Engagement Ring vs Wedding Ring: What’s the Difference?

Engagement Ring vs Wedding Ring: Everything You Need To Know

A common question that jewellers get asked is always the difference the difference between an engagement ring vs wedding ring. After all, people have been exchanging wedding rings as a symbol of marriage since ancient times.

This leads to further questions such as: do you need both the wedding ring and engagement ring? If you have both, do you wear them together?

We’re going to answer all your burning questions related to engagement and wedding rings in this article.

Keep reading to learn more.

What is the difference?

Yes, an engagement ring and a wedding ring are different, and you can easily tell if you are looking at an engagement ring or a wedding ring.

Engagement ring

An engagement ring is presented during the marriage proposal. Traditional engagement rings usually have a dominant centre stone, which is sometimes surrounded by additional smaller stones. Engagement rings are noticeably more extravagant than a wedding ring and can feature ornate bands, different coloured stones and elaborate settings.

Another difference is that engagement rings are usually a surprise which the person proposing has picked in secret and only the bride (or the person being proposed to) wears an engagement ring. While some couples do shop for engagement rings together, it’s more common for wedding rings.

Engagement Ring Conundrum

Wedding ring

Wedding rings are exchanged at the wedding ceremony after the vows have been said and are usually a plain metal band or feature small stones set along it. Couples usually choose their wedding rings together ahead of the wedding and getting matching rings is common, although not a hard and fast rule.

Ladies Wedding Ring Stack

Wedding Ring Stack

Do you wear your engagement ring and wedding ring together?

Traditionally the bride will wear both the engagement and wedding ring together on the fourth finger of the left hand with the wedding ring placed on the finger first because it resides closest to your heart.

It’s believed that exchanging wedding rings as a symbol of love dates back to the Ancient Egyptians. They believed that the vein in the ring finger (fourth finger) runs directly to the heart, strengthening a couple’s love and commitment to each other. The truth is that there is no such vein, but the symbolism remains strong.

It’s fairly common nowadays for people to wear an engagement ring on one hand and the wedding ring on the other, or only wear their wedding ring. Some people may only wear their engagement ring on special occasions for fear of damaging or losing it.

Why are engagement rings more expensive than wedding rings?

Engagement rings typically feature a large diamond which drives the price up. Marriage is a huge milestone in a couple’s life, so a lot of thought usually goes into buying the ring engagement ring. People enjoy showing off their engagement rings after the proposal, which is why they are usually bigger and shinier than a wedding ring. Halo engagement rings are one way of making the centre stone stand out.    

Wedding rings are usually simpler, such as a plain metal band or a band with small diamonds.

Do I need an engagement ring and a wedding ring?

It’s up to you and your partner whether you want both rings. Due to the cost of throwing a wedding – dress, catering, venue, etc. – some couples may find it difficult to afford both an engagement ring and a wedding ring. Usually that means leaving out the more expensive engagement ring and getting simple wedding rings instead.

However, it is possible to buy affordable engagement rings and Holdsworth Bros stock many different types of rings to suit any type of budget. While the traditional engagement ring usually features a large, round diamond, there are ways of bringing the price down on an engagement ring. For example, oval diamonds are less expensive than a round diamond and they have the added bonus of making the person’s fingers look slimmer.

Do my engagement ring and wedding ring have to match?

No, they don’t have to match but you can buy an engagement ring and a wedding band together. This is known as a bridal set and the rings fit together seamlessly on your finger.

If the wedding ring is bought separately or after an engagement, then the important factors to think about matching them are:

  Metal type

  Metal colour



This is to make sure that the wedding ring looks cohesive together. At Holdsworth Bros. we are more than happy to help with matching your engagement ring and wedding ring.

Bridal Ring Set

How do you choose the right engagement ring or wedding ring?

Have a budget 

It’s easy to get distracted by all the shiny diamonds in a jewellery store, which is why it’s important to set a budget before you go looking. Once the budget has been set, you can then speak to a jeweller to find out what options you have.

Do some research

If you’re planning to surprise your partner by proposing and you don’t know anything about diamonds or engagement rings, then it’s probably worth taking the time to read about what things you need to consider when it comes to buying a ring.

There are four C’s that you should know when it comes to diamonds:





Understanding what these words mean will help you pick the right diamond.

The other kind of research you need to do is find out what kind of engagement ring your partner will like because this is probably the most important piece of jewellery they will ever receive in their life. It’s not only a symbol of your love for each other but it also demonstrates that you know their taste.

If you’re unsure about what kind of jewellery they like, you can check out Pinterest and Instagram for ideas on what’s popular and what different styles there are. It’s also worth speaking to one of their friends or family members and finding out what they like in a ring (as long as they can keep a secret).

Don’t buy the first wedding ring you see

If you’re shopping for wedding rings together, it’s a good idea to look around and find something that you both like. You might be trying to find the right wedding ring to suit your engagement ring, so take the time to see what your options are to find the ring that will match.

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