We all dream about that big day when we get to walk down the aisle, make our vows to the one we love and then finally, make it official with a beautiful ring being put slipped on to our left ring finger. But have you ever thought, “why do we use a ring? Why not a necklace or a bracelet? What does a wedding ring symbolize” Well, there are many reasons. From the way our veins run through our bodies, commitment, pride, the Sun and Earth and even, the circle shape of the ring.
What does a wedding ring symbolize? It Matters More Than You Think
Placement of your wedding ring
The reason of why weddings rings are placed on the fourth finger of your left hand comes from ancient times. The Roman’s believed that the vein on that finger is connected to the heart. That is how that vein was named, “vena amoris” meaning “vein of love.” The Roman’s would place a ring on both of the couples fourth left-hand finger as a representation of the new married couples eternal love.
And now, hundreds of years later, the tradition is still followed. If you’re from the United States like myself, you will find the next thing very interesting. Personally, I’ve always thought wedding rings are worn on the left fourth finger all over the world. However, in some countries they will place the wedding rings on the right hand. Interesting, right? For example, in India, they consider the left hand as “unclean” so it is placed on the right hand. In many Northern and Eastern European countries such as Russia, Denmark, Norway, Bulgaria, and Poland, it is more often that you will see the wedding ring being placed on the fourth finger of the right hand as a custom.
Some places even do a combination of both the right and the left. In Brazil, the couple standing at the alter will both be wearing a plain engagement band on their right hands and then switch them to the left fourth finger after speaking theirs vows to each other. And lastly, we have the Jewish tradition. Usually, at a Jewish wedding, the groom will place the wedding right on to the bride pointer finger. The reason for doing this is because they believe the pointer finger is the most prominent.
After the ceremony, the bride will slip it onto her left fourth finger. Sometimes men will put their ring on a chain and wear it as a necklace. This is not due to traditional or religious reasoning. It is usually because of the line of work they are in. Most mechanics or oil field workers get their hands’ very dirty while at work and do not want their rings to be soiled. So they will still wear them in honor of the wives, but instead, they wear it as a necklace.
Most commonly known reason, commitment
Wedding rings symbolize many things and the one most widely know is commitment. When we notice someone is wearing a wedding ring, we know that means, at least in most cases, they are fully committed to someone they love and it shouldn’t take a wedding blog to tell you that. But that is only half of the truth. Now you may be wondering, “well how is that only half way true?” It is actually a symbol of commitment from that persons other half.
In most traditional vows you will hear something similar to, “I give you this ring as a sign of my commitment.” For example, when a man places the ring on the woman’s finger, that ring now symbolizes his commitment to her, not her commitment to him. So that ring that you wear is a symbol of your spouse’s true commitment to you, and the ring you place on your spouses finger is a symbol of your true commitment to them. Wearing the ring on a daily basis will also symbolize to your partner that you are faithful. It will show your partner that you are willing to let everyone around you know that you are married.
Wedding rings also symbolize pride. When we have our rings on, we feel prideful of them and our marriage. When someone asks another if they can see their ring, the other will feel proud to show it off. Especially women. A lot of women absolutely love to show off their big sparkly ring from their husband. For instance, the first thing most brides do after the ceremony is quickly run over to her bridesmaids and show off what a beautiful ring they just received in honor of their new husband.
While you may get a discount wedding dress, a wedding ring means you should not skimp on the cost. Some people like small elegant stones on their rings as well. No matter how exoticly large or elegantly small stones are on the ring, married couples feel prideful to wear them because it represents the love between them is bold enough to officially make it everlasting. Many people will also flash their ring at someone if they feel like they are in an uncomfortable situation.
For example, when a man starts trying to flirt with a woman at a restaurant or bar, the woman might show him her ring to let him know that she is taken and serious about it. Most of the time, when someone sees a ring on a person of interests finger, that’s enough for them to back off into the friend zone.
Why the circle shape?
The shape of wedding rings has a very beautiful meaning. It has always been a circle since the beginning. Since ancient times, which was around three thousand years ago, rings were circles. Of course, back then, they did not make the extraordinary rings that we have available these days. In ancient times, rings were often woven from hemp or seeds. As you could imagine, these did not last long enough at all. These fragile rings were often replaced with leather, ivory and bone.
The more expensive, the more it represented a strong eternal love between the married couple. But, no matter how many times they had to create new rings for each other, the shape was always a circle. Why? Even for simple wedding rings, this was the case. The translation of hieroglyphics by the Egyptians shows that the rings symbolized undeniable love and commitment because the circle shape does not have a beginning and it does not have an end.
Therefore, the outside of the ring symbolizes infinite never-ending love and the center opening is a path to the future. This translation still applies to us today.
The Sun and Earth
The wedding rings also act as an example of the relationship between the Sun and Earth. Without the earth’s heat and light, the earth would be just a giant ball of ice-coated rock. The Sun keeps the Earth flowing, warm and full of life. For example, all married couples need their true love for the marriage to survive just as the Earth needs the Sun in order to survive.
So what does a wedding ring symbolize to you?
So now that we have covered quite a few different reasons for the wedding ring symbolism, I would like you to remember something. Every couple is different. Every marriage is different. Every bond of true love is different. There may be a million and one reasons about what wedding rings symbolize but the most important reason is yours and your spouses.
Cynthia Pate is a passionate writer and wedding enthusiast, dedicated to helping couples create their dream celebrations. With years of experience in the wedding industry, Cynthia has developed a deep understanding of the latest trends, timeless traditions, and unique ideas that make every wedding special. Her articles cover a wide range of topics, from planning and decor to etiquette and fashion, always with the goal of providing practical advice and inspiring ideas. When she’s not writing about all things wedding-related, Cynthia enjoys exploring new destinations, trying out local cuisines, and spending time with her family and friends.