“If you like it then you should have put a ring on it.” As our queen, Beyonce, pointed out, putting a ring on it signifies a life-long commitment. But why do we specifically wear wedding rings on our ring fingers? How did it even become known as the “ring finger?” Read on to learn all about the tradition of wearing wedding rings on the fourth finger of the left hand, and discover other ways to show your commitment as well!
First, let’s chat culture.
Wearing a wedding ring on the fourth finger of the left hand – better known as the “ring finger” – is very much a norm in the western hemisphere and parts of Europe. In much of eastern Europe and parts of western Europe, including Germany, Denmark, Austria, and Spain, the ring is worn on the right ring finger. In many Middle Eastern and Asian cultures, wedding rings are either not worn at all, worn only during an engagement period, or worn on the index finger or thumb. Each culture and religion have unique traditions when it comes to wedding rings that often go back hundreds of years.
Why are wedding rings worn on the ring finger?
The finger on your left hand between the pinky and the middle finger is traditionally “the ring finger” – even when there’s no ring on it! So, why do we put so much importance on this particular finger?
Before modern medicine, people believed that there was a special vein in the ring finger that ran directly to the heart. They named this vein vena amoris, or “vein of love” in Latin. Turns out, all fingers have veins that lead to the heart, but the tradition of wearing a ring on the finger that was thought to have a direct connection continues.
Wearing a wedding ring has been a way to publicly show your commitment to your significant other and to let others know that you are unavailable.
Can I wear my wedding ring on my right hand or a different finger?
Duh! Of course you can! There are a number of reasons why someone might wear a ring on their right hand beyond just cultural or religious reasons. Maybe you are left-handed and want to keep that hand as functional as possible, or maybe you’re like famous one-armed surfer Bethany Hamilton and you simply don’t have the option of wearing a ring on your left hand.
You can also wear your ring on any finger. There is no legal significance to a wedding ring. It’s just a symbol, so wear it where you feel it best symbolizes your marriage. You might even wear it on a chain around your neck or get a tattoo wedding ring instead if your job or lifestyle makes wearing a ring dangerous.
In short, do what feels right for you, even that means skipping a ring altogether!
Whichever way you choose to wear a wedding ring, make sure you know where to go when planning your wedding. Bustld has all of the best wedding vendors – we vet each one to make sure they have a great track record! Take our wedding vendor matching quiz today!
Photo credit: Jennifer Nicole Photography