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Engagement ring etiquette – How do you wear your rings?

As with many things at a wedding there are some things that people just don’t think about until they have to make a decision on the matter, in this case it’s engagement ring etiquette. When are you supposed to take it off, how are you supposed to wear it and do you switch hands it’s worn on once you’re married? There are a few different traditions people follow regarding how you place your engagement rings and wedding bands on your hands before the wedding, the day of the wedding and after the wedding. As a wedding photographer I’m often asked what is supposed to happen, so I thought I’d write a blog about it!

Engagement ring etiquette

During your wedding ceremony

On the day of your wedding, engagement ring etiquette dictates you should be wearing it on the third finger on your right hand (your right hand ring finger) – which is probably the opposite to what you’ve been wearing it on 😛 During the ceremony your husband to be should place your wedding ring on the ring finger of your left hand. At the end of your wedding ceremony you should have a ring on both hands – your engagement ring and your new wedding ring.

The history of the left hand’s ring finger being used dates back to ancient Egypt where people believed it contained a vein that linked directly to the heart – thereby linking your heart to the wedding band.

After your wedding ceremony

Once you’re married, you are supposed to move your engagement band back to the left land. In doing so your wedding band should be placed closer to your heart, or the closest to the base of your finger. This is where your husband placed your wedding ring on our wedding day. Dependant on the hand you wear your engagement ring on you’re supposed to tell if someone is merely engaged or already married if they choose not to wear their wedding band, and only their engagement ring for whatever reason.

You could also ignore tradition

As with many traditions, due to it becoming more obscure due to not many people knowing about it, people often not worry about them anymore. Much in the same way the traditional wedding dress colour was actually blue up until a few hundred years ago. But it’s always nice to know these traditions exist and revive them if you’re that was inclined 🙂

Some ideas of what some ladies do with their engagement rings include continuing to wear their engagement rings on their right hand or not even wearing it at all. Some people go for far as to combine the two rings together permanently by welding or adding molten gold. The most important thing is just so that you’re comfortable wearing whatever you want to wear 🙂

Wedding ring photography

The beginning of my day covering a wedding as a wedding photographer usually sees me at the location where the groom and his grooms men are being prepared and getting dressed in order to get the wedding ceremony earlier than the bride. As a result I’m usually asking for the wedding ring to do a bit of wedding ring photography. Doing the wedding ring photography and other affects such as the shoes, or any jewellery like cuff links, and wearables like ties and suit jackets I like to treat as a bit of a warm up for the day for both myself and for the boys, who may not be overly comfortable with a photographer constantly taking photos of them during the day.

Wedding ring photography

The goal is really to show any details of the ring or rings while having some sort of a background that speaks to the type of person the groom is. It’s traditional at a wedding for the groom and his best man to look after the rings so I feel having something like his tie, or cuff links, even the flowers he’s wearing on the day as a background really helps portray this personal aspect of the wedding rings.

It is however coming more and more popular for the bride and her entourage to look after the rings, I’m thinking trust is the defining factor here? 🙂 When this is the case, the rings are often placed nearby flowers, or clothing such as the wedding dress. This is again to show a bit of personality behind the photograph. It’s also quite common to find them tied onto the page boy’s cushion, ready to be presented during the wedding ceremony.

This being said however, wedding rings are usually very personal items to begin with, so there is a certain charm to wedding ring photography where the background is as plain as possible. I usually try to find a nice clean hardwood surface to produce these types of photos, as the grain fades away in the natural bokeh of my lens in a very satisfying way.

Wedding ring photography, I feel is one of the important photographs I must capture on a wedding day as they signify the never ending union of the wedded couple, and as I’m there to capture all the emotion and joy on this most special of days, I figure the wedding rings should also play a major role in those memories! 🙂