Engagement Ring Etiquette For A Second Marriage

When choosing your rings for a second marriage, you may have some questions on etiquette. From engagement to the ceremony, we’re sharing a bit more insight about the etiquette in this department below including:

  • Engagement Ring Etiquette for a Second Marriage
  • Exceptions to the Rule

The Question: Should a second-time bride wear one ring or is it still okay to wear a combination; engagement ring and wedding band?

Scenario 1

“I’m forty-six and so’s my fiance. We are both divorced, each with two college-aged or older kids. We’re now shopping for an engagement ring and wedding bands for both of us. He and I are both professional craft artists, so we’re having fun looking for unusual settings, stone combinations, etc. My soon-to-be mother-in-law mentioned that second time brides don’t wear two rings, just one. Is this true? We have a great relationship and I don’t want to start off on the wrong foot with her.”

Our Answer

You’re starting out fresh and new so, no, there is no reason you should not have an engagement ring for a second marriage.

We’ve never heard of this so I doubt it’s some sort of older tradition. Ask your fiance to speak to his mother. Letting her know how he feels and why he will adorn you with an engagement ring for your wedding, without you present, will probably be less confrontational and more acceptable coming just from her son.

Other Expert Answers

“When I got remarried we went with an idea my mother suggested, which was that my new husband give me the engagement ring that my father gave to her… It had such great meaning behind it. I was honored that I have this ring. This idea also works if you’re trying to do a lot more planning and integration of your families during this time. I remember we were trying to get both sets of families under one roof, which required a bigger house. Then we needed to pay for the ceremony and wedding. My husband was pushing the need to acquire more debt to buy me a ring. In the end the solution my mother proposed was so special and amazing that I had to share. Good luck.” – Reader Answers

“Second marriages and engagements bring great joy and overwhelming emotions. Like a first engagement, a ring should represent the couple and their future together.

Many couples marrying for a second time opt for understated engagement rings or use the engagement ring as both an engagement and wedding ring. There are no set rules, however, and the couple should feel free to choose a ring that represents their love and their individual tastes..” – Brilliance

Scenario 2

“Just recently my boyfriend questioned whether an engagement ring is necessary and/or appropriate since this will be our second marriage and we currently live together. My personal thoughts are that I would love to have an engagement ring from him and at least a six month engagement for planning before we get married. However, since he’s questioned the etiquette on what is proper for a second marriage, I began to think I should get a second opinion on this.

Given our situation, is it appropriate for my boyfriend to present me with an engagement ring? Shouldn’t an engagement ring be something that we personally agree upon together? From the few posts I’ve read with somewhat similar situations, I had the idea that it was our own personal choice. Please advise, I want everything revolving around my second and final marriage to be just right!”

Our Answer

Since the two of you have never been married to each other before, you can treat this as if it was a first marriage. If your boyfriend wants to buy you a ring, he can do so as a surprise or the two of you can select it together. There really are very few rules when it comes to second weddings, enjoy yourself!

Other Expert Answers

“I completely agree. And, I am more in favor of couples choosing rings together since I believe that finances should be an issue you share as much as anything else. Besides, you know what you like and what you would want to wear” – Rebecca Black, Etiquette Consultant

“Second wedding engagement rings do not have to be an awkward occasion. Second marriages are often the result of the couple living together so each partner knows the other quite well, such as their likes and dislikes. Because a second wedding is normally between more mature couples they more likely able to discuss the type of rings that they prefer. The bride will often discuss what type of ring she likes, even matching rings. It is important that the couple does not choose ones that are similar to the first marriage. As well, since the couples are more mature, they understand the need to be sensitive and understanding about buying an engagement ring that they can afford. If a woman wants to be surprised, even if it is her second marriage, talk to friends and family about the type of ring she would prefer.” – Ezine

Scenario 3

“My girlfriend and I have been together for 3 years, living together for 1 year. We have both been married before. She is divorced, I am still waiting for mine to come through. I would love to get married, but it seems slightly silly to me to get down on one knee and bust out a big ring when we are both on our second marriage, both live together and are both expecting a child together. Anyone got any advice or views here? Is it usual to get engaged the second time round? If money were no object then engagement, a big ring, a big wedding ,a big honeymoon and an eternity band for the baby wouldn’t be a problem. In the real world though I just don’t have the money. How do I handle this?”

Our Answer

Firstly, you should be sure the divorce is final, with paperwork in hand, before you get engaged. That would be the proper thing to do.

Then we would suggest the two of you seek some family/couples counseling. Finances are one of the biggest causes of argument in a relationship. You definitely need some assistance making sure you’re both on the same page about your finances.

Now, to answer your question regarding giving a ring for an engagement for a second marriage. yes, it is done and appropriate. Just be sure to select a ring that fits your budget.

Other Expert Answers

“You seem like a very sensitive man who has a big heart in wanting to take care of your girlfriend and her children. This is an admirable quality we hope your girlfriend sees and appreciates in you.

We agree that you should seek quality counseling together before you re-marry. There are definite issues you both need to address, especially the emotional baggage from your previous marriages. Finances are a major source of complaint in most marriages and she needs to understand that money does not equate love.

Would your girlfriend be open to having a cubic zirconium ring at this time, which could later be replaced with a diamond when you can afford it? There are many beautiful designs available and most are visually comparable to real diamonds.” – Kay and Dennis Flowers. Authors of Catholic Annulment, Spiritual Healing

“I agree with all this wonderful advice–well done. And, I would chime in here about the “push”. Mostly here in the states, it is a commercial gimmick, another way for merchants to market their items and relatively new. Perhaps you can help your fiance understand “needs” as opposed to “wants”.” – Rebecca Black, Etiquette Consultant

Other Helpful Resources


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