What is a promise ring, you may ask? It is a special ring which comes before an engagement ring, and it promises that the giver and recipient are pledged to one another, even though they are not yet formally engaged. Read more about the ins and outs of this old custom, and learn whether a promise ring might be right for you.
An engagement is a very serious commitment, and at times may be too official a step for a young couple to make. Yet, at the same time, if a man and woman are in a very serious relationship which both intend will one day lead to marriage, just being boyfriend and girlfriend may not seem like enough. Enter the promise ring, also sometimes referred to as a pre-engagement ring. The purpose of this ring is to be less of a commitment than an official piece of wedding jewelry like the engagement ring, but a serious pledge and a promise that the relationship is headed down the path to engagement at some point in the future.
There are many situations in which a promise ring might be in order. It can be a wonderful way for a very young couple to show that they are serious about their relationship, without becoming officially engaged if they feel that they are too young to get married. They are popular among people who travel extensively for work, as in the case of military deployments or in the case of a long separation caused by one half of the couple moving away to attend college. The pain of an extended separation might be eased considerably by the love and commitment implied by the ring.
It is traditionally only the woman who wears a promise ring, although there is no reason why the man could not have one as well. As for the ring itself, it is generally more simple than an engagement ring. A decorative band would be very appropriate for a pre-engagement ring. If the man has a special class ring, he might have it sized down to fit his girlfriend, or have a more petite replica made for her to wear. It can really be any style of ring which appeals to both people, although it is common to make an effort to select a ring which does not look too much like an engagement ring.
The promise ring is generally worn on the ring finger of the left hand until such time as it is replaced by an official engagement ring. Although it is nice if the style of the ring is compatible with the rest of the wedding jewelry which follows, one would not typically wear the promise ring and engagement ring together on the same finger. For one thing, it would look too much like you were already married, and for another, it is fun to show off the engagement ring all on its own. Typically, the promise ring will be moved to the ring finger of the right hand once the woman has her engagement ring.
After the couple becomes married, it is up to the newlyweds how they would like to handle the promise ring. If it is a beautiful decorative ring, the woman should by all means continue to wear it on her right hand. If the promise ring was a plain band or one which does not happen to fit her right hand, then a choice might be made to put it away for safekeeping. One thing is for certain: the promise ring will be a beloved and sentimental favorite piece of jewelry.
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