What is the difference between an engagement ring and wedding ring?

I was embarrassed to realize that there are two different rings at play when getting married and I didn’t know the difference.

It took me some time but here is the world’s simplest and clearest definition. So don’t mess this up guys!

Ring TypePriceWho Wears It?Usually contains a rock, gem, or diamond?
Engagement RingMedium to HighWomanYes
Wedding RingLowWoman and Man No

Pretty simple, right?

There are a few more nuances.

An engagement ring is given to a woman during the proposal process. Usually a man asks a woman to marry him, presents a ring, and the woman (hopefully) says yes. She then places the engagement ring on her ring finger.

Game over, right? Not so fast.

When you actually get married you will each need to wear a wedding ring or, as they are sometimes called, a wedding band. These are simpler rings that each party wears as a token of their commitment to each other.

The man places this ring on this ring finger. But what about the woman? She is already wearing an engagement ring. 

Well here comes the different permutations. A few options exist:

  1. A woman can take the engagement ring off and only wear her wedding ring.
  2. A woman can take the engagement ring and the wedding ring and place both on her ring finger. This is called ring stacking.
  3. A woman can take the two rings – her engagement ring and wedding ring – and get them smolded or fused together by a jeweler with a furnace. Then the two rings are fused together and she can wear them as one unit.

In general engagement rings are far pricier (and blinged out) when compared to wedding rings. Engagement rings are where the hype is. This is the ring the woman will likely take photos of, post on social media, and tell her colleagues and friends about with pride.

Hopefully this article helps you understand the difference between an engagement ring and wedding ring. 

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