Wedding traditions explained: Removing The Engagement Ring

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Should your engagement ring be removed before the wedding ceremony? We looked into this tradition to find out why we remove the ring, and if it’s an important part of your wedding ceremony.

Engagement rings have been around since ancient Egyptian times. They are a symbol of a promise to marry, and while the styles, colours, and stones in them have varied over time the meaning behind them has remained the same.

The engagement ring is normally worn on the fourth finger on the left hand, the same finger as the wedding ring. It was once thought that a vein ran from this finger straight to the heart, so by keeping your rings on this finger you keep your partner close.

To keep up with this sentiment, the wedding ring is usually worn at the base of the finger so it is that little bit closer to the heart.

Bride and Grooms hands on stone wall next to bouquet showing wedding rings

Where to put your engagement ring

To have the wedding band at the base of the ring finger, the engagement ring cannot be worn during the wedding ceremony. This usually means removing your engagement ring before the ceremony begins. But where should it go?

There is no etiquette for what should actually happen with the engagement ring during the ceremony. However there are a few popular ideas;
Changing hands. Wearing the engagement ring on your right hand instead of the left is a good way to keep it close during your ceremony, without actually removing it altogether. Doing it this way means that it can be placed back on the ring finger as soon as the ceremony is over.

Giving the engagement ring to a trusted person. The men of the wedding party will have pockets, so they are the best people to be tasked with looking after the engagement ring. It is important to ask someone who can be completely trusted, the Groom or Father of the Bride are usually the best people as they’re unlikely to play any pranks.

Leave it at home. Some people prefer to leave their ring in a safe place at home, so it’s one less thing to think about on the day. While this is a good option, remember that if you don’t have it with you it won’t be on any of your wedding photographs.

Ignore the tradition. More and more brides are choosing to ignore the tradition of the wedding band being worn first, and having it placed on top of their engagement ring. This eliminates any need for the engagement ring to be removed at all!

Bride and Grooms hands on register with non matching wedding bands and Bride also wearing engagement ring first

Top tip

No matter how you choose to wear your engagement ring on your wedding day, make sure that it’s cleaned at least 2 weeks prior to the wedding date. There’s nothing worse than seeing a dull engagement ring next to a shiny wedding band. Getting it done early means it’s one less thing to think about the week of the wedding.

Next in our Wedding Traditions Explained series, we’re looking at The Wedding Breakfast