Engagement Ring vs Wedding Ring – What are the differences?

Now, everyone will have heard about engagement rings and weddings rings. Some people think that both are one and the same. Which is not the case. Women tend to know the difference right away. But I remember myself not knowing the difference before working in a jewellery store. It is nothing to be ashamed about.

Engagement ring vs wedding ring is not a debate on which kind of ring is better or something because both rings are used in different situations. Rather, I want to explain the differences to you in terms of each ring’s meaning and its appearance.

Engagement rings

Simply put engagement rings are the rings you give to your girlfriend when you propose, i.e. you knee down in front of your girlfriend and say the words: “Will you marry me?”.

The proposal itself is supposed to be a surprise. There are various reasons for this. For a woman a proposal is like the ultimate victory: A guy kneeing down in front of her and offering his never-ending commitment to the relationship with her. This is a very special moment for a woman and this is why women very often ask each most excitedly about the details of a proposal. This very special event becomes even more special and the emotions that result out of such an life changing event are even more heightened when the the proposal is not planned but a real surprise to the woman!

The nature of such an emotional heightening proposal has two consequences for the engagement ring: In order to keep the element of surprise the man will usually have to choose the engagement ring on his own. And he will have to choose a ring that underlines the uniqueness of the proposal.

Therefore, engagement rings nowadays are very often diamond engagement rings that provide a lot of sparkle, brilliance and scintillation. Apart from diamonds an engagement ring can also contain a sapphire for instance. One commonality between most engagement rings is that one larger gemstone is situated at the centre of the engagement ring and attracts all the attention.

typical engagement rings

On the picture above you can see differents kind of engagement rings. All of these engagement rings are set into different ring settings. Some of these ring settings have several diamonds in its ring setting but usually one diamond at the centre commands all the attention.

Most engagement rings are set into gold or platinum ring settings but some are also set into silver, titanium or stainless steel. The engagement ring is usually placed on the left ring finger. The Romans used to believe that the left ring finger contained the “vein of love”.

Unlike the wedding ring it is only women who get to wear an engagement ring. Which is a probably a good thing looking at the costs 🙂

Wedding rings / wedding bands

On the other hand there are also wedding rings which are also referred to as wedding bands.

Wedding rings are the rings that are exchanged during the wedding ceremony after each partner has said their vows. As the wedding ceremony is something both of you will plan for way ahead in advance you will be choosing your wedding rings together.

Wedding rings are most commonly plain rings without any diamonds or gemstones. They usually consist of yellow or white gold.Typical sets of wedding rings

A wedding ring with its form consisting of a simple uninterrupted circle without a beginning or ending symbolizes eternity. It is not surprising that it has been found to be the perfect symbol for being married and for never-ending love. The wedding ring clearly also serves the purpose of demonstrating to the outer world that its carrier is married!

Quite often couples try to choose wedding rings in such a manner that they match each other. In fact, many couples take exactly the same wedding band in their own respective size. This serves the purpose of heightening a couple’s sense of unity. However, there is no universal rule that it has to be like that. Wedding rings usually contain an engraving on the inside such as the date of marriage or some short phrase with a special meaning to the couple.

10 thoughts on “Engagement Ring vs Wedding Ring – What are the differences?

  1. The funny thing is I was just like you when I first went looking at wedding rings “I thought an engagement ring and a wedding ring” was the same ring. Little did I know, think it may be a guy thing because you are right a female will school you very quick that they are very different. Lol.

    Engagement ring vs wedding ring is like that: Usually an Engagement ring is the one with the “ROCK” and the one you should spend 3 months salary on or whatever the monetary value should be these days, it was 3 months salary in my day anyway.

  2. Thanks for the post. When I was thinking about engagement ring vs wedding ring I actually thought both are the same thing. I guess you never stop learning.

  3. Hi. Just wanted to say thanks for this informative article. I have been married for 17 years now and am very much looking forward to our 20th anniversary when we will be renewing our vows. To be honest, I never really thought about having a separate ring for the wedding. We just used the engagement ring. After reading your article, I’m thinking about surprising her with a wedding ring. I know it’s 20 years too late, but just curious if you think it’s a good idea? If so, I would appreciate some ideas. Thanks again -Jeremy

    1. Hi Jeremy,
      it seems as though you and your wife don’t have wedding bands. After 20 years of marriage it might be a nice symbol to get matching wedding bands through which you might be more connected. Such wedding bands are usually quite plain and don’t contain a large diamond. For wedding bands and anniversary wedding bands it is absolutely appropriate to choose the rings together with your wife. She will be able to assist you much better than I ever could in the choice of your perfect rings 🙂

  4. Hey, I think that the summary of engagement ring vs wedding ring is quite easy. The engagement ring does contain a diamond and the wedding ring does not!

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