What is the difference between a wedding band and an engagement ring?

Going to the chapel and you’re… 

All being well, going to get married! 

Be sure not to forget the rings. 

But which rings mustn’t you forget? 

When it comes to getting married, the rings are hands down one of the most important parts of the event. 

They are a significant symbol of the bond between two people who want to spend the rest of their lives together. 

Between promise rings, engagement rings, and wedding bands, it can be hard to decipher where to start or which rings do what! 

If you’ve already proposed or you’re already engaged, you probably have a firm grasp on the role of an engagement ring and might be struggling to understand how to pick out a wedding band to follow. 

If you’re not at this stage yet, you may be completely confused as to the difference between a wedding band and an engagement ring altogether. 

You needn’t worry, though, as this is entirely normal, and thanks to your engagement and wedding experts here at Ben Garelick, we’re going to fill you in on all the details you need to know when choosing your perfect wedding rings and jewelry. 

Let’s save any further confusion and get straight to it!

The Difference Between an Engagement Ring & A Wedding Band

A wedding band or an engagement ring – what’s the real difference between the two? 

Traditionally, the engagement ring always comes before the wedding band and is given as part of the marriage proposal between two people. 


A wedding band is usually presented on the wedding day as part of the ceremony, along with the vows shared between the soon to be married couple.

Engagement Ring 

Engagement rings are usually worn on the left hand on the finger next to your pinky. This is believed to have been a tradition for as long as engagement rings have been a thing. 

However, it is typically understood that the Romans thought this finger had a special connection to the heart, mainly because they thought a vein ran from this finger directly to it. 

With the heart being the universal symbol of love, it makes clear sense why they thought of this sentimental wearing habit. 

The wearing of the ring on which finger varies depending on culture, but ultimately, it is up to you where you wear it. 

It’s your engagement ring, after all 

Another debate is whether men can wear engagement rings, too, as they are usually reserved for women.

But many men opt to wear an engagement ring as a symbol of their commitment to their future spouse.

And of course, weddings are not limited, and regardless of your gender or identity, if you want to wear an engagement ring, you totally can!

All that matters is finding one that suits your style, and that makes you smile every time you look at it.

Wedding Bands

This then brings us to wedding bands!

Many couples like to match one another or have complementary styles when it comes to choosing a wedding band, and as this is the ring that is presented on the wedding day, there’s no real need for it to be a surprise if you don’t want it to be.

Lots of jewelers, including Ben Garelick, offer matching wedding band sets so you can be sure to get the perfect combination that represents the two of you.

Wedding bands are often plainer in design than the traditional engagement ring that usually sports a magnificent diamond – but this doesn’t always have to be the case.

Many wedding bands today are just as intricate and interesting as an engagement ring, however, many people prefer not to distract from the stunning center diamond of the engagement ring. 

A beautiful wedding band should always compliment the engagement ring.

Wedding bands can come adorned with diamonds and in a variety of metals to suit your specific style.

And if you don’t fancy matching your partner's ring, that’s cool too!

At the end of the day, it’s all about signifying the bond between two people, and while couples often have a lot in common, they also have a lot of unique differences that make their bond special.

So, why not celebrate that uniqueness with a band as unique as each of you?

Choosing a wedding band for your engagement ring

How do you begin to decide what wedding band should go with your engagement ring?

How about making it an experience?

As a couple, the wedding bands are the rings you can decide on together; what a wonderful experience it would be to pop over to our store at Ben Garelick and let our wedding experts take you through all the beautiful wedding bands we have to offer.

And if you can’t make it to our store, browse through our impressive online collection and have a try-on experience in the comfort of your own home.

Select the rings you want to try, and one of our wedding experts will mail samples out for you to get a real-life feel for your future wedding band.

But here are some simple tips for choosing:

Envision the design you want

You may have been dreaming about your wedding day since you were very young and the thought of finally wearing a wedding band probably has you brimming with excitement.

Well, now is the time to envision precisely what that ring will look like if you haven’t already.

What width and style would you like? What color metal suits your personality best?

Would you like it to be a plain, simple yet classic band, or would you like to add a touch of glamor to your band with some diamonds to compliment it?

The choices are really endless, and we’re sure we can find a design that’ll match you perfectly!

Match the metal

A great way to compliment your engagement ring is to match the metal or get a near-matching metal.

Pairing together platinum or white gold rings will always make an excellent set.

But perhaps you’d like to pair a softer yellow gold with platinum. There are no rules for combining your jewelry; it comes down to what you think looks good.

Many to-be-wed couples envision how the rings will look in photos and how they will match the color palette of their wedding.

The best way to achieve this is by looking at the bands in person before deciding.

Try various combinations before choosing because you never know what might jump at you.

A combination you may have thought wouldn’t look great may look stunning when put together on your finger.

Match the style

If you prefer a classic style with delicate features or no features, you may opt for a simpler wedding band that compliments a classic or vintage design engagement ring.

If you’re all about bling, don’t stop at your engagement ring when it comes to splashing on the diamonds.

Wedding bands look fabulous with diamonds if that’s your style, so have as many as you like!

Whatever you choose, you’re sure to look stunning. It’s about finding something that looks beautiful but is also comfortable.

After all, you will be wearing these rings for the rest of your life, and you want them to look as gorgeous as the day you were given them or bought them.

It’s also not uncommon for couples to upgrade their wedding bands later in their marriage to signify a special occasion or to follow a vow renewal.

This means you may opt for a different style than your original wedding band, or you may get something that fits your newer personal style.

Match it with the Groom

Why not match your groom or partner's, wedding band?

This is a common practice and a great way to signify combining two lives and two souls.

The design doesn’t have to match, but many couples like to go for the same metal to complement one another.

And if you want to go all out, why not add a diamond to both rings – diamonds aren’t just a girl's best friend, you know!

Keep your timeline in mind

How long until you say I do?

When you land on your perfect wedding band, it will likely be made entirely bespoke for you, which can take several weeks.

You will also have to consider trying the rings on and ensuring they are exactly right.

If there are any further adjustments to be made, this may add to your timeline.

Be sure to leave plenty of time between picking your wedding band and the actual wedding.

We recommend that around six months before is the minimum time to leave before the big day and choose your perfect wedding band.

Even though we pride ourselves at Ben Garelick on getting your rings in your hands as soon as possible, if you give yourself plenty of time, you can relax knowing everything will be sorted with time to spare. 

If you need any changes, you know you’ll have plenty of time to do so. 

The Takeaways

A wedding band and engagement ring are both significant players in your marriage.

You want to be sure you’ve chosen two rings that will live together in perfect harmony the way you are your partner will.

There are no rules to choosing, only what you want and what makes you happy.

Whether you want everything matching or an utterly bespoke combination – the world is your oyster when selecting your wedding band to go with your engagement ring.

You can make a day of it at our Ben Garelick store, come with your partner, and be looked after like a King and Queen while you find your perfect match.

You can book an appointment with us here!

Or sit on your thrones at home and try on sample wedding bands before choosing one for life.

No matter how you go about it, we’re sure to help you find a wedding band that matches your engagement ring as brilliantly as you match your partner!

Visit us at our Buffalo, NY store today. Not nearby? Not to worry - chat with our wedding jewelry experts online 24/7, call us at (716) 631-1584, or text (716) 574-0966. Let’s make your wedding and all the days that follow shine!

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