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Wedding Ring Tradition - The Wedding Ring Hand & Wedding Ring Finger

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The wedding ring is a symbol of love, partnership and unity that sends out a strong signal to everyone you meet, and its presence can even change the way that people interact with you, but why do you wear it on a certain hand and on a particular finger? This article takes a closer look at that particular wedding ring tradition and explains all...



The Wedding Ring Hand

Let's begin by taking a look at which hand to wear your wedding ring on.


Essentially, and fairly obviously, you have two options and much will depend on the marriage ceremony you will undertake and whereabouts in the world you live.


For the majority of couples, the wedding ring hand is traditionally the left one, although this isn't always the case. In certain regions and countries in Eastern and Southern Europe, the wedding ring hand will be the right one, whilst some same-sex couples will also opt for this, although you should be aware that there are no pre-defined rules.



The Wedding Ring Finger

For most, the wedding ring finger will be the third finger on the left hand, although to make matters confusing, some mistakenly refer to this as the fourth finger.


To clarify things fully, lets take a closer look at your left hand. Palm down, assuming you have all of your digits, and from right to left, the order is as follows:


Weddingsday Thumb - Sometimes mistakenly labelled the first finger.

Weddingsday Index Finger - The first finger (sometimes mistakenly labelled the second finger).

Weddingsday Middle finger - The second finger (sometimes mistakenly labelled the third finger).

Weddingsday Ring finger - The third finger (sometimes mistakenly labelled the fourth finger).

Weddingsday Little finger - The pinky, or fourth finger (sometimes mistakenly labelled the fifth finger).


Whilst for all UK hetrosexual couples the third finger on the left hand will be 'the ring finger', same-sex couples need not follow this tradition. Some gay and lesbian couples will choose to use the ring finger on the right hand for their wedding ring, others will opt for one of the thumbs. In essence, there is no right and wrong, and it is entirely a matter of preference for civil partners.



Wedding Ring Finger Tradition

So why will most couples wear a wedding ring on the third finger of their left hand? Essentially, there are three schools of thought:


Weddingsday Firstly, legend has it that there is a vein connected directly to the heart (the vena amoris) that flows there directly from the third finger (a story refuted by sad and lonely science boffins), hence its selection as the finger of choice.


Weddingsday The second theory comes from medieval England where a Groom would slide the ring onto the Bride’s thumb, index finger then middle finger reciting ‘in the name of the father, son and Holy Ghost’ before finally placing it upon the next available finger.


Weddingsday Finally, on a more practical note, is the theory that as most people are right handed, then the third finger on the left hand is typically the most protected and least used of all our ten digits. Thus, the 'ring finger' is the safe option.



Related: There are hundreds of wedding articles on the site, each filled with superb ideas, advice and inspiration. Check out the links in the left hand column to read more. Alternatively, to search for a local wedding venue, product or service provider, try our Wedding Directory. With over 13,000 companies already listed, you're sure to find what you're looking for.

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