Wedding Rings vs Engagement Rings – What’s the Difference? 5 Stupid Questions
In this post I’ll talk about the wedding rings vs engagement rings difference. I’ll also cover when you wear what and why.
I’ll throw in a little historical perspective too. Just a heads up, goats will be mentioned. To keep it interesting I’ll sprinkle in questions I found when Google-ing “Stupid Wedding Ring Questions!”
Wedding Rings vs Engagement Rings
Stupid Question # 1
Question: I know this is a dumb question, but if a girl is engaged, does it always mean that her fiancee will have bought her a ring at time of proposal? and if so, does it mean she will always wear it even if the wedding is 3 years down the road?
Answer: I’m wondering if this question has more to do with whether this guy can hit on this girl on not.
But let’s answer it anyway. When a girl/woman accepts her fiance’s proposal of marriage she wears the engagement ring he gives her to tell the world that she is “taken.” Long engagements can happen for a number of reasons. She is a monogamous girl/woman from that moment forward until she says her vows. Hmm, that sounds like once she gets married she goes nuts. Not what I meant to say.
A Bit of Historical Perspective on Engagement Rings
Historically, the gift of an engagement ring to the bride-to-be was a financial commitment to her family. It was like the guy was financially marrying her whole family. He “bought” her with a valuable ring. The earlier you go in time, the more you see financial gifts to her family.
The young lady then wore the ring to symbolize that she would consider no other offer for her hand. The engagement ring could also be considered a status symbol for the family, showing that a wealthy man was to marry their daughter.
The wedding band is the symbol that a woman or a man are already married. The wedding band is of simpler design and should not eclipse the engagement ring which is always the star.
Stupid Question #2
Question: How does it work ? Do you get an engagement ring then a wedding ring? Or is the engagement ring the wedding ring ? Or is everyone different – I know this sounds stupid, but I’m clueless.
Answer: From a practical standpoint if you don’t know if she’ll say yes, just buy the engagement ring. But if you’ve discussed marriage and she didn’t run screaming from the room, it makes sense to get the wedding ring or wedding band that goes with the engagement ring at the same time. This way you know they fit together well. This is the same if you’re having your engagement ring custom made.
Let’s take a second to define wedding ring and wedding band. A band ring is the same width all the way around from a looks perspective. A wedding band can have designs on it or be plain. It can have gemstones too. What makes it a band is the same width of it all the way around.
A wedding band isn’t given to her when you propose. You give her the engagement ring when you propose and you give her the wedding ring or band at your marriage ceremony.
A wedding ring is a ring that may be tapered or otherwise designed so it is not the same thickness all the way around. It traditionally has diamonds or gemstones on it. It is smaller and less fancy than the engagement ring.
From: Community Babycenter.com
More Wedding Ring History
Oh yes, I promised goats. Historically, at the marriage ceremony the groom would give the goats, horses or cows to the father of the bride.
She gets the little wedding band and papa gets livestock. I’m thinking the father of the bride was the happiest guy there.
In other pre-marital negotiation history, some girls and women had to come to the marriage with a dowry of animals or gold. Clearly in the old days the parents had many opportunities for bettering themselves through the marriage of their children.
Stupid Question #3
Question: When the guy asks the girl if she’ll marry him and gives her a ring, does the guy get an engagement ring too or just a wedding ring?
Answer: When the guy proposes to his girl, he gives her the engagement ring which she wears from that moment on.
The guy doesn’t traditionally get an engagement ring, but lately some guys have turned that historical tradition on its head with the “mangagement ring.”
Traditionally the guy gets his wedding ring/band at the marriage ceremony.
Stupid Question #4
Question: Is the engagement ring a totally separate ring from the wedding ring? Or is the wedding ring a touched-up engagement ring?
Answer: The engagement ring is a stand-alone ring.
The wedding ring is a separate ring and is given at the marriage ceremony to be worn with the engagement ring.
Stupid question #5
Question: I have this old plain band ring from my grandmother. It’s too thin for me. It’s a size four because my previous fiancé wore it for three years. Can it be sized to a seven for my new girlfriend and can it be polished up to look like new? Will the new gold bit show? Can the engraving inside it for my old fiancé be scraped out?
Answer: There’s something underhanded sounding about this whole question.
Since marriage is based on trust and mutual respect, I’d discuss whether she would be comfortable wearing this inherited band that was worn by your previous fiancé.
If she’s OK with it then yes it can be sized. The area of added gold should not show up as different unless the older gold is a slightly different color. In which case there would be a subtle difference in color, but not a big deal.
The old engraving can be removed, but this would make that ring a bit shallower. Possibly weaker at that point depending on how the band is to begin with.
Traditionally a plain gold band is not used as the engagement ring. An engagement ring traditionally has one main larger diamond or other gemstone with other flanking diamonds. The gold band would be used as the wedding band at the ceremony.
Have you Got a Question or a Story?
I hope I have answered your marital ring questions about the difference between wedding rings vs engagement rings and amused you along the way, with a little help from the internet! And full disclosure, I’ve asked many a stupid question in my day and I welcome all questions. I used the “stupid question” thing for fun, not to be judgmental. I’d love to hear if you’ve got a question in this area or an amusing story to share.
Wedding Rings Jeweler,
These are just great questions. I love the two questions from guys that are kinda out there. Number one does seem like he wants to know if she’s legitly engaged.
And number five just needs to pony up some dough if he loves his new girl.
Do you get questions like this from real guys?
What’s the weirdest request or question you ever got as a jeweler about wedding rings?
Hi Tracey, I do get weird requests. It makes my life more interesting. I had a sad strange request. A guy wanted to borrow an engagement ring and propose and if she said no he could return it. So he paid for it and I stuck his check in my pending basket. He brought it back, evidently she’d said no. I’m so used to all my guys telling me she said yes that this was out of the ordinary. I’ve been asked about re-using an engagement ring that came back to the guy after a broken engagement. I tell guys… Read more »
Cute post! Some males are adorably clueless. I think it’s also worth saying that nowadays, there is no right or wrong way to handle wedding and/or engagement rings. The traditional route- and engagement ring with a matching wedding ring next to it- is still the most common, but not everyone goes that route. And that’s okay! Some people don’t get a matching wedding ring and instead use a single gemstone ring as both an engagement ring and a wedding ring. Other people (like my fiance and me!) choose two very different rings that stand alone to serve as two interchangeable… Read more »
I agree with you that there is no hard and fast rule that you must have an engagement and wedding ring on the same hand to say that you are married.
It is very enjoyable to work with the creative couples I have the pleasure of designing with.
Angela you sound like a creative person, thank you for coming by and sharing your viewpoint!
Does the engagement ring and the wedding band have to be identical or can it be completely diffent like the engagment ring being a camo design and the wedding band being like plan gold or something or does it have to be a set that matches
The engagement ring and wedding band do not have to match. Women especially often like an aesthetic sense of matching to be there, but each couple is different and express their love differently.
I think if there is going to be a great difference between the two you want to be sure that your girlfriend/fiance is OK with that. If so, absolutely go for it.
Your Personal Jeweler,
Hi me and my girl friend have been dating 2years now.. We had talks about marriage we both are on the same page about that. She’s a women of simplicity.. I want to know how can I get her a good simple engagement ring for when I want to propose? Do I buy the rings separately or what? Please help
When you choose the engagement ring you want for her see if they offer a wedding band that goes with it. Put a hold on it. After you propose let her know that you’ve reserved the wedding band. Show it to her and ask if that is what she’d want to go with it. Leave her room to say she’d like something different.
I always recommend buying your wedding band early on and storing it until you get married.
Your Personal Jeweler,
My man got me engagement ring. Then he broke it off… Then he gave it back to me…Can you tell me what it means..?
I know it can’t be good…
My ring meant more to me when he proposed to me than it does now. Help.
Dear Cindy, Your situation is quite unique. Usually when a man breaks off an engagement, he leaves the ring with the woman. He had given it to her as a gift and a promise, if he breaks that promise, it is hers. It sounds like he got the engagement ring back when he broke the engagement. Regardless of what he does, in my opinion, you should keep the ring! I don’t know what is up with him yes-ing then no-ing and then yes-ing again. Guys can be indecisive. I think you two need to build up the trust and make… Read more »
A bit of a confusing situation here:
I was engaged and had chosen my ring and band according to my taste.
Unfortunately, that engagement broke off and he kept the ring.
I’m now seeing someone new and was wondering if choosing a similar (if not the same) style of ring would be okay? I do love a specific type of ring and can’t really picture getting something different, but I love him more, so I wouldn’t want to tramp on any toes over a ring.
Thanks for your input.
When we love a certain style of jewelry, a certain width, a particular taper ratio, and gem setting style like three diamonds across the top all prongs set or whatever you love. You have choices in each area for little tweaks. You could add hand engraving, or diamonds view-able from the side.
I feel that sticking with a style that suits you is wise. Do change up just enough details so you think of your new love and don’t see the old ring in your mind when you look at it.
Your Personal Jeweler,
odd question 🙂
My relationship with my man has lasted 10 years, and we are finally talking about the logistics of marriage. We went to look at rings yesterday and found some GORGEOUS ones. However, I love the bling but I don’t really feel at all comfortable with actual jewelry as I break everything and I am a real tomboy.
Eventually we will be getting tattoos but until then we will most likely be getting real rings.
Any thoughts to make wearing a blingy thing all the time more palatable?
Hello Anon, I can relate the tomboy vibe. I was a horse nut and shoveling corrals and grooming horses to earn money to keep my horses in hay and grain for years. I had one ring I loved and at first I worried about it, but then I just kept wearing it and it became a part of me. It generally takes about three weeks wearing a new ring to get comfortable with it. I’d suggest starting easy with a design that won’t catch on clothing and objects. Maybe go with a bezel set style, like the setting style shown… Read more »
Hey, I just got engaged to the father of my child we been in a off on relationship for about 3years he finally decided he ready to settle down so he proposed on Christmas gave me a beautiful ring and I was just wondering if I’m wearing my engagement ring how will I wear my wedding ring too
Some rings look better worn alone and that is OK.
Some engagement rings look beautiful when paired with a contoured wedding band. That would need to be custom made.
Your Personal Jeweler,
I know that most women probably have a specific type of ring that they like and may want to pick them out themselves, so here is my stupid question: Before proposing:
a) Does the couple go ring shopping together?
b) Does the guy choose a ring that he thinks she’d like and hope she does?
c) Does the guy use an inexpensive “prop” ring to propose then get the real rings together after?
d) Something I’m not thinking of
Hi Sean, Thanks for writing your questions. You might check if your girlfriend has a Pinterest account with pictures of engagement and wedding rings that she likes. That is one way to find out her taste and dreams for an engagement and wedding ring. Going into jewelry stores is fun while walking around downtown and if you do it she’ll tell you what she likes. My boyfriend, now husband did this very thing and he found out what I liked and in the fullness of time proposed with a ring I said was “the one.” You can ask her mom… Read more »
I am still a bit confused as to what to wear. I get the difference between a wedding band and a wedding ring. But when do you were the wedding ring and when do you wear the wedding band?
Do you wear the ring during the entire engagement then take it off for the ceremony? Which ring(s) does the husband traditionally put on the wife during the wedding? Do you wear both while your married? Is a wedding band necessary? Sorry for all the questions!
Hi Stephanie, Thank you for your questions. To clarify for other readers the wedding band which is worn with the engagement ring is the description of a type of ring that is the same width all the way around. Men frequently wear this type of wedding jewelry. A wedding ring is that ring worn with the engagement ring that is not the same thickness all the way around. It may be a thin contoured band snugging into the engagement ring or some pretty design that goes nicely with the engagement ring that has a tapered shape or otherwise is not… Read more »