What hand does the ring go on? All about wedding ring finger. 💍

In Russia and in a couple of countries from the former soviet union, wedding rings are worn on the ring hand. In some countries, in United States, on their wedding day, newlyweds wear rings on their left hand, but it is always the fourth finger. Various customs are related to the history of individual countries, faith, but also ancient beliefs.

In the article you will find out:

  • What is the history and symbolism of wedding rings?
  • What hand does a wedding ring go on in different countries?
  • Why in Russia a wedding ring is worn on the right hand?
  • What finger does a wedding ring go on and why is it a ring finger?
  • How an engagement ring is worn after marriage;
  • What does it mean to have a wedding ring on the left hand?


A wedding ring – a symbol of marriage and its history

Wedding rings have been with us since antiquity. As early as 6,000 years ago, newlyweds exchanged rings made of reed or hemp as a sign of their marriage.

The ancients associated this jewelry with the wedding ceremony and it is still so today. Wedding rings invariably symbolize the same values: love, fidelity and durability. Round, straight rings, put on by the spouses on each other, become the seal of the wedding. Since they are supposed to be timeless, they are usually smooth and devoid of decorative stones and made of gold. Sometimes, an engraving is hidden inside to add a more personal touch to the jewelry.

The wedding ring is also characterized by a round shape. It is not a coincidence. After all, a circle that has neither beginning nor end means infinity. When translated into marriage symbolism, it is supposed to mean eternal love. It also matters where and how the wedding ring is worn. Which hand and finger will be appropriate to represent your feelings and marital status?

What finger does a wedding ring go on?
What finger does a wedding ring go on?

What hand does a wedding ring go on?

Depending on the country, wedding rings are worn either on the right or on the left hand. Europe and the world are divided on this issue.

The ring finger of the right hand

A wedding ring is worn on the right hand in:

  • Austria
  • Russia
  • Ukraine
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Denmark
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Serbia
  • Germany
  • Norway
  • Poland.

The ring finger of the left hand

A wedding ring is worn on the left hand in:

  • Brazil
  • Czech
  • Portugal
  • Egypt
  • France
  • Sweden
  • Finland
  • Ireland
  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Turkey
  • USA
  • Great Britain
  • Italy.

Why is a wedding ring worn on the right hand?

Even in the first half of the nineteenth century, wedding rings were worn on the left hand. After the January Uprising,  widows shifted their wedding rings from left to right. As a sign of solidarity and national mourning, married women also began to put wedding rings on their right hand. It has remained so until today.

The Christian faith also plays a role here, because its followers constitute a lot of all believers. The history of this religion suggests that the custom of wearing wedding rings on the right hand was initiated by the church itself. The priest, reciting the verse from the marriage vow: “In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit”, placed the wedding rings on the right hands of the bride and groom. When he said “Amen,” the bride and groom would slide their rings over the fourth fingers of their right hands. Only when they had done so was the marriage considered to be contracted.

An interesting interpretation of the principle of wearing a wedding ring on the right hand is also provided by cultural symbols. According to them, jewelry symbolizing feelings is worn on the left hand, and privileges and power are worn on the right hand. Marriage is emotional, but marriage itself is a legally sanctioned relationship that gives the spouses certain privileges and obligations. Hence, it has been assumed that wedding rings are worn on the right hands.

The ceremony of putting on wedding rings during the wedding vow

How is it now? During a church wedding, the priest no longer places the wedding rings directly on his hands. After the first part of the marriage vow, when the newlyweds vow “love, faithfulness and marital honesty …” and the priest blesses them, the marriage is sealed with wedding rings.

The priest says the line: “May God bless these rings, which you are to put on each other as a sign of love and fidelity” and holy the rings. Then he addresses the couple with the words: “As a sign of marriage, put on your rings” and gives the couple a plate with rings.

Glass box for wedding rings
Glass box for wedding rings

The young people themselves reach for the rings and say one another (after the priest), simultaneously putting the rings on the ring finger of the right hand:

Husband “[Name of the wife], accept this ring as a sign of my love and faithfulness. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. “

Wife: “ [Name of the husband], accept this ring as a sign of my love and faithfulness. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. “

After the words of the oath and the gesture of putting on the wedding rings, the marriage is considered to be concluded.

What finger does a wedding ring go on?

Depending on the tradition of the country, the spouses wear wedding rings on the right or left hand. However, it is always the fourth finger of the hand, also known as the ring finger. The symbolism of this finger is to ensure the marriage relationship prosperity, durability and eternal love.

What finger does a wedding ring go on?
What finger does a wedding ring go on?

Why is a wedding ring worn on the ring finger?

The custom of wearing wedding rings, as well as the very name of the fourth finger of the hand, dates back to ancient Egypt. It was believed that it was from this finger that the vein leads to the heart. It was called the vein of love, and the spouses on their wedding day began to put wedding rings on the ring finger. The tradition has survived to this day. There is no consensus around the world about the hand, but the finger, regardless of country, faith and history, remains the same always and everywhere.

On which hand are the wedding ring and engagement ring worn?

There are three customs about how to wear a wedding ring and an engagement ring after a wedding. To a large extent, it will depend on the woman’s preferences, the willingness to display both rings, the size of the jewelry or the stylistic fit.

After the wedding, the wedding ring and the engagement ring are worn:

  • together – on the same hand and on the same finger. Many women wear a wedding band and ring as a set on their right hand, emphasizing the dependence of one ring on the other. If you decide to choose this option, it is worth remembering to match the women’s wedding rings to the engagement ring – in terms of shape and style.
  • separately – on the same hand, but on a different finger. This option is for those women who want both rings to be close, but still, each has its own place. In this situation, the engagement ring translates to the middle finger and the wedding ring goes to the ring finger. However, you should remember about the different sizes of the fingers, so after the wedding, you will have to adjust the engagement ring to the jeweler (if it is possible).
  • separately – on both hands. If you do not want the wedding ring and the engagement ring to compete with each other, it is worth putting them on your ring fingers, but on separate hands. Then everyone will be able to shine in all its glory and there will be no need to change the size of the engagement jewelry.
Engagement rings
Engagement rings

Note: according to the rules of savoir-vivre, the engagement ring should be transferred from the right hand to the left hand after the wedding.

After getting married, some women replace the engagement ring with a wedding ring and the first one ends up at the bottom of the box. Shame! Such important jewelry should decorate women’s hands much more often than just on wedding anniversaries. Of course, we do not have to apply it every day, but it is worth remembering not only from the great bell. The husband will be glad that his efforts (and expense) were not in vain.

Tip: If you have to take off your engagement ring, display it in a special way, e.g. in a special box. Such jewelry deserves special treatment!

wedding rings and engagement rings
wedding rings and engagement rings

On which hand is a wedding ring worn after divorce?

Let us start with whether there is such a will at all. Most divorced people stop wearing wedding rings. Many married couples decide to take off their wedding jewelry already at the stage of the breakdown of the relationship, even before the divorce. No wonder: if specific rings are a symbol of a particular marriage, and it falls apart, the symbol loses its validity.

If the divorcees decide to wear wedding rings, they transfer them from right to left hand. Most, however, take off the marriage ring and hide it in a casket as a souvenir, dispose of it (sell it or melt it) or give it to the child who was the fruit of this union.

On which hand does the widow or widower wear the wedding ring?

The ring on the left hand – what does it mean? In Poland, it is usually the death of a spouse. If a woman or a man still wants to wear a wedding ring as a symbol of their unchanging feelings for her late husband or wife of the deceased, and thus to signal a change of marital status, should translate into a ring from right to left hand.