they can look absolutely stunning on their own.
  • It's one less ring to lose (which is especially important if you're a bit scatterbrained).
  • You also don't have to worry about two rings perfectly matching; it can be difficult to find a wedding band that matches your engagement ring if you don't buy them as a set.
  • The money that would normally be spent on both an engagement ring and a wedding band can now be used to purchase a single, eye-catching ring.

The bottom line? When it comes to selecting, designing, and wearing engagement and wedding rings, there is no right or wrong answer. You can wear none, one, two, three, or even more rings—just make sure that the ring (or rings) you choose to represent your love and marriage will have lasting meaning for you for many years to come.

Bonus!

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