Do Men Wear Engagement Rings?

Some couples are choosing equal displays of love and commitment over rigid traditions and roles. So: do men wear engagement rings? We’ve got the details.

By Jane Chertoff and Georgie Darling

Do Men Wear Engagement Rings
Photo by Unsplash

Do Men Wear Engagement Rings?

We’ve all seen the classic engagement ring shot on Instagram or Facebook. But why does the woman always seem to wear the ring? Maybe you’ve been admiring those gorgeous photos and asking yourself: do men wear engagement rings, too?

The truth? Women do still wear engagement rings more often than men, but that tradition — long rooted in history — is changing rapidly. As younger generations ask why, explore, and reinvent their gender roles, the answer is that more men are wearing engagement rings today than ever.

Below, you’ll learn the truth (and modern answer) about men and engagement rings.

History of Engagement Rings

Engagement rings first showed up in Rome in the 1200s, after Pope Innocent III passed a decree creating a waiting period for Christians who wanted to get married.

Diamonds didn’t show up until much later, in the 1930s. They were tied to engagement rings by a marketing campaign by diamond company DeBeers.

So — why did men buy diamond engagement rings for women, and not the other way around?

Possibly because men were the dominant sex at the time, with the most earning power. It made sense for DeBeers to target men’s wallets with their marketing, but not women’s purses.

By 1990, 80% of brides in the U.S. received engagement rings. Today, an analysis of research from around the web shows that as many as 50% of men would be open to wearing an engagement ring, and 7% already do.

That means as traditional gender roles change, you’re more likely to see an engagement ring on a man’s hand. In fact, in Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Sweden, and other countries around the world, men already wear engagement rings. Some celebrities like Ed Sheehan have chosen to wear engagement rings as a mark of their commitment.

“I never saw why men didn’t wear engagement rings,” Sheeran told The Sun. “Cherry made it for me herself out of silver clay. I really like it.”

Does an Engagement Ring Replace a Wedding Band?

An engagement ring doesn’t replace a wedding band. They’re two different types of rings. Lovers give engagement rings when they propose, and wedding bands when they get married. Some people wear both rings together on the same finger, while others wear them separately or only wear one of them.

An engagement ring is typically larger, with a more prominent stone or design, while a wedding band tends to be simpler and more subtle.

Engagement rings for men range from classic to edgy, simple to elaborate, and plain to decorated. Keep it timeless with a gold or silver band, or mix it up with modern metals, gemstones, unique designs, or a classic diamond. Do men wear engagement rings? Yes, when they’ve got a stylish one!

Who Buys the Groom’s Ring?

Traditionally, the bride buys the groom’s ring as a gift for him, while the groom pays for the bride’s ring. The bride and her family paid for the rest of the wedding (no pressure). Today, most couples decide to split the cost of the rings and celebrations. They may even go shopping for wedding rings together.

Why Wouldn’t a Man Wear an Engagement Ring?

Today, most men who wouldn’t wear an engagement ring are making a conscious or unconscious choice to follow tradition. As long as both partners agree on the choice, there’s nothing wrong with wearing — or not wearing — a ring. For most couples, it comes down to preference and what makes them most comfortable.

Engagement Rings for Same Sex Couples

There’s no wrong answer when it comes to choosing and buying engagement rings as a same-sex couple. You could each choose a ring that represents your partner’s personality and taste. Or, you could keep things traditional, with the proposer buying a ring for the proposee.

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In what cultures do men wear engagement rings?

In Sweden, Chile, and Argentina, men and women exchange rings when they get engaged. In other places, like Brazil, men wear a simple band on their right hand during the engagement, then switch it to their left hand after the wedding. In India, men wear an engagement ring on their right hand.

What hand does a wedding ring go on for a man?

In most Western countries, including the United States, men wear their wedding rings on the left ring finger. This is based on the ancient belief that there is a vein that connects this finger to the heart. In some Eastern Orthodox and Jewish traditions, men wear wedding rings on the right hand.

Do guys wear engagement rings when engaged?

Today, more men are choosing to wear engagement rings, just like women do. The trend is being popularized by celebrities like Ed Sheehan and Michael Buble, who both decided to wear engagement rings just like their fiancée.

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