Love is not canceled, neither is your planning. Get advice on what's next for you.

Is There a Right Way to Wear Your Wedding and Engagement Rings?

We'll help you decide how to stack your new bands.
maggie seaver the knot wedding planning expert
by Maggie Seaver
maggie seaver the knot wedding planning expert
Maggie Seaver
Wedding Planning Expert
  • Maggie Seaver is an Associate Digital Editor at RealSimple.com.
  • Maggie writes about life, career, health, and more.
  • Maggie was an editor at The Knot from 2015 to 2019.
Updated Aug 13, 2020

Confession: We pretty much always have rings on the brain. But there's more to it than ogling over carat sizes and stone shapes. The giving, receiving and wearing of both engagement and wedding rings is steeped in tradition and personal meaning. And now that you've started thinking about which way to stack your own bands, you might be wondering how to wear engagement and wedding rings? Is there a right or wrong way? The short answer is, it's completely up to you.

Maybe you've always seen your mom's ring finger with her wedding ring on the inside (or on the bottom)—but then you see stars like Emily Ratajkowski wearing her gorgeous sparkler on the inside. Is there a difference? Does it mean something in particular?

Even though tons of people wear their engagement ring on the outside, or on top, you might like the idea of turning that tradition on its head—not just to be a trailblazer, but because doing so has its own symbolism for you. Or it could be as simple as the fact that the shape, size and style of your rings work better worn one way versus another. Play around with both ideas—or a completely different one—to come up with your ideal ring order.

Here's a little symbolism behind both stacking orders.

Tips on How to Wear Your Engagement and Wedding Ring

Rings on the Left Hand

Perhaps the most common way to wear them, this tradition stems all the way back to an idea from the Ancient Egyptians, who believed we had a vein leading directly from the left ring finger to the heart. By wearing your wedding ring on the inside you guarantee it's as close to your heart as possible. This left-handed ring wearing custom is popular in certain regions, such as the United States, France, the UK, Canada, Mexico, South Africa and many Asian countries. 

Rings on the Right Hand

How to wear a wedding band may be determined by the area you are living in or the cultural traditions you are accustomed to. While wearing your rings on your left hand is common in many Western countries, you will see many couples wearing their rings on their right hands in Northern and Eastern European countries, such as Russia, Poland and Denmark. It is also common in India, Greece, Spain and Portugal. What's more, in some countries, like Brazil, couples will wear their wedding rings on one hand and switch hands after saying their vows at their wedding. 

Wedding Ring First, Engagement Ring on Top

Some people like to stack their wedding band and engagement ring on the same finger. In this case, you wear your wedding ring first, followed by your engagement ring. So how do you wear your engagement ring and wedding band at your wedding? If you go this route, remove your engagement ring before the ceremony so that you don't have to deal with potentially losing it or awkwardly fumbling with it at the altar. Wear it on your right hand or keep it in a very safe place. Once you've said "I do," you can slip your sparkler back on for the reception or wait a little bit to admire your new band on its own.

Engagement Ring First, Wedding Ring on Top

Another popular choice is to wear them other way around. Logically it might make sense to wear your rings in the order you received them (even though Ratajkowski got her engagement ring second and still wears them in this order). Symbolically, the idea that your engagement represents a promise and your wedding ring crystallizes that promise might really speak to you. Wearing your wedding ring on the outside gives your engagement story a sort of figurative bookend—first, you're engaged, now it's official. Time to start stacking with anniversary rings (wink!).

Engagement Ring One On Finger, Wedding Ring on the Other

If you're wondering how to wear a wedding band if your band doesn't match your engagement ring, this is one prime option. Some prefer wearing their engagement ring on their left ring finger and their wedding band on their right ring finger. Though not a traditional choice, it's great for those who don't have a matching set or don't like the way the rings sit together on one finger. It's also perfect for those who prefer not to stack more than one ring on a finger. Aside from personal preference, you will often see couples wearing their engagement rings on the right hand and their wedding bands on their left in countries such as Germany and the Netherlands. 

Alternate Rings

When it comes to how to wear wedding rings, there are no rules. No one ever said you have to wear them at the same time. Some like to wear their wedding bands every day and reserve their engagement rings for special occasions or when they dress up. Conversely, some like to wear their sparkling engagement rings all the time and forgo their wedding bands entirely. The choice is yours.

Up Next
  • vp kamala harris husband douglas emhoff inauguration
    8 Little-Known Facts About Vice President Harris and Her Husband