Why I Wear Only a Wedding Band

Woman and Man's hands wearing just wedding bands without engagement ring.

I Only Wear a Wedding Band… Here’s Why

Are you getting engaged soon?! Congratulations!

Everyone loves a good engagement story. People will flock over to see your engagement ring as soon as they hear that you’re getting hitched!

Or maybe you’re here because you’re already married and thinking of stashing your engagement ring away and only wearing your wedding band.

Well, you’re in the right place.

I don’t wear an engagement ring.

It’s a subject that has weighed on me before my husband and I even got engaged.

History of the Engagement Ring

It all started in 1477 when some rich white guy in history proposed with a diamond engagement ring. (In case you’re interested, that would have been Archduke Maximilian of Austria.)

That was only the beginning. Throughout Western culture, rings have been used to symbolize a betrothal between people, and various different stones were popular at different times.

Following the Great Depression, the price and value of diamonds tanked. So the De Beer company started a massive advertising campaign in 1947, and that’s when the real pressure began.

You’ve heard it before:

“A Diamond is Forever.”

Picture of an engagement ring without a wedding band.

Yep. (Personally, I think it’s BS!)

Because of marketing, people all across America believed that they needed to spend about two month’s rent on a ring. According to Glamour magazine online, do what works for you and your partner. At least that is a little more realistic!

Approximately 75% of men and 83% of women think it’s appropriate to spend $5000 or less on an engagement ring. Considering that median household income is around $55,000 in the US, that’s almost 10% of total income in a year, much higher than 2 months rent

Wow!

Difference Between an Engagement Ring and a Wedding Ring

Before I got married the first time, I didn’t even realize that an engagement ring and wedding band were even different things! (No, an engagement ring and a wedding ring are NOT the same thing!)

I’ve heard it said that engagement rings are like fast, flashy cars: a man wants to show off his wealth, status, and woman by claiming her with a big, fancy diamond ring.

Sure, sometimes that’s true, but other times, a man’s love language is gift giving and he legitimately wants to give something nice to his partner!

But, while only a woman traditionally wears a diamond engagement ring, both the husband and wife wear a wedding band.

Typically, on the wedding day, a woman will switch her engagement ring to her right hand so that, during the ceremony, when wedding bands are exchanged, she can have her husband put on the wedding band first. Then later, she’ll switch her engagement ring back to her left hand.

The wedding band is worn on the inside: closest to her heart.

It’s said that the circle symbolizes the eternal nature of love: that you will always come back to your spouse, and that your union is forever!

Is it socially acceptable for women to just wear a wedding band?

That’s the question, isn’t it?

Gauging from the history I talked about earlier, through most of history, women didn’t wear diamond rings! But things have changed, and you probably have people expecting you to don a huge rock as soon as your man gets down on one knee.

I’m here to tell you that it is becoming more socially acceptable to NOT wear a diamond engagement ring!

Engagement rings are sparkly and pretty and nice to look at, but for many women, there are so many more things to take into account.

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My Experience with Wearing Only a Wedding Band

The first time I got married, we probably spent about 2 months rent, though nowhere near $5,000. I’ve always been a little eccentric, so I wanted a sapphire instead of a diamond, but it was set with baguette diamonds on the side and white gold. It really was a beautiful ring. 

But see, I’m someone who works with my hands.

I cook and clean, I garden.

I play piano.

I rock climb.

I paint.

I was constantly taking my ring off for a variety of things, and it was lucky that I never lost it.

Worst yet, whenever I had to take my engagement ring off, I had to take my wedding ring off because it was shaped to fit around the engagement ring and looked awful on its own.

It just wasn’t practical. We had done it that way because I felt like I needed to keep up with the Joneses. It was what was expected of us. It was a show. It was all about proving that we could do what everyone else did.

What the engagement ring wasn’t about? Love, caring, marriage, true commitment. If it was, to me, at least, we would have never done it that way. (And honestly, if it was, we probably wouldn’t have gotten divorced… just saying!)

A Second Chance

So when we got divorced, I knew that if I found the person I was meant to be with, I didn’t want another ring like the one that I had had. I wanted a wedding ring that could be on my finger at all times—I would never take it off. It would be practical, and it would be a symbol of our love.

When Phil and I got engaged, it was an experience! We picked out an oyster in a jewelry shop in Maui Hawaii in the summer of 2015. We tapped three times and shout Aloha! They cracked the oyster and showed us the two pink pearls! We had one set in a ring, and the other in a necklace, both with rose gold. They were beautiful! (And quite frankly, inexpensive!)

He formally proposed after we arrived home from our trip. It was simple and perfect!

I wore that ring while I was engaged, but I was upfront with him that I didn’t intend to wear it regularly once we were married.

I do wear my engagement ring for special occasions.

I just wear my perfect wedding band from Ash Hilton on an everyday basis. (My husband’s band matches.)

They’re a family business making ethical jewelry. My husband’s and my rings each have two pine trees on them, one that is taller than the other, just like us.

An Even More Controversial Practice

After two years of marriage, my husband’s matching ring actually cracked! It split down the seam—you see, Ash Hilton’s rings are made the old-fashioned way… by flattening out a strip of metal, curving it, and welding it together. More mass produced rings are poured into a mold, thus preventing them from cracking like that.

Well, it took us almost 6 months to get his ring shipped off to New Zealand for repair. (Hey, give us a break. I was pregnant with boy #2 and he was busy with work, besides having a toddler at home.)

So what did he wear on his finger those 6 months?

Nothing.

Did it make us any less married or committed to each other?

Of course not!

Your Options for Practicality: Engagement Ring vs. Wedding Ring

Ethical Diamond Ring from Ash Hilton

If you’re thinking of wearing only a wedding band when you’re married and not wearing an engagement ring, let’s chat. Here are some reasons you might want to ditch the engagement ring:

  • you are incredibly active and use your hands a lot
  • you’re going to have to take your ring off a lot
  • you’re incredibly conscious about where diamonds and other stones come from
  • you don’t care about convention and tradition and like to do things your own way
  • you lose things a lot
  • you have no idea where your high school class ring is
  • you might damage it
  • it might get in the way of your profession (i.e. a professional musician)
  • you’re concerned about it being stolen

Here are some other options for ring wearing:

  1. ask your fiance-to-be to get a different stone
  2. get an engagement ring, but only wear it for special occasions
  3. get a wedding band that can stand alone, so you can still wear it when you have to remove your engagement ring for different activities
  4. purchase an ethical diamond ring from a jeweler like Ash Hilton
  5. don’t get an engagement ring at all

Thinking about going rouge for your wedding bands too?

Here are some other potential options for your wedding bands!:

Wear a silicone band.

Silicone bands are becoming more popular, especially for people who have professions where they use their hands a lot.

Here are a few inexpensive silicone rings for women and men you may consider:

Tattoo Ring

You may even want to consider getting a tattoo ring.

These are also fairly popular, and I’ve seen them many times. (Although, living in Albuquerque New Mexico, a large percent of the population has tattoos, so it is more socially acceptable here.)

Don’t Wear a Wedding Band At All

Yep. I said it. You don’t even have to wear a wedding band if you don’t want to!

Some people don’t like wearing rings, and some people just feel that they don’t need something on the outside to show what they feel on the inside.

It’s all a matter of choice.

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Engagement Ring vs. Wedding Ring vs. None

I guess my point is this:

If you want to spend 2 months rent on a ring, then BE INFORMED! Make sure your SO is on board and has budgeted for it, then go for it! Consider getting an ethically sourced diamond and gold.

If you want to wear only a wedding band, that’s great!

Should you decide to not wear engagement rings or wedding bands at all because you use your hands or for another reason, then rock it!

I just don’t want some corporation or society telling me what works best with my life, and where my priorities and values should be.

Being informed and being yourself are healthy, balanced choices, and you’re allow to want to only wear a wedding band if you’re a woman.

What’s your experience? Do you wear an engagement ring?

Let me know below!

Why I Just Wear a Wedding Band (Ditch the Engagement Ring!)
why I only wear a wedding band

Wedding Band vs. Engagement Ring: Why I Wear Only a Wedding Band

11 thoughts on “Why I Wear Only a Wedding Band”

    1. We got engaged without a ring but family and friends put pressure on us that it wasn’t an official engagement without a ring despite us having our wedding date booked already. We caved to the pressures. I got sized at Walmart and We got me a white gold Solitaire with a Moissanite stone from MoissaniteCo. It cost about $875.

      For wedding bands I bought a thin white gold band from eBay to match my engagement ring, that cost about $100 and I got my husband a white tungsten carbide band with our wedding date engraved.

      After we got married I noticed my white gold rings got scratched a lot and were not as white anymore. Meanwhile husband’s white tungesten band was just as pristine as the day we got it.

      He got me a white tungesten band that matched his for our anniversary. I I got my white gold wedding rings rhodium plated so they look pristine again and now only wear them for special occasions.

      Our White tungesten Bands never scratch or get dull and they have a nice weight to them. it fits my lifestyle better as I am in the military.

  1. With my first marriage we bought the engagement ring off Craigslist for $250 I believe and the matching wedding band from the jeweler for $400.
    This time around we went to a pawn shop where we spent $135 on a ring.
    I refuse to spend more than a couple hundred dollars on something that will be banged around for years to come! Like you, I have busy, dirty hands and lots of kids to spit, throw up, and poop on me. I don’t need an expensive ring mixed into all that!!

  2. I love to wear both my engagement and wedding ring. Before we got engaged, I told my now husband that I didn’t want him to buy a super expensive one. I think it was only about $500, but I think it is just as beautiful as the super expensive ones. I totally get what you are saying about having to constantly take off one or both rings when working with your hands.

  3. I love your take on this. I will say though that I’m a jewelry girl. My dad did it lol he used to spoil my mother and I with jewelry every birthday, Christmas, and Valentines Day. So I love my set. Not just to flaunt though (if you know me, you know I do NOT keep up with the Joneses and I’m never on trend), but because of what it represents for me. Plus I never saw my mother take off her ring so it’s weird if I have to remove my ring for any reason. Anyway, I love the whatever worlds for you lesson in this.

  4. I LOVE my engagement ring! It’s my fave bit of jewelry and I prefered it to my wedding band! My hubby did spend two months salary (though he didn’t have to), and had it designed and made from scratch to suit me. It doesn’t have a diamond as the main stone because we are both anti-diamond trade and we didn’t want to keep up with Joneses and have what every other couple had! My stone is blue! I LOVED being engaged and my engagement ring represents such a special time in my life, in our journey!!! I know loads of people that wear just a wedding band and some people that wear no rings at all once married! And in some cultures they wear them on the right hand instead of the left. I think you are right, we just have to do what we want to do for us AND also it’s more important to focus on the love, care, kindness and commitment that the rings represent rather than the price! If I lost my rings tomorrow, I’d be devastated but as long as I have my husband my heart will keep beating!!!

    1. That’s an amazing story! I think this is the right way to do it, be mindful and intentional, and focus on the meaning behind it!

  5. I just wanted to say this article is what I needed today. After a discussion with my mom regarding not wanting an engagement ring or possible doing an engagement ring but then opting for a silicone band to wear daily I needed this article to remind me that its my choice. I dont wear rings which is why I dont want one. I dont want a piece of jewelry to symbolize that part of my life.

  6. The funny thing is in Turkey, we don’t get two different rings. We put the engagement ring on the right hand’s ring finger and when married, we simply change the same ring to the left hand’s ring finger.

    1. That’s really interesting! I’ve heard that they do something similar in Germany. I do like the simplicity of that tradition!

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