Engagement Ring vs. Wedding Ring: What’s the Difference?

What’s the difference between an engagement ring vs. a wedding ring? Well, it’s all in the name and style!

Engagement Ring Vs Wedding Ring
Via Nordstrom, $275

An engagement ring is exactly what you think they might be. It’s a ring given to the bride during a proposal, and typically features a diamond or beautiful gemstone. The bride wears the ring during her engagement to signify her upcoming wedding. Engagement rings used to symbolize the wealth of the man proposing, demonstrating that he had enough money to care for his bride. Obviously that tradition has fallen by the wayside, but engagement rings still continue to get flashier and more expensive. (You can read more about diamond carats and prices here).

Wedding rings are exchanged by the bride and groom during the wedding ceremony. Both can be worn during the wedding, but a wedding ring is typically worn under the engagement ring. Some say this is because the wedding ring should be closer to the heart, symbolizing the eternal factor of marriage. Wedding rings are often plain bands, although they can have diamonds or stones, and are often solid platinum gold, or white gold.

Men don’t wear engagement rings, and men’s wedding rings tend to be very simple and match the woman’s. They can be gold, tungsten, platinum, titanium, silver, or a variety of other metals.

Some things to consider when choosing rings:

  • Is this timeless enough that it will match our tastes for the rest of our lives?
  • Do we work with our hands—i.e., will we be removing the rings often or need rings that can be cut off in the case of an emergency? (That Jimmy Fallon story is horrifying!)
  • Are the wedding rings comfortable?
  • How do I want to wear my engagement ring vs. wedding ring? You can stack them, solder them, or wear them separately.
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  1. says: Kairi Gainsborough

    Before my husband and I started getting serious when we were dating, I didn’t know the difference between an engagement ring and a wedding ring. The ring my husband picked had a slim band, so there would be room to wear a wedding band with it. However, I also see many women with single-band rings, and I honestly think it looks great either way!