That big day is getting closer and closer, but the only problem is that you still need the wedding rings.
Picking an engagement ring is one thing, but whose job is it to select the right wedding bands?
In today’s culture, it’s typical for the proposer to pick out the wedding bands, or for each person to pick the other’s band. It is also common for couples to pick out rings together. However, traditions do vary by culture. Sometimes wedding bands might be passed through family lines.
Still not sure how to go about making this decision? Here is some helpful info on various wedding ring traditions and how they differ!
Who Chooses Wedding Bands?
Both men and women choose wedding bands nowadays.
In many cases, the woman chooses for her future husband and the man chooses for his future wife.
Oftentimes, couples will choose wedding bands together.
This is helpful if couples want to coordinate styles, or just make sure that the other person likes their ring!
It is not uncommon for a man to utilize help from friends, sisters, mothers, or other female guides (usually ones that might be related to his fiancée.)
When Do Men Purchase Their Wedding Bands?
Men will typically purchase a woman’s wedding band at least six weeks before the wedding takes place, though shopping a couple of months before the big event is advisable.
Some men might purchase their own wedding bands, but it is also customary for the woman to pick out her future husband’s wedding band.
As mentioned before, it is increasingly common for couples to select wedding bands together.
The Origins of Wedding Bands
In Egyptian, Roman, and Greek cultures, it was definitely most common for the man to choose/offer wedding rings first.
The rings were symbols of love, devotion, and eternity.
The representation of eternity of course came from the round shape which never ends.
The Egyptians also worshipped the sun and the moon, and naturally, wedding rings share the same round shape and were treated with the utmost sacredness.
In fact, we can thank the Egyptians (and the Romans) for giving us the designated “ring finger.”
They believed in the vena amoris, or “vein of love,” which supposedly ran from the fourth finger directly to the heart.
It is for this reason that many wedding bands are worn on the fourth finger today.
Egyptian wedding bands tended to be made of ivory, bone, hemp, leather, and several other variations.
Eventually, however, they evolved into a metal which was since known as ring money.
Lovers, both male and female, would exchange these rings as symbols of their love and devotion to each other.
Back then, when a woman was given a ring, the law stated that she would then have a claim on her husband’s property and possessions.
Rome and Greece
Ancient Roman culture is widely credited for linking these bands to actual marriage.
They, like the ancient Egyptians, believed that there was a vena amoris/vein of love in the fourth finger.
Ancient Rome is where metal rings began to grow ever more popular.
Iron was a common metal used to craft wedding rings, though silver and gold bands also became increasingly popular.
However, the gold and silver variety was only ever given to lovers by the very wealthy.
Many Roman wedding bands had motifs of keys engraved on them, a symbol both of the wife unlocked her husband’s heart and also gaining access to his property and possessions.
Rome’s lavish lifestyle enabled gold rings to become very popular and even fairly elaborate.
Not only did they often feature keys, but many Romans would often carve portraits of themselves in their wedding bands before giving them to a lover.
In both Greek and Roman cultures, signet rings were fairly popular as well, though they were more common in Greece.
Greek signet rings would often feature Eros, the God of love, or occasionally his cherubs.
Romans believed the left hand to be sinister or unreliable, and for that reason, they usually wore their wedding bands on the right hand.
Wedding Hand: Left or Right?
As mentioned above, Egypt and Rome set the standard of the fourth finger being traditionally used as the ring finger.
However, there are variances on which hand the ring is worn on, and in some cultures, even different fingers are used.
It is usually customary for Jewish women to be given a metal wedding band, usually made of silver, gold, or platinum.
The ring was a designator of the bride’s “purchasing price,” or object of value.
They would usually determine the value of the ring by its weight.
For that reason, there are usually never stones in the ring as they would interfere with the ring’s actual weight.
It is also customary in Jewish culture for the man to put the wedding band on his fiancée’s index finger of the right hand rather than using the otherwise designated “ring finger.”
This was done primarily because the index finger is more prominent than the ring finger.
Nowadays, it is increasingly more common for Jewish brides to move their wedding band to their ring finger after the wedding ceremony.
The left hand is the designated hand for wedding rings, mostly in Western countries such as North and South America, and several European nations including Italy, Slovenia, the UK, and France.
In the US, it is fairly common for women and occasionally men to wear an engagement ring and wedding band both stacked on the left ring finger, though this is not always the case.
It is usually a matter of preference.
As mentioned before, Romans, Greeks, and those in the Jewish culture would often wear their wedding rings on the right hand because the left was considered unlucky and unreliable.
A similar practice is customary in India as well.
The wedding ring was commonly worn on the right hand because the left was considered to be impure.
Nowadays, it is more common in India to wear the ring on either hand.
It is customary to wear a wedding band on the right hand in countries like Greece, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Russia, Norway, Bulgaria, and Poland.
In some countries, it is even customary to utilize both hands for engagement and/or wedding rings.
In Brazil, couples will wear their rings on the right hand before the wedding ceremony.
Once they have said their vows, the couples will then switch the rings to their left hands.
People in Germany and the Netherlands actually use both hands daily.
It is customary for couples to wear their engagement rings on the left hand and then to wear the wedding band on the right.
This is done mostly to signify a change in social and marital status.
Couples today will often purchase a tri-piece set; an engagement and wedding band for the woman and a wedding band for the man.
Buying them together can often save you time and money and is a generally simpler method for purchasing wedding bands.
As to who picks them out, that is really just up to you and your spouse!