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Which Finger Does a Wedding Ring Go On and Why?

Which finger does a wedding go on… and why? Well, it’s called your ring finger for a reason but what makes it the ideal finger for wearing a wedding ring? Why was this specific finger designated for that momentous responsibility?

At different times in history and among different cultures, there was no one specific finger for wearing the wedding ring. However, the fourth finger on the left hand seems to be the universal choice, which explains why you never even gave it a second thought.

This article shares more information on that preference and explains why it became the universal ring finger.

The Significance of a Wedding Ring

When you say, “I do,” or whatever other words signify your commitment to enter into a marriage union, there’s always a physical symbol. In most religions and civil arrangements, the ring is the ultimate symbol.

Wedding rings embody eternal love and commitment within a marriage union. It lets the world know that you are taken, in a union for life, and profoundly and willingly in love with your partner.

The idea of wedding bands or rings started in ancient Egypt about 4800 years ago. There hasn’t been a more significant symbol of love and marital commitment since.

When your fiance places the ring on your finger, they claim you before the world and announce their love and commitment. That small circular piece of metal carries significant weight, letting everyone know that you are someone’s lifelong partner and should be accorded your due respect.

The wedding ring’s circular shape symbolises unending love. It bears an element of permanence, a continuing cycle of your unending passion and commitment to each other. Couples exchange rings during the wedding ceremony, thus promising each other love without end and through whatever life throws at them from that moment. Hence, for better or for worse.

As you plan your wedding and get off the high of your engagement, the wedding ring motivates you and makes you look forward to starting a new chapter with an equally committed and eager partner.

The History and Meaning of the Ring Finger

Naturally, your fiance will slide the wedding ring on your ring finger. You have to ask, how did this ritual come to be?

In ancient Greece, they believed that the fourth finger of the left hand had a vein that connected to the heart. The origin of this belief is vague, but the most accurate accounts attribute it to the Romans.

Therefore, wearing your wedding ring on this finger connects your love directly to your heart, thus fortifying the relationship. They also believed that wearing a ring on that finger was a way to cure ailments. Some even thought bloodletting from this finger was the fastest way to fix those ailments.

While our fingers do not have specific names, the ring finger seems to have had its designation stuck permanently. Research revealed no scientific truth to the ancient claims, but the practice had been around for centuries, and no one wished to do away with it. Additionally, its romantic inclinations added to its charm, and its symbolism is set to continue.

Which Finger Does a Wedding Ring Go On?

As mentioned, the wedding ring goes on the fourth finger, popularly known as the ring finger. However, this is not cast in stone, as other cultures used to wear wedding rings and other symbols of marriage unions on different fingers.

For example, the wedding ring goes on the right fourth finger in countries like Germany, India, Norway, and Spain. Earlier, some cultures wore their rings on their thumbs.

All fingers could virtually hold the wedding ring. The prevalent empires of the time imposed the preference for the left fourth finger. Once the culture caught on, people didn’t see a need to reverse it. It helps that there is a romantic side to this preference, which is appropriate for the occasion. The practice evolved to include the engagement ring, at which point, accepting a suitor’s proposal, the bride-to-be would wear the ring on the ring finger. This symbolised what was to come and served as a placeholder for the more permanent ring.

Wearing a Ring on Other Fingers

Why are we discussing the middle finger? Shouldn’t we be talking about wedding rings and the ring finger? Yes, but you may notice that most girls are shying away from the damsel in distress image commonly associated with romantic relationships.

Generally, most prefer the ring finger, but it is worth looking into other fingers and what wearing them symbolises. 

  • Thumb Ring: The thumb is associated with approval, character, and decision-making. Wearing a ring on this finger shows your confidence and marks you as a decisive person. For a woman, you’ll need a well-designed ring that is bold and full of colour to match the finger’s presence.
  • Index Finger Ring: The index finger is associated with power and leadership, owing to its position and most cultures’ traditions. The traditional Jewish communities allow women to wear their wedding rings on this finger. A simple and elegant band on this finger perfectly captures its personality.
  • Middle Finger Ring: The middle finger is the longest and most prominent of them all. Therefore, the rings on this finger are renowned for their design or as a side effect of their placement. However, these might suit more platonic relationships than romantic ones, although some prefer them for promise rings. The middle finger symbolises power, and wearing a ring highlights this point. Therefore, it is not uncommon to see some brides opting to wear their wedding rings on their middle fingers.
  • Little Finger Ring: The pinkie is associated with intelligence, cunning, and planning. Therefore, rings on this finger have little to do with romantic aspirations and more with business relationships and such affiliations.

Comparing what each finger symbolises and the message conveyed by a ring on each shows that the ring finger carries the most romantic connotations. You are free to wear your wedding ring however you please, but placing it on your ring finger feels more appropriate.

Is the Ring Finger Strictly for Wedding Rings?

You may wish to wear a beautiful ring, but you’re sceptical, especially after hearing tales of bad luck others faced before. The good news is that those are merely baseless superstitions. Probably your only concern should be during your dating life when a ring on that finger could discourage potential suitors. Since this is not your concern as you’re taken, you don’t have to worry about using the ring finger before the big day.

You can wear whatever ring you please on your ring finger until you’re ready for an engagement and wedding ring. Once you’re ready to tie the knot, you’ll exchange your other ring for the wedding ring.

Wedding Rings and Cultural Trends

In most regions where they used to believe that a vein connects this finger to the heart, the wedding and engagement rings go on the left hand. The vein is said to lie on the left hand, thus the preference. However, cultures, religions, politics, and other aspects of humanity are complex, and the preference for either hand ranges from the practical to the trivial.

For example, people prefer the left hand for these rings in the US, UK, Mexico, Canada, France, Italy, Australia, and South Africa. Other regions such as Norway, Denmark, Austria, Poland, Hungary, India, Belgium, and Cuba prefer the right hand. It gets more complicated because many cultures consider the left hand unclean. Mainly because of the preferred bathroom rituals in countries where Islam is the most popular religion. Thus, wearing a ring on the left finger is impractical and unhygienic.

It is the same case with orthodox Christians, but for different reasons. They believe the left hand has negative trends and consider it evil. Therefore, wearing a wedding ring on it is a bad omen. Ancient Jewish traditions prefer to place the wedding ring on the right-hand index finger. Many believe that this finger is closest to the heart.

For left-handed people, consider wearing your wedding ring on your right-hand ring finger. Since your left hand is dominant, you’re likely to damage the ring from exposure to harsh environments.

Wedding Rings and Their Symbolism

Beyond the Material Aspect

Besides the romantic associations, wedding rings also symbolise your relationship and aspirations for material things. For example, golden wedding bands indicate status and wealth. Combined with diamond-encrusted engagement rings, they give off the air of affluence. Many believe that such stones attract wealth and prosperity to the marriage.

Additionally, such an expensive ring shows how much your groom values you. In contrast, and by no means not inferior, a bamboo ring or getting one tattooed means you are beyond material things and champion the cause for environmental preservation.


Declaring your unending love and affection isn’t complete without taking a vow of fidelity. In this chaotic world filled with casual sex and cheating, it means a lot when a couple promises to remain faithful to each other. The wedding ring is a symbol of that sacred promise. It gives hope in the power of love and the sanctity of the marriage union.

A New Beginning

After the emotional high of a wedding ceremony, you will start your new life as a couple. Your wedding rings are most likely the latest change in your life. The rings will mark that new chapter. Its physical and emotional weight will serve as a reminder that a new and exciting chapter awaits.

The Ultimate Commitment

Do you remember how you felt when you first introduced your boyfriend or girlfriend to your friends and family? It felt different than when you first introduced your best friend or casual mate, didn’t it?

A wedding ring magnifies that sense of commitment since the union is probably the most significant commitment you’ll ever honour. A wedding ring centres that energy and portrays the gravity of your vows. It says, “This is my person. I am theirs, and they are mine.”, without needing to utter a single word.

How to Care for Your Wedding Ring

Clean Your Wedding Ring

Take time to inspect your ring when taking a bath or washing your hands. Warm soapy water should remove dirt or debris between the ring and your skin. Most people overlook that section, which leads to dirt buildup, especially if the ring has some engravings.

Schedule Annual Checkups

Take your ring to the jewellers at least once every year for inspections and repairs. You should have your ring resized if your body weight changes. The change in your finger may be negligible overall, but it significantly affects how snug or loose-fitting the ring will be. Additionally, the jeweller can check for any loose stones and cracks.

Store Your Ring Properly

Please don’t leave your ring on your dresser or other random surfaces. A ring is small enough for you to misplace it easily. Have a designated section in your bedroom and a suitable container for storing the ring if you regularly have to remove it. A ring box with a soft inner compartment is ideal.

Insure Your Rings

You should consider insuring your rings, especially if they are costly. Immediately after the wedding, find the right insurer and get them covered while they are still at their most valuable. Accidents and thefts can happen, so it’s best to be adequately prepared.


A wedding ring is not just a piece of metal. It is a significant piece of jewellery that will remind you of an important day in your life. It symbolises a marriage union and all the love, affection, trust, and commitment you promise your lover.

We shared information about the culture and traditions surrounding the choice of a ring finger for the wedding ring.

People are more open-minded nowadays, and many do not want to conform to the norms. Hence, you can wear your wedding ring on whichever finger you see fit. However, for those who want to stick to the more traditional approach, you can wear it on your left ring finger.