Do Men Wear Engagement Rings?

Whether you're popping the question or want to celebrate having already done so, here's everything you need to know about men's engagement rings.
Gold male engagement ring on gold lock
Photo: Athena Pelton
tres dean Associate Menswear Editor
Tres Dean
tres dean Associate Menswear Editor
Tres Dean
Associate Menswear Editor
  • Tres writes and edits articles for The Knot, with a specialty in menswear and suiting.
  • He brings over a decade of expertise in the field garnered as a writer, editor, copywriter, and trend specialist.
  • Before joining The Knot he covered menswear for publications including GQ, AskMen, Men’s Health, Sharp Magazine, Highsnobiety, and Spy.
Updated Jul 28, 2023

Do men wear engagement rings? Like many wedding and engagement questions, the answer ultimately comes down to how you want to play it–the interpretation is up to you, and there's no right or wrong way to do engagement rings. There are certainly long-standing traditions that you're welcome to adhere to if you'd like, but if upending the norm is more your speed there's nothing wrong with taking that route either. Read on for the answers to every question you have about men's engagement rings.

In this article:

    Is It Common for Men to Wear Engagement Rings?

    Do guys have to wear engagement rings? No. And neither do women.It's fine if one or both partners wants to skip the jewelry altogether, as long as they're both aligned. But can men wear engagement rings? Absolutely! Grammy-winning pop star Ed Sheeran made waves when he announced he was wearing a men's engagement ring. While the singer certainly brought attention to male engagement rings, he's definitely not the only example of men wearing engagement rings.

    According to The Knot 2019 Jewelry and Engagement Study, 7% of all men receive and/or wear an engagement ring. Roughly 6% of men in heterosexual relationships reported receiving one, while 49% of male same-sex couples exchanged one engagement ring (and 40% exchanged two). We'd venture to guess that male engagement rings will only gain traction as couples in the United States continue breaking with (and making) tradition.

    Meanwhile, in some places outside of the US, male engagement rings are considered traditional. In Chile and Argentina, for example, it's common for both men and women to wear rings after getting engaged.

    A Brief History of Engagement Rings

    The tradition of engagement rings as a concept goes back thousands and thousands of years to the days of ancient Egypt, but the version of them that we recognize today first showed up in the year 1477. The Archduke Maximilian of Austria offered a diamond ring with the gems in the shape of an M to Mary of Burgundy, sparking the trend of diamond-set engagement rings. In the centuries since, the engagement ring has become a far less rigid piece of jewelry. These days you're just as likely to come across emerald, ruby, or sapphire rings as you are diamonds, and the industries surrounding them have changed as well (lab-grown diamonds are increasingly popular amongst those getting engaged for reasons both ethical and sustainable).

    How Should a Man Wear His Engagement Ring?

    After your significant other pops that question, your first instinct might be to slide your engagement ring on the fourth finger of your left hand. It's often referred to as your "ring finger," primarily because it's a common spot to stack an engagement ring and wedding ring. This tradition originates in the old belief that a vein runs directly from this finger to your heart (the science isn't quite there but the sentiment stands).

    But if you've ever wondered which finger a wedding ring goes on, you're not alone. While wearing wedding jewelry on your left ring finger is a common practice, especially in the United States, it's not the only option. In fact, the wedding ring finger meaning and tradition is steeped in history, and it often changes among different cultures. In countries including Russia, Colombia, and Greece brides and grooms alike are far more likely to wear their rings on their right hands.

    Diamond Engagement Ring and Gold Wedding Band
    Photo: Lauren Scotti Photography

    How Is It Different From a Men's Wedding Band?

    You could be forgiven for confusing a men's engagement ring with a men's wedding band. Still, both stem from fairly different matrimonial traditions. A men's wedding band is the traditional wedding ring that guys put on during their wedding ceremony and wear after they've tied the knot. The style of the ring and the finger on which it's worn may vary based on cultural traditions, though generally a men's wedding band is a simple horizontal ring in a metal like gold or silver without a gem as the centerpiece. Across cultures the symbolism is the same: wedding bands signify already being married.

    A men's engagement ring is worn to commemorate engagement rather than marriage. While they're generally worn on the same finger, the style of an engagement ring differs quite a bit from a wedding band. As with traditionally feminine engagement rings, men's engagement rings often have a center gem or area of focus rather than the uniform horizontal build of a wedding ring. There's generally more room with engagement rings for experimentation in style and presentation than there is with wedding bands, though as always, it's your wedding and your ring–at the end of the day, do what makes you look and feel your best.

    After the Wedding, Do Men Wear Both Rings?

    Wondering whether or not you get to keep rocking both of your rings after your wedding day? Great news: it's totally up to you. Generally tradition states that you stack your engagement ring and wedding band on the ring finger of your left hand after you're married. However, there's some wiggle room here and you're welcome to take advantage of it. If you want to wear just one ring and keep the other in a safe place, or if you want to switch them up depending on the day, you're all good to do so. As with many wedding traditions, it ultimately comes down to your personal preference.

    TL;DR: Do Men Wear Engagement Rings?

    Yes, absolutely. Engagement rings definitely aren't just for women. Men's engagement rings are appropriate whether a man is getting proposed to or just wants to commemorate his engagement. There's nothing dictating that men need to wear engagement rings but just as similarly there's nothing indicating that they can't. It's your wedding–commemorate it in the way that makes the most sense for you.

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