Why Do You Wear a Wedding Ring on the Right Hand?

There has always been a custom of wearing wedding bands on the left hand, specifically the ring finger. Tudor culture held that a vein ran directly from the left ring finger to the heart; thus, a woman who wore a ring on that finger signalling to the world that she was engaged or married.

Numerous customs and practises surrounding weddings exist in societies and cultures worldwide. One cannot generalise about cultural norms. There is a great deal of variation in cultural practises. This is why the concept of "culture clash" actually exists.

The giving and receiving of wedding rings is one of the most central rituals in any wedding. It's possible that the hand and finger you choose to wear your wedding ring on will differ significantly from that of couples from other countries. Shop at Temple & Grace for the most captivating Perth rings, designed to make a statement of everlasting love.

On the big day, many brides and grooms choose to wear both their engagement and wedding rings on the same finger. However, not every culture follows this custom.

Wedding Ring History - Looking Back In Time

Over three thousand years ago, in Ancient Egypt, the first wedding rings emerged. Although estimates range from tens of thousands to a few thousand years ago, we can all agree that this event occurred a very long time ago.

Historians have discovered references to a "type" of wedding ring that seems to have been a precursor to the rings we use today.

Hemp, reed, rushes, and sedges were frequently used in the construction of these rings because of their biodegradability. Obviously, such rings didn't last very long, so new, more durable materials had to be developed. Man started making jewellery from more durable materials like leather, bone, and ivory for his and her rings.

The more precious the ring's material, the deeper the assumption that the giver loves the recipient. During that time, rings were also viewed as a sign of prosperity and social standing. In the past, the higher your social status was reflected by the monetary value of the jewellery you wore.

Wedding rings continue to be a symbol of a couple's undying devotion to one another, just as the ancient Egyptians apparently thought they were. There has been one constant in the evolution of wedding rings from their ancient Egyptian origins all the way through the present day, despite the fact that they can now be made from anything from yellow gold to pave diamonds. They remain the pinnacle symbol of eternal love, binding two people together for all time.

Right-hand rings: which finger?

Again, there are no hard and fast rules; however, most people wear their right ring or index finger's right hand when it comes to large cocktail rings. Women often wear rings on every finger on their right hand, from the pinkie to the thumb, thanks to the vogue for sideways stacking.

Tradition holds that one should only wear membership rings (such as those bearing a family crest) on one's index finger, while a ring on one's thumb is a symbol of wealth and power. Graduation rings, which are traditionally worn on the right pinkie, can also be a sign of one's professional status.

How do you wear the right-hand rings?

Flappers of the 1920s started a trend in the West where the right hand is reserved for more ostentatious jewellery like cocktail rings. Given that the majority of people are right-handed, showcasing a bold ring on your dominant hand will draw more attention to it.

Stacking minimally designed rings vertically on one finger or wearing them spread across the whole hand can be a very chic look. Current ring trends include twisty designs that travel up the finger.

Eternity rings are often worn by some women on the fourth finger of their right hand. These rings, typically given to celebrate milestones such as a 10- or 15-year wedding anniversary or the birth of a child, are adorned with a row of sparkling diamonds set in a channel around the circumference. Rings of this type are typically worn on the left hand's ring finger, either between or above the engagement ring and the wedding band. Although most women wear their eternity bands on their left hands, some choose to switch it to their right because it feels better or because they like the way it looks better.

Reasons for Wearing Wedding Ring on Right Hand

Different Traditions

Culture has long dictated whether the wedding ring goes on the fourth finger of the left or right hand.

  • The right hand is the prefered location for a wedding ring in some countries of Eastern Europe and Latin America.
  • In countries like Lebanon, Turkey, and Syria, the right hand is where the wedding ring stays until the big day.
  • The wedding ring is worn on the right hand in some South and Southeast Asian countries, such as Sri Lanka, while the left hand is reserved for the bride.
  • Some religious communities, including Orthodox Christians, traditionally have the ring finger of the right hand be the one to wear the wedding band.

As you can see, cultural and religious factors often dictate that wedding rings be worn on the right hand. It can be disorienting to meet new people and discover that they wear their wedding band on the opposite hand.

Left-Handedness

This isn't the first thing that comes to mind, but it's a common reason why people choose to wear their wedding bands on their right hands.

Wearing your ring on your dominant hand increases the likelihood that it will become scratched, dented, or otherwise damaged over time. If the ring is worn on the right hand, this will not happen.

Rings are often more convenient and less of a nuisance when worn on the non-dominant hand.

Gay and Lesbian Marriage

It is a common choice among gay and lesbian couples to wear wedding bands on the right hand rather than the left, as a way of showing defiance to conventional heterosexual norms. There is no hard and fast rule that says same-sex couples must wear their rings on the ring finger of the right hand; any finger will do.

Health Concerns

For various reasons, some people can't wear their wedding bands on their left hand. It may be difficult to put on and remove your wedding ring if you have a bone-related condition such as arthritis. The problem could be solved with a hinged ring, but a simple solution that is both cheap and straightforward is to switch hands.

To Signify Independence

Many contemporary women prefer to purchase their own diamond jewellery, including engagement rings. Having greater financial independence as a result of increased employment and breadwinning is a major factor in this. A diamond ring is a symbol of one's elevated financial standing.

It's A Family Jewel

Two or more rings are not uncommon for some couples. This is due to the fact that they value the sentimental significance of rings passed down through generations more than they do the practicality of wearing them on their dominant hand. Consequently, the wedding ring set they've purchased for each other will go on the left hand, while the family heirloom will go on the right. Therefore, they get to experience both!

It's Code For "Cheat"

Although it may come as a shock to some, adultery is still a common problem in many committed relationships. When a man or woman wants to cheat on their partner, they don't throw away their wedding band, but rather switch it to a different finger on their right hand. When a married person puts their wedding ring on their right hand, it serves as a kind of unspoken code that they are open to having a fling.

Why is there a specific wedding ring finger?

Left wedding ring finger

Supposedly, ancient Romans thought the vein in the ring finger led straight to the heart. The ancient Romans took this to mean that your relationship with your spouse would last forever. That vein in your ring finger got the name "vena amoris," which translates to "vein of love," because of this superstition. With a ring on this finger, you've already committed to another person. They also thought the left hand was less "reliable," perhaps because righties are more common. Modern science has shown that veins run from every finger to the heart, but it's still nice to think that your wedding ring finger has a particularly direct connection.

Right wedding ring finger

Although this is the case in the United States, many European countries, including Russia, Poland, and Greece, have a tradition of wearing wedding rings on the right hand. Additionally, it is common practise for members of communities where people of the same sex are drawn to live together to wear their wedding rings on the right hand.

Wedding rings were traditionally worn on the right hand in India because the left hand was considered unclean. Rings on both hands, however, are now socially acceptable.

In traditional Sri Lankan weddings, the groom wears the wedding ring on his right hand, while the bride wears hers on her left.

Second world war

It is said that men rarely wore wedding bands prior to World War II, but that custom quickly spread among service members as a way to keep in touch with loved ones back home.

Man-gagement rings

In order to make room for their wedding bands, many men who wear engagement rings prefer to wear their "man-gagement rings" on their right hand and keep them there. The couple can decide whether to keep the engagement ring on after the wedding or to take it off.

Wedding day custom

A bride will traditionally wear her engagement ring on her right hand on her wedding day, making room for her wedding band on her left hand. It is customary to wear the engagement ring atop the wedding band on the left hand after the ceremony. It's a sign that the wedding band is emotionally significant to them. How adorable.

Widowed spouses

Some widows choose to continue wearing their wedding rings after the marriage has officially ended, but they move them to their right ring fingers.

Left Handedness

Having a ring on the left ring finger can be awkward at times, so it makes sense to move it to the right ring finger.

Mental hand vs physical hand

Physical actions are typically performed with the right hand (sorry, lefties), while the left is considered the "mental" or "ideological" hand.

Physical work

For various reasons, some people choose not to wear their wedding rings or opt to substitute something else, such as a necklace or engraved bangle. The practise of wearing rings is not appreciated by everyone. Keep in mind that you are under no compulsion to wear a ring, and the decision is completely yours. Having a jeweller create a wedding ring that is uniquely yours is one option if you still want to wear a ring to symbolise your connection to your spouse.

What cultures wear wedding rings on the right hand?

Marriage and engagement rings are often worn on the right hand in many cultures.

After the wedding ceremony, the wedding ring is switched from the right to the left hand in some countries like Syria, Brazil, Turkey, and Lebanon.

When it comes to wedding rings, the right hand is prefered in India because the left is seen as unclean. Unless you don't believe in tradition. Some Indians follow the Western practise of placing the ring on the left hand after marriage.

Traditionally, the groom in Sri Lanka wears his wedding band on his right ring finger, while the bride wears hers on her left.

The right hand is the acceptable location for wedding rings in Jordan, despite the fact that this practise is frowned upon in most Muslim countries.

Northern and Eastern European traditions dictate that wedding rings be worn on the left hand, but in Southern and Eastern European countries like Spain, Portugal, and Greece, the rings are traditionally worn on the right.

To symbolise their new status as husband and wife, newlyweds in Germany and the Netherlands switch their wedding bands from the left to the right hand.

In a traditional Jewish wedding, the bride wears her engagement ring on her right index finger and her wedding band on her right ring finger.

Marriage rings are typically worn on the right hand in other countries, such as:

  • Norway
  • Belgium (some territories)
  • Poland
  • Russia 
  • Bulgaria 
  • Denmark
  • Austria
  • Serbia
  • Ukraine
  • Hungary
  • Cuba
  • Columbia
  • Venezuela
  • Peru

Problems with Wearing Your Ring on Your Right Hand

All the most compelling arguments centre on social dynamics. To those from cultures (such as the United States) where wedding rings are traditionally worn on the left hand, seeing your ring on your right hand might lead them to believe that you are not married.

This may cause issues because:

  • People who don't know you're married could try to hit on you.
  • Putting your wedding band on the 'wrong' finger can give the impression that you're cheating on your partner.
  • It's possible that people will assume you're divorced because of the ring you're wearing on your right hand.

All these 'issues' have to do with society and the way people see you, as you can see. If you're unconcerned about what others think, then you probably won't change your mind.

It's important to remember that there are other motivations besides culture and tradition for some couples to wear their wedding bands on the right hand. Some couples, while others prefer convenience and ease, prefer to stand out from the crowd and make a statement through their wedding.

After the death of a spouse, many people choose to switch their wedding bands to the right hand as a symbol of respect and remembrance.

There are a variety of traditions and customs that encourage right-hand ring wear among married couples. Something like a custom, cultural norm, or individual taste could be at play here. We can say with absolute certainty that you should not be afraid to defy convention and wear your wedding ring on the hand and finger of your choosing. Given that you're the only one who'll be donning it, it's only fair.

Ultimately, it comes down to one's own values and opinions. If you're not constrained by ritual or belief, you're free to wear your wedding band on whichever finger suits you best.

There is no rule that says you have to wear your wedding ring on your left hand, so you are free to be as original as you like within reason.

Conclusion

The fourth finger of the left hand was the traditional location for wedding bands. Tudor culture held that a vein ran directly from a woman's left ring finger to her heart, so it was customary for newly engaged or married women to wear rings there. In Ancient Egypt, where the tradition of exchanging wedding rings began over 3000 years ago, the first rings were made of more durable materials like leather, bone, and ivory. The theory goes that the more expensive the ring, the deeper the giver's feelings for the receiver. Wearing a ring at the time was also a sign of wealth and social status.

Traditional wedding rings have been worn as symbols of eternal commitment since ancient Egypt, and modern versions can be made from anything from yellow gold to pave diamonds. Nowadays, it's common to see women sporting rings on every finger of their right hand, from the pinky to the thumb, as part of the trend towards sideways stacking. Thumb rings are a symbol of success and authority, while rings worn on the index finger indicate membership (such as those with a family crest). These rings are worn on the left ring finger, in between the engagement ring and the wedding band. The fourth finger of either hand is acceptable for wearing the wedding ring.

The bride's wedding ring is traditionally worn on the right hand in Western cultures, but on the left in Eastern Europe and Latin America. Cultural and religious norms often lead to people wearing their wedding band on the other hand, which can be perplexing when first meeting them. It is more useful and less of a distraction when worn on the non-dominant hand. Last but not least, it is a treasured possession because it guarantees the family's future well-being. Some married people choose to display their commitment to one another with multiple wedding bands.

The right ring finger is seen as a sign of infidelity, while the left is seen as connected to the heart. Wedding rings were typically worn on the right hand rather than the left, as the left hand was considered dirty in Indian culture. In a traditional Sri Lankan ceremony, the groom wears his wedding ring on his right hand and the bride's on her left. While men were less likely to wear wedding bands before World War II, it became common practise for those serving overseas. Men wear their engagement rings on their right hand so that their wedding bands don't get in the way.

Content Summary

  • There has always been a custom of wearing wedding bands on the left hand, specifically the ring finger.
  • The giving and receiving of wedding rings is one of the most central rituals in any wedding.
  • It's possible that the hand and finger you choose to wear your wedding ring on will differ significantly from that of couples from other countries.
  • Engagement rings, for instance, are worn on the left hand in the United States, but the right hand is customary in many other countries.
  • Historians have discovered references to a "type" of wedding ring that seems to have been a precursor to the rings we use today.
  • They remain the pinnacle symbol of eternal love, binding two people together for all time.
  • Again, there are no hard and fast rules; however, most people wear their right ring or index finger's right hand when it comes to large cocktail rings.
  • Women often wear rings on every finger on their right hand, from the pinkie to the thumb, thanks to the vogue for sideways stacking.
  • Flappers of the 1920s started a trend in the West where the right hand is reserved for more ostentatious jewellery like cocktail rings.
  • Given that the majority of people are right-handed, showcasing a bold ring on your dominant hand will draw more attention to it.
  • The right hand is the prefered location for a wedding ring in some countries of Eastern Europe and Latin America.
  • Some religious communities, including Orthodox Christians, traditionally have the ring finger of the right hand be the one to wear the wedding band.
  • As you can see, cultural and religious factors often dictate that wedding rings be worn on the right hand.
  • Wearing your ring on your dominant hand increases the likelihood that it will become scratched, dented, or otherwise damaged over time.
  • If the ring is worn on the right hand, this will not happen.
  • For various reasons, some people can't wear their wedding bands on their left hand.
  • Consequently, the wedding ring set they've purchased for each other will go on the left hand, while the family heirloom will go on the right.
  • When a married person puts their wedding ring on their right hand, it serves as a kind of unspoken code that they are open to having a fling.
  • Additionally, it is common practise for members of communities where people of the same sex are drawn to live together to wear their wedding rings on the right hand.
  • In traditional Sri Lankan weddings, the groom wears the wedding ring on his right hand, while the bride wears hers on her left.
  • In order to make room for their wedding bands, many men who wear engagement rings prefer to wear their "man-gagement rings" on their right hand and keep them there.
  • The couple can decide whether to keep the engagement ring on after the wedding or to take it off.
  • A bride will traditionally wear her engagement ring on her right hand on her wedding day, making room for her wedding band on her left hand.
  • It is customary to wear the engagement ring atop the wedding band on the left hand after the ceremony.
  • Marriage and engagement rings are often worn on the right hand in many cultures.
  • The right hand is the acceptable location for wedding rings in Jordan, despite the fact that this practise is frowned upon in most Muslim countries.
  • To symbolise their new status as husband and wife, newlyweds in Germany and the Netherlands switch their wedding bands from the left to the right hand.
  • In a traditional Jewish wedding, the bride wears her engagement ring on her right index finger and her wedding band on her right ring finger.
  • Putting your wedding band on the 'wrong' finger can give the impression that you're cheating on your partner.
  • It's possible that people will assume you're divorced because of the ring you're wearing on your right hand.
  • If you're unconcerned about what others think, then you probably won't change your mind.
  • It's important to remember that there are other motivations besides culture and tradition for some couples to wear their wedding bands on the right hand.
  • There are a variety of traditions and customs that encourage right-hand ring wear among married couples.
  • Ultimately, it comes down to one's own values and opinions.
  • If you're not constrained by ritual or belief, you're free to wear your wedding band on whichever finger suits you best.
  • There is no rule that says you have to wear your wedding ring on your left hand, so you are free to be as original as you like within reason.

Frequently Asked Questions

The fourth finger of the left hand is the traditional location for the wedding ring in many cultures. The "ring finger" is the fourth finger from the end of the hand, and it is thought to have a special relationship with the heart.

 

The decision to always sport a wedding band is entirely up to the couple. While some choose to flaunt their marital status at all times, others only do so on special occasions or when wearing their wedding ring.

 

An engagement ring or promise ring can be worn alongside a wedding band, and vice versa. But pick rings that go well together in terms of design and style.

 

In case your wedding band is too large or too small, you can have it resized. Visit a reputable jeweller to have the ring resized to avoid damaging the piece.

 

If you believe it brings bad luck to remove a wedding ring, that's your business. Taking off one's wedding ring is interpreted differently by different people; for some, it's a sign of infidelity, while for others, it's just a piece of jewellery. Whether or not to remove a wedding band depends on the person and their values.

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