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Wedding Ring Etiquette


Answers to the bride and groom's engagement and wedding ring etiquette questions.

diamond wedding ring
The groom wonders how he can select just the right engagement ring and make it a surprise to his sweetheart. A bride wonders how the wedding rings can be properly exchanged. Fortunately, wedding ring etiquette is much simpler than other aspects of the wedding. If this is your first wedding, there are a few points you may want to remember.

Where does the bride wear her engagement ring during the wedding ceremony and should she remove it? Confusion often arises about where the engagement ring should be worn during the wedding. The engagement ring etiquette dictates that the engagement ring and wedding ring will usually go on the left hand, ring finger of the bride and the wedding ring is usually placed right next to the engagement ring during the wedding ceremony. Wedding ring lore says a vein from the ring finger on the left hand runs directly to the heart. Once this idea was disproved, the tradition was already well established.

One way to maneuver your rings would be to wear your engagement ring in its usual place until it is time for the exchange of the rings. At that time, remove your engagement ring and then place it back on after your wedding ring is placed on your finger. However, this can be awkward and distract from one of the most sacred moments in the ceremony. Wedding ring etiquette calls for something simpler.

Just before walking down the aisle, move your engagement ring to the opposite hand. After the ceremony, place it back on the left hand in front of your wedding ring.

How is a wedding ring to be placed when the bride is wearing gloves? Wedding ring etiquette indicates two ways to handle this, and neither calls for placing the ring over the glove. One option is to remove both your gloves and hand them to the Maid of Honor. Another option is to purchase wedding gloves that are made for this situation. The wedding ring finger on the glove is made with a slit down the middle. When the time comes to wear the ring, you can easily slip the band onto your finger by separating the glove to expose your ring finger.

Who is the ring bearer?
In the past, a ring bearer was traditionally a young boy. Today, a young girl can be a ring bearer too. If the ring bearer is a girl, consider having her wear and outfit that matches that of the flower girl, and make the ring pillow a feminine one with lace an flowers.

Must the wedding proposal be a surprise or does the bride pick out her own ring?
In the past, engagement ring etiquette ad tradition called for the man to first choose the ring, and then present it if the proposal is accepted. Today many couples purchase the bride's engagement ring together. Alternatively, if the couple leans towards the traditional, the woman sensing her love is going to propose, may drop subtle hint about the specifics of the ring she most admires.

It is always ok for the groom to propose in the traditional way, presenting the ring as a surprise. This works best if he is resourceful enough to find out what his beloved would love wearing for the rest of her life. If he is in tune with the girl of his dreams or at least paying attention, he will have a good idea of the type of engagement ring that will be just her style.

Who buys the rings?
This is the one point of wedding ring etiquette that has not changed. The groom traditionally pays for the bride's engagement and wedding ring, and the bride traditionally pays for the groom's wedding ring.

Written by: Cindy Blankenship