Why the Left Hand Finger for Rings

Ever wonder what made it so that engagement rings are worn on the left finger? And once married what dictates the wedding band before or after the engagement ring?

When you love each other so much, it’s worth consciously knowing the significance as it just heightens your level of commitment and understanding.


The meaning behind the left finger

The tradition of wearing an engagement and wedding band on the fourth finger of our left hand had very romantic but biologically incorrect reasoning.

The ancient Romans believed this finger had a vein that ran directly to the heart—the Vena Amoris, or "Vein of Love." So naturally couples in love should wear the symbol of their love and devotion on this thought to be lifeline.

Spoiler alert – there is no such vein. Biologically speaking, it's no more connected with the heart than any of our other fingers.

Interestingly there are some countries where the ring finger of the right hand is the more popular choice for brides and grooms to wear their rings like in Russia, Greece and Colombia.

The Tradition of Wedding Rings

Wedding rings symbolise eternal love and devotion. The tradition of wedding rings came about in Egypt about 4 800 years ago. The circle symbolises eternity, with no beginning and no end. The additional meaning of the hole in the centre is less known. The hole in the centre of the ring signifies a gateway or door. When you give a significant other a ring, it signifies a love forever and ever.

When it comes to the ring materials, there are no rules. You can opt for many different styles. For more inspiration, click here.  

Engagement Ring Finger

Engagement rings are actually relatively new! The first recorded use of a diamond engagement ring occurred in 1477 when Archduke Maximilian of Austria presented Mary of Burgundy with a ring featuring diamonds arranged in the shape of the letter M. This then transformed into a trend.

A diamond being the hardest and most durable naturally occurring substance found on Earth makes it the perfect choice to represent lasting, never-ending love and the promise of forever together. Each diamond is also extremely rare and unique. No two diamonds are alike, just as each couple's love has its own special story.

Traditionally, a man proposes and a woman typically wears the engagement ring to communicate her acceptance. But there's no rule that says a man can't wear one too! This is the case in same sex marriages.

The Finger you use for your rings

Engagement and Wedding Rings

The engagement ring should be worn on your left finger with it being the only ring during your engagement.

When you get married, the rule of thumb is to wear your wedding ring closer to your heart and therefore it is wedding band first and engagement ring second.

It is common for brides to be to use their engagement ring on their right hands on their wedding day whilst awaiting the band. A quick post nuptials switch gives you the complete set.

After the wedding you can wear both or just the wedding band. You can also wear both rings on different hands if you wish. There may be traditions but these can be broken! Do what suits you best.

Promise Ring

The promise ring is a tradition dating back to the 16th century. This was used to communicate an upcoming engagement much later. Today, some promise rings merely provide a commitment without a promise to engage. It is pivotal for the communication of the promise ring to be delivered upon presentation to manage expectations. Find out more on The Meaning of Promise Rings.

Since the left hand fourth finger is so well known for the greater commitment of marriage, people choose any other finger to wear their promise ring.

If you choose to wear your promise ring on your left hand fourth finger because there is a commitment to be engaged soon, once you get married the tradition is to move the promise ring to your right hand ring finger.

Image: Catch Light Photography

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