5 Rules of Engagement Ring Etiquette

It’s no secret that getting married is steeped in tradition, and the engagement process is no exception. Over the years, there has been societal etiquette when it comes to engagement rings – from who’s responsible for paying, to how much one should spend on it. But which traditions should you stick to, and which ones are simply outdated in 2022?

#1. Can I help my partner pick my ring? 

Absolutely. Many couples choose to go ring shopping together, while keeping the proposal itself a surprise. This gives you the opportunity to voice your preferences and look for ring designs that comfortably fit your price bracket. If you, like 69% of women, prefer that the ring is a complete surprise, then it’s a good idea to show your mom or best friend some of the diamond shapes and ring settings you like best, along with details of your ring size, and then ask them to guide your partner.

#2. Who pays for the engagement ring?

With heterosexual couples, the groom typically purchases the ring as a gift for his future wife. Even though we’re living in a time where many things have become much more equitable and it’s not entirely uncommon for some couples to split the cost, the groom is still expected to cover the full cost of the ring, unless the bride-to-be suggests an alternative option. 

#3. How much should you spend on an engagement ring?

It’s a common belief that your partner should fork out three months of their salary, but this is a misconception. In fact, it stems from a marketing campaign during The Great Depression to promote more diamond sales while the industry was struggling. In today’s time, the only rule is that you should spend what you can realistically afford. If it’s not your dream ring right now, you can always plan to upgrade the ring at a future anniversary.


#4. What if I don’t like my engagement ring?

This can be a rather difficult dilemma. On the one hand, you don’t want to hurt your fiance’s feelings because he has most likely spent a lot of time and effort in choosing the ring, but on the other hand, you’re the one who will wear it every day until “death do you part”. 

Our best advice is to sleep on it. You might find that after a few days, the ring starts to grow on you. If it doesn’t, then it’s ok to gently and graciously let your future spouse know so as to avoid hidden resentments. It may be possible to restyle the ring using the same diamond but change the metal or ring setting. Whether you decide to speak up or bite your tongue, remind yourself that you are marrying the love of your life, and this should overshadow any ring concerns.

#5. Wearing the engagement ring 

You get to choose how to wear your engagement ring and wedding band, and on which finger, but it’s a good idea to know the traditional placement before, during, and after the wedding.

Engagement ring placement

Traditionally, an engagement ring is worn on the ring finger on the left hand, and this is the best way to indicate your engagement. In some cultures, including some Eastern European, Middle Eastern, and Southeast Asian countries, it’s more traditional to wear a wedding ring on the right hand. LGBTQ+ couples also sometimes choose to wear their rings on their right hands. It’s all a personal choice.

During the ceremony

Some brides choose to leave the engagement ring on their left hand, while others wear it on their right hand during the ceremony. Some couples have the engagement ring and wedding band soldered together before the big day, and in this case, the groom can place both rings (which is now one unified ring), on her finger.

After the wedding

Conventionally, the wedding band is worn closest to the heart, with the engagement ring on top of it. However, some brides like to wear their wedding band on top of their engagement ring, as it “protects” and secures the diamond engagement ring. It all comes down to personal preference. 

The bottom line 

Much of the engagement ring etiquette stems from old traditions, which you can choose to either follow or start your own tradition. At the end of the day, getting engaged is less about the formality and more about creating a memorable experience that reflects your partnership and your unique love story.