What Hand Does a Wedding Ring Go On and Why?

September 25, 2023
What Hand Does a Wedding Ring Go On and Why?

Ever since I started dreaming about my wedding day, amidst all the excitement and planning, one question kept popping up in my conversations, almost as frequently as Do you have a date set? That question was, on which hand does the wedding ring go? Initially, I thought the answer was straightforward, something everyone just knew. But as I delved deeper, I realized this simple question opened up a world rich in history, culture, and heartfelt significance that I had never considered before.

So, here I am, sharing my journey of discovery about the traditions behind the wedding ring, and why deciding which hand wears this symbol of love is not as simple as left or right. It's a tale that spans across continents and eras, touching on everything from the ancient Romans' belief in the "vena amoris" to the diverse customs that shape our modern world. This exploration isn't just academic; it's deeply personal, reflecting the choices we make as we pledge our love and commitment to another person.

The Tradition of Wearing Wedding Ring

You know, the whole idea of swapping wedding rings isn't anything new. In fact, it's been around for thousands of years, acting as a symbol of the never-ending love and commitment between two people. Slipping on that wedding ring is like announcing to the world, "Yep, I'm taken; I've got someone special." But here's the fun part: which hand you choose to wear that ring on can change a lot depending on where you're from, your religious beliefs, or even just local traditions.

Wedding Ring Finger

Diving deeper into the world of wedding traditions, my curiosity didn't just stop at which hand does the wedding ring go on; it naturally flowed into wondering about the specific choice of the wedding ring finger. It's a question that might seem straightforward at first glance, but as I've learned, the history and symbolism behind it are anything but simple.

Historically, the fourth finger of the left hand has been designated as the ring finger in many Western cultures, a practice rooted in the ancient belief that this finger contains a vein that runs directly to the heart, the "vena amoris." While modern science may debunk the existence of such a vein, the symbolism behind the tradition has remained powerful and enduring. This connection to the heart has made the ring finger a significant symbol of love, commitment, and emotional connection.

As I explored various cultures and their marital traditions, I found that this choice of finger is largely consistent, yet the reasons behind it and the hand it's on can vary. For example, some Eastern European and South American cultures prefer the right hand for their wedding bands, attributing their own unique meanings and traditions to the practice.

What fascinated me most in this exploration was not just the differences but the universal symbol the ring finger has become. It's a reminder of the commitment two people make to each other, a symbol that transcends language and culture. As I reflect on my own choices and the traditions I want to honor in my wedding, I'm reminded of the deep, universal human desire to connect and commit, symbolized so beautifully by the choice of a single finger to wear a ring. This exploration has been more than just learning about customs; it's been a journey into understanding the many ways we express our deepest commitments to those we love.

Country/Culture Hand Notes
United States Left Most common tradition, following the belief it's closest to the heart.
United Kingdom Left Similar to the US, following ancient Roman belief.
Canada Left Follows the same tradition as the US and UK.
Germany Right Contrasts with the Anglo-American tradition, reflecting a different cultural approach.
Russia Right Reflects Orthodox Christian traditions.
India Right Due to cultural beliefs and practices, different from Western traditions.
Brazil Right Reflects local customs and practices.
Japan Left Adopts a more Western approach to wedding rings.
Orthodox Christians Right Religious tradition dictates the ring be worn on the right hand.
Jewish (during ceremony) Right The wedding ring is initially placed on the index finger of the right hand but is often worn on the left hand after the ceremony.

What Hand Does a Wedding Ring Go On?

In many Western cultures, including the United States and Canada, the wedding ring is traditionally worn on the fourth finger of the left hand. This finger is often referred to as the "ring finger" and is believed to have a direct connection to the heart, symbolizing love and commitment.

In contrast, several European countries, including Spain, Germany, and Greece, traditionally wear the wedding ring on the fourth finger of the right hand. This custom is influenced by religious beliefs and regional traditions. For instance, in Spain, it's common for couples to exchange rings during the wedding ceremony and then move them to the right hand after the ceremony concludes.

Ultimately, the hand on which you wear your wedding ring is a matter of personal preference and cultural significance. It's essential to choose a meaningful and comfortable placement that resonates with you and your partner.

The Significance of Cultural Differences

Cultural and religious differences play a significant role in determining which hand a wedding ring goes on. In many Eastern cultures, such as India, the left hand is traditionally considered impure, and wedding rings are worn on the right hand to maintain purity. In some countries, like Russia, couples may wear their wedding rings on the right hand during the engagement and then switch to the left hand after the wedding ceremony.

The Modern Take on Wedding Ring Placement

In my ongoing journey through the world of wedding traditions, I've been captivated by the modern twists and turns surrounding the placement of wedding rings. As couples navigate their way through the maze of tradition and innovation, they're reshaping this age-old ritual in ways that are as unique as their love stories.

One trend that's really caught my eye is the concept of "ring stacking." Instead of sticking to the conventional placement of a single ring on the left-hand ring finger, couples are opting to stack multiple bands on one finger. This allows them to mix and match metals, stones, and styles, creating a dazzling and personalized display that speaks volumes about their personalities and tastes.

Then there's the growing popularity of "ring tattoos." For those who want something more permanent than traditional metal bands, or simply prefer a more intimate gesture, matching tattoos on the ring finger are becoming increasingly common. It's a deeply personal way for couples to symbolize their commitment to each other, with ink that lasts a lifetime.

But what strikes me most about the modern take on wedding ring placement is the emphasis on individuality and creativity. Couples are weaving their own stories into the fabric of tradition, whether it's through cultural nods, family heirlooms, or bespoke designs. Each ring becomes a reflection of their journey together, a tangible symbol of the love and connection they share.

As I continue to explore the ever-changing landscape of wedding customs, I'm continually inspired by the ingenuity, diversity, and sheer romance that infuse every aspect of the modern wedding. In a world where love knows no bounds, there are endless possibilities for how we choose to honor and celebrate our most cherished relationships.

Also ReadWhat Finger Does A Promise Ring Go On?


The question of what hand does a wedding ring go on doesn't have a one-size-fits-all answer. It varies based on cultural, regional, and personal preferences. The most important aspect of wearing a wedding ring is the commitment and love it represents between a couple, regardless of the hand it adorns. Whether you choose to follow tradition or forge your own path, your wedding ring will always symbolize the everlasting bond you share.

For more information on wedding rings and to explore a stunning collection of wedding rings, visit Diamond Wedding Rings. Find the perfect ring that speaks to your unique love story.

About The Author

Author's Name

Emma Rae

Emma Rae, a distinguished Canadian jewelry writer, boasts over five years of expertise in the industry. Known for her deep understanding of jewelry design and trends, she's a credible and authoritative voice. Her insightful writing, featured in top jewelry magazines and online platforms, showcases her passion and respect for craftsmanship. Emma engaging and knowledgeable articles have earned her recognition and trust in the jewelry fashion world.



Start your custom design

To book an appointment Email: info@llprivatejewellers.com or Call: 604-684-6343