The simple, and very short, answer is “It’s up to you”. Like most of the decisions on your big day, the etiquette should be solely determined by you. You should decide if you want to wear the engagement ring on your wedding day.
Not Wearing Engagement Ring at Wedding
If you choose not to wear it, make sure it is left somewhere safe. By “safe”, we mean at home, locked away. There are many stories of brides taking their engagement ring off before the ceremony, and giving it to someone for safe-keeping, or leaving it in the car, and the ring then being lost or stolen.
Don’t be one of those stories.
It only has to be off your hand for a few hours. Not wearing your ring at the wedding doesn’t devalue it in any way, emotionally or otherwise.
It may be that you are wearing gloves on the day. This means it makes sense for you not to wear your engagement ring. Snagging can be devastatingly damaging to a diamond engagement ring. For all the etiquette around a wedding, none of the points deal with the subject of the wearing of engagement rings, it’s something which will neither please nor offend anybody other than yourself.
Wearing the Engagement Ring at Wedding
If you do choose to wear it, you will have a couple of options of what to do with it.
Engagement Ring on Third Finger
Many brides wear the engagement ring on the third finger of their right hand, to allow the wedding band to be placed on the normal ring finger on its own. Tradition dictates that wedding bands should always be at the base of the finger, as this is closest to the heart, and an unencumbered path to the base is always preferable.
Engagement Ring on Ring Finger
On the other hand (pun fully intended), some brides choose to leave their engagement ring in place. During the ceremony they remove the ring just long enough for the wedding band to be placed on the ring finger. After the ceremony they place the engagement ring back on the same finger, next to the band. Although there is a risk that a swollen finger will make getting the engagement ring off quickly and easily, this is a nice way to go for anybody who does want to wear the engagement ring during the ceremony.
Stealing the Show
Just be aware that, whichever way you choose, people will want to see your wedding band all day long, and you do risk overshadowing it with a diamond engagement ring. Don’t let that put you off, it’s just something to be aware of.
Also consider having your engagement ring professionally cleaned before the ceremony. You can clean it yourself, but for such an occasion, we recommend letting an expert do it for you.
During the Pictures
Another consideration for whether you wear your engagement ring or not are the pictures afterwards. There will, of course, probably be an image taken of your hands with both wedding bands in place. These images often look much nicer just with the wedding bands. You can take your engagement ring off, but think about what you do with it in the meantime. We’re back to the point of not losing or damaging the ring, so take extra care.
As you see, there are no rules on the subject, there’s not even a broad etiquette, there’s no tradition and there’s no best answer one way or the other. If you want to wear your engagement ring, then wear it. Chances are you’ll be the only one wondering if it’s the right thing to do or not.