Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Monday, August 27, 2012

Why the Third Finger, Left-hand?

Filed under: Ring Bearer,Wedding Rings — Larry James @ 7:50 am
Tags: , , ,

Tradition!! A wedding ring signifies an eternal love, eternal commitment and (hopefully) eternal happiness. Wedding rings today are a billion dollar sentiment of love, but no one can really say for sure when this age old tradition actually started. Some believe that the oldest recorded exchange of wedding rings comes from ancient Egypt, about 4800 years ago.

ring-fingerIn ancient times, it was believed there was a vein in the third finger of the left hand that ran directly to the heart. Thus, the ring being placed on that finger, denoted the strong connection of a heartfelt love and commitment to one another. Although during times of modern autopsy, this long held belief was found not to be so, however the tradition continued to this day.

Medieval bridegrooms place the ring on three of the bride’s fingers, in turn, to symbolize, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. The ring then remained on the third finger and has become the customary ring finger for English-speaking cultures. In some European countries, the ring is worn on the left hand before marriage, and is moved to the right hand during the ceremony.

However, in most European countries the ring is still worn on the brides left hand. A Greek Orthodox bride wears her ring on her left had before marriage, and moves it to her right hand after the ceremony.

engagement-ring-and-wedding-bandIf a bride has an engagement ring, sometimes during the ceremony it will be removed and the wedding ring is placed on the ring finger first and then the engagement ring. Tradition says that the wedding ring should the closest ring to the heart. In my ceremonies, usually the bride leaves the engagement ring on during the ceremony, the groom places the wedding ring on and then after the ceremony – preparation for the wedding photos – the wedding ring is placed on first and then the engagement ring.

Why? That way the ring bearer (often a small child) doesn’t have the responsibility of caring 3 rings; the groom’s ring, the wedding ring and the engagement ring. I recommend that if a small child is the ring bearer, he or she carries a pillow with fake rings and the best man carry the the groom’s ring and the bride’s ring. The Maid of Honor usually doesn’t carry any rings in my ceremonies because she will be carrying her own bouquet, the bride’s bouquet and she has no pockets.

In the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Brazil, Iran, Chile, Italy, France, Sweden, Slovenia and other Commonwealth nations an engagement ring is generally worn on the left hand. In other countries such as Germany, Greece, Russia, Spain, India, Colombia, Venezuela, and Poland it is most often worn on the right hand.

Across the globe it is generally recognized that an individual (or couple) can choose to wear wedding and engagement rings on whichever hand they please. Right or left hand – neither is correct or incorrect, it is a matter of personal preference. Wearing your engagement and wedding bands separately is culturally and socially acceptable to most people. Different cultures observe different rituals.

BONUS Article: 11 Wedding Ring Shopping Rules

Copyright © 2012 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s “romantic” Wedding Website. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or Cell: 480-205-3694. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 470 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

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