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Engagement Ring vs. Wedding Ring: What's the Difference?

21 mins read time
Engagement Ring vs. Wedding Ring: What's the Difference?


If you’re getting engaged soon, you’re in for a whirlwind of emotions. You may feel bliss with your fiancée when she says, “yes.” Whether you're the person proposing or the person receiving the ring, you may want some insight into this process. You may also feel overwhelmed while shopping for rings if you’re not familiar with the process. 

While deciding on a carat size and understanding conflict-free diamonds, the world of engagement jewelry can become daunting at times.

Weddings are filled with ceremonial traditions from engagement to the altar. If you're approaching engagement, you and your partner could be questioning which traditions are right for you. When it comes to wedding bands, it's easy to get confused about which customs are worth continuing for your wedding. Should you and your partner adopt tradition or pave your own way? 

All the Questions You Might Have About Wedding Rings

You've been waiting for this moment. After years of dating and enjoying your partner, it finally clicked; you want to marry them. You're dreaming up ways to ask your person, thinking of locations and all the exciting details. There's just one thing that's still puzzling for you. Do you propose with a wedding ring or an engagement ring?

The terminology can be confusing. You may have heard people use these two terms interchangeably. Traditionally, these two rings serve specific purposes and will have varying price points.

If you haven't been around weddings much in the past, planning one could be a complete whirlwind. Maybe you're utterly lost when it comes to exchanging rings. On the other hand, perhaps you know what kind of wedding rings you'd like to exchange, but you're not sure if they fall in line with traditional wedding rings. 

Let's go over a few of the questions you may have about the rings you'll exchange on your wedding day. Then, we'll find answers that work for you. 

Do We Have To Have Rings To Get Engaged?

Believe it or not, you can get engaged without a ring. The reason for this is that an engagement ring is essentially a symbol of something much more substantial. No official rules limit you to only planning a proposal with an engagement ring and getting down on one knee. 

A groom-to-be is free to propose with another symbolic, meaningful token, or you can switch the roles up and have the bride propose if that fits your relationship. Your engagement should be uniquely yours.

Do I Have To Wear an Engagement Ring and Wedding Band?

Traditionally, an engagement ring is the one you'd receive at your proposal. This glowing ring signifies to the world that you're in love and off the market. Then, at your wedding, you'd receive a wedding ring (or band) that would accompany your engagement ring to create a cohesive wedding ring set. The groom traditionally receives a plain wedding band, but you're free to customize its design to fit your tastes. 

If you thought you would be required to wear both an engagement ring and a wedding band, there's good news. You're more than welcome to choose to wear just one ring instead of two. Doing so may help you save money on your wedding budget and feel more appropriate for you in your relationship.

Do Men's Wedding Rings Have To Be Plain?

Women's engagement rings and wedding bands are often luxurious and display pavé diamonds all around. Men might historically stick to a plain gold or platinum band, considering luxurious designs to be feminine. However, there's no hard and fast rule stating what kind of ring a man should wear.

If you're a man and wish to wear a more expressive wedding band with gemstones or a large center stone, you can customize your wedding band to reflect who you are. After all, this ring will be on your left-hand ring finger for eternity. Whether you choose a plain metal band or a flashy design is up to your personal preference. Have it etched with designs or inlaid with diamonds—the choice is yours. 

The Difference Between Bands

Ultimately, the differences between engagement rings and wedding bands are traditional, not mandatory. 

Traditionally, an engagement ring is what the bride receives at the proposal. At the wedding ceremony, each person also exchanges meaningful wedding bands as a symbol of commitment after the vows. In this scenario, the bride has two rings after the marriage ceremony—also called bridal sets—while the groom has just one. Typically, an engagement ring will cost more than a wedding ring, so it's wise to plan accordingly.  

While tradition says that wedding bands are typically more subdued than their engagement rings, you're free to break the mold. You can wear a two-in-one wedding band, or choose a plain gold band. Be as bold or as straightforward as you'd like. 

What To Consider Before Buying

Planning your wedding is exciting. Being well-prepared is one way to make your search for rings as easy as possible. Everyone does engagements differently. Some fiancés-to-be select the ring on their own to surprise their prospective fiancees. 

Other couples decide to plan the engagement ring and wedding rings together as a bonding experience. Whatever your style, being prepared with your preferences and several principles can help you pull off an engagement without stress.

As you explore your options for wedding bands and engagement ring styles for you and your spouse, keep a few things in mind. These will keep you on the right track in your search. Let's look at four guiding principles that will help you find the rings of your dreams.  

1. Know Your Budget

Money can be a tricky topic in relationships. It might be best to broach the subject intentionally so that you and your partner can understand your expectations and reality. Though it doesn’t quite feel romantic, asking your partner’s input on the budget is a discerning way to plan for the future together. If you plan on one day sharing a bank account, this tip is even more applicable. 

Many wedding traditions have changed over time, but has the engagement ring budget stayed the same? For a long time, the standard advice for engagement preparation was to save three-to-six months of income. This income amount was the suggested dollar amount for a diamond ring suitable for a proposal. Is this still the expectation? Not necessarily.

When it comes to engagement rings, you may want to save a few months' salary in expectation. Even so, there's no need to spend fifteen thousand dollars on an engagement ring if you can't afford it. We offer premium, handcrafted engagement rings at affordable prices for you. 

Wedding bands are generally less expensive than engagement rings. If you budget $10,000 for your wedding jewelry, you'll likely spend a fraction of that on bands. Ultimately, it's up to your taste and price point. If you're keeping costs low, we offer bands to suit your budget. If you'd prefer 2 carats of sparkling diamonds in your ring, you're free to have them, too.

You don't have to compromise high quality for an engagement ring that fits your budget. At Noémie, we make it possible for you to select the best fine diamond jewelry for less than you'll find anywhere else. You deserve premium pieces at attractive prices.

2. Know the Meaning Behind Your Rings

Where did engagement rings originate? Surprisingly, these symbols of devotion date to the ancient Egyptians, who believed the fourth finger's vein connected directly to the heart. The Romans then adopted this practice, dubbing the forth finger's vein the vena amoris or "vein of love." 

Thousands of years later, Archduke Maximilian of Austria became the first person to propose with a diamond ring, and by Shakespearean times, matching wedding rings had become commonplace.

What was once a transactional piece of jewelry to signify a legal loyalty transformed into something beautiful. Today, we know it as a promise of future love and commitment. 

Wedding bands date back even further. Ancient Egyptian culture was the first place rings were exchanged as a sign of love. These bands signified eternal love, symbolized by an unending circle. Today, we still exchange them as promises of eternal affection. 

3. Know What Materials You Prefer

Do you like gold jewelry? Perhaps your partner has been interested in Platinum for their wedding band. Talking about what metal you both prefer is one way to ensure you stay within your price range when you shop for rings. You can choose to match metals or honor your individuality by choosing your own. 

As you shop, also consider the jeweler who will be crafting your wedding jewelry. For high-quality wedding jewelry you can afford, choose Noémie fine jewelry. We offer risk-free shopping, meaning you can return your pieces for any reason within thirty days. We are also happy to be one of the first fine jewelers to offer handcrafted pieces without unreasonable markups. 

4. Know Your Style

Have you ever seen a surprise engagement? An engagement is an event with lifetime results. Discuss ring styles with your partner as you start to ponder engagement, so neither of you is shocked when the moment finally occurs. 

While you may think that, logically, a larger-carat diamond communicates a more profound affection, that’s not always true. You can purchase a breath-taking handcrafted diamond engagement ring that stuns in a small size. In reality, your partner’s preference should come into play with this factor. If their personality and desires point toward understated elegance, there’s no pressure to buy a ring with a large diamond. 

Our advice is not to get caught up in finding a “perfect” diamond. Instead, go for F/G color grade diamonds with VS clarity in the carat weight and cut of your choosing. Prioritizing this will help you to stay within your budget while finding a gorgeous engagement ring.

Engagement Rings To Adore

Is proposing with an engagement ring the right choice for you? If so, you'll want to find wedding bands that suit your style most. 

The Four C’s: Let’s Review

Do you remember the four C’s? Clarity, color, cut, and carat weight are the famous guiding principles for purchasing any diamond jewelry. You could have the best quality for each of these characteristics while maintaining your budget in a perfect world. Keeping these principles in mind can help you hone in on high-quality jewelry that will last.

Within diamond grading, a diamond's clarity refers to how many inclusions exist in its makeup. A diamond with excellent clarity will have very few inclusions visible to experts, while a low-quality stone will include several visible imperfections.

A diamond's color refers to the way it interacts with light. A diamond with excellent color will refract a beautiful mixture of dark and light with virtually no detectable hue. A low-quality diamond may refract a yellow-ish shade.

A diamond's cut is one of the most significant factors in determining its quality. The quality of a diamond's cut can influence how it interacts with light and how many inclusions are visible. 

When purchasing a diamond engagement ring, the carat size will directly influence its cost. Essentially, a greater carat weight will be more expensive, while a diamond with a lower carat weight will be more affordable when all other factors remain the same. 

Your engagement band and wedding ring should retain their beauty for your entire life. Instead of settling for low-caliber metals or sub-par diamonds, go with a jeweler that chooses only the best. We want your jewelry to last. That's why we only use high-caliber 18-karat gold and diamonds that are F/G color grade and VS clarity. 

You can choose a classic white gold band or select a rose gold engagement ring if that compliments your style. Let's take a look at our favorite engagement rings that you and your fiancée can enjoy. 

The Criss-Cross Engagement Ring

You should choose the wedding jewelry that most expresses who you are. If you're a bold spirit in love with another vibrant soul, you can reflect that in your wedding jewelry. Our Criss-Cross Engagement Ring is a terrifically bold band that's sure to receive compliments. This engagement ring features a distinctive twisting design throughout three bands. 

These bands surround a brilliant focal stone with F/G color diamonds in VS clarity. This band can function as an engagement ring and wedding band combined in one if you like. If that's not your style, you're entirely welcome to pair the criss-cross ring with another band that complements it.

The Solitaire Ring

Do you prefer to keep things more straightforward in your relationship? If you're more of a minimalist, you may wish to wear an engagement ring that displays only one diamond. Who can blame you?

Our Solitaire Ring features a timeless design that pairs well with wedding bands. You can make this ring yours by customizing it in 18-karat white gold, yellow gold, or rose gold. It's an eternally classic choice.

Wedding Bands To Fall in Love With

Are you choosing to exchange wedding bands at your ceremony? Here are the wedding bands we can't get enough of. 

By now, you probably realize that fine diamond jewelry doesn't have to cost your entire savings; you can enjoy fair-priced premium diamonds and precious metals that leave you inspired.

At Noémie, we make this possible by cutting unnecessary costs from our production process. Other retailers markup their prices for sales commissions and excess assortment, but we wanted to create a better system for you.

We've made it our priority to cut out the middleman; as a result, we handle designing, sourcing, crafting, and producing each piece that ends up in your hands. By using quality materials, responsible production, and a thoughtful product assortment, we can offer you the finest quality wedding jewelry at the fairest price. 

Let's see if one of these band styles fits your relationship and tastes. 

The Eternity Baguette Diamond Band Ring

Baguette diamonds are a timeless luxury. These stones are expertly cut to display the finest craftsmanship. If you'd like to wear a wedding band to compliment your engagement ring, our channel-set Baguette Eternity Diamond Ring is a stunning choice. 

You can personalize this band by choosing rose gold, yellow gold, white gold, or platinum for the band's metal. Choose lab-grown diamonds to enjoy a lower price point and feel utterly confident that your diamonds are conflict-free. 

The Chevron Diamond Band

Many people prefer to choose a diamond wedding band with a shape that creatively accents their engagement ring when worn together. One example of this is our Chevron Diamond Ring

This band features a unique, slightly v-shaped angle in its shape, causing it to fit perfectly next to an engagement ring. In addition, this shape calls back to more geometric vintage jewelry styles, making it a classic piece that can withstand the test of time. 

Men's Wedding Bands

Perhaps you'd like more from men's wedding bands. You may be the type of person who'd like to have more beautiful designs etched into your band. You'll wear this band for years, so you should feel that it fits your vision and style. 

With that said, if you'd like a specific design that matches your vision, we're delighted to help. Fill out our custom ring form, and we'll do our best to partner with you in crafting your ideal wedding band. 

Customize Your Wedding Rings

Brides, you can customize your wedding bands, too. Your wedding is one of the most personal events of your life. Your rings should reflect that. 

With our custom ring designing experience, you can personalize nearly every detail of her engagement ring while keeping the selection process straightforward and inspiring. Choose an eternity band lined with oval-shaped diamonds in 18-karat rose gold, or select a half-eternity band with baguette-cut stones shining brightly across the platinum band. The choice is entirely yours. 

 If you have a vision for your wedding bands, use our Custom Diamond Ring Builder to personalize elements such as diamond shape, metal, pave band, carat weight, and band width. Using our custom design tool is another way to simplify your wedding planning by going straight to the design you feel suits you most. 

When you choose Noémie wedding jewelry, you can relish the fact that your rings will endure many more seasons with the love of your life. 

To Sum It Up

Thankfully, we're in a day and age when wedding traditions are more flexible than ever. The main idea here is that your journey is unique (and one to celebrate). You deserve high-quality jewelry that reflects your one-of-a-kind romance. 

Your engagement only happens once, but the engagement ring you choose may last decades into your future. You don't have to sacrifice your honeymoon plans for a ring you adore; you can keep them both.

At Noémie, we want to support your journey with engagement rings and wedding bands that highlight your story and endure for years.



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