Tradition and Etiquette Of Passing Down Wedding Rings

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Would you consider a wedding ring a family heirloom, something you’re going to pass down as an important tradition, and more importantly, a ring that will stay in the family for generations to come?

If so, what are the traditions around passing down wedding rings?Are there dos and don’ts that relate to passing down a family wedding ring? Let’s find out in this post!


Why pass down the wedding rings?

Passing down wedding rings is one of the best things you could do for your family because of the deep history and love that is carried by the ring.

And there is no doubt that the vintage wedding and engagement rings are special, with the richness in history and the unique appearance of the rings making the vintage rings unique and largely one-of-a-kind pieces that will be loved and treasured by the rest of your family.

tradition of passing down wedding rings

So, which are some of the main reasons you should pass down your wedding ring?

Well, different couples will have their reasons for wanting to pass down their wedding rings or maybe just one of the rings, making great family heirlooms.

For most families, couples, and individuals who opt to pass down their wedding rings, their reasons often boil down to an inherent or culturally developed need to have someone to carry on the family tradition.

For most people and families, passing down rings down generations creates and enhances the feeling of family. The newly created family is part of the heritage and traditions of that family.

Therefore, it is seen as enhancing and honoring the family whole, forming connections with ancestors, and creating a link or bond to the older generations.

But these are not the only reasons you may want to pass down a wedding ring to your family. There are many other reasons, but the most common one is that passing down a wedding ring as a family heirloom offers a huge financial relief to the new couple.

Even if they choose to get the ring restyled, this will not cost as much as it would with a new ring. And so, for many families, the value of the ring is the main reason the rings are passed down generations. The rings are primarily precious, and passing them down to the family offers the best possible way to keep them a valuable family piece.


The tradition of passing down wedding rings?

tradition of passing down wedding rings

What is the tradition for passing down your wedding rings or heirloom rings? Are there rules that you must adhere to? We’ll answer these two and more questions here.

But first, it’s worth noting that there are different types of heirloom rings, and you also need to know that any ring can be an heirloom ring, not just a wedding ring.

Also, while rings are often passed down from parents to children directly, this is not the only way through which an heirloom ring is passed.

An heirloom wedding ring could, for instance, be passed down from a grandparent, cousin, or aunt, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be from your immediate family. The ring could also be from any side of the family.

And in addition to the wedding rings, the other rings that qualify to be classified as heirloom rings include promise rings, birthstone rings, and Claddagh rings.

tradition of passing down wedding rings

Passing down heirloom wedding rings – Etiquette

Here are some of the questions and important tips that you need to remember when choosing to pass down a wedding ring as a family heirloom.

  • What and how does your fiancé feel about the heirloom wedding ring

It might be evident that you must wear your mom’s, grandmother’s, or aunt’s ring as your wedding ring, but how does your person feel about it? This might be one of the most important things that you will have to navigate or discuss as a couple.

You don’t have to be on the same page on everything, but a wedding ring is one of the things you need to be on the same page about before things get too serious.

This might be a challenge only if you plan to throw a surprise proposal or engagement party– even so, just make sure that they understand the ring’s significance after the proposal).

All these considerations are crucial because passing down and wearing a passed down wedding ring would be one of the things that both of you must want, especially if, as a gentleman, you want to use a ring from your side of the family.

tradition of passing down wedding rings

  • Always talk to family.

Is the person currently in ownership of the ring on board with your plans? What about the rest of the family?

Are all family members on board, or is there another party that may have expressed interest in the ring?

Though you may all find yourselves in different situations, there are many cases where you must consult grandparents, aunts, or even uncles. And in such cases, you must consult all other relevant family members.


  • Discuss where the ring will come from

As we pointed out above, it is essential to discuss who gets a certain heirloom wedding ring. This is not always an easy subject for families to navigate, but you can work around it. If you’re not sure about which wedding heirloom ring to use, here are some of the critical considerations that you need to keep in mind:

Choose the ring based on the family history – if you need to choose between the ring passed down from a distant aunt and cousin or one that has been passed down, say, 5 generations, the latter should be a more obvious choice.

Think of the deceased family member – if the late family member were very important to you and wearing their ring would mean a great deal to you, then that is the ring you choose.

Style – it is also essential to think about the bride’s style. Even with the memories and history it carries, there is no feeling worse than wearing a wedding ring whose style you dislike.

The ring should be something the bride loves and wants – besides matching styles, it is also essential to consider what the bride wants. Pass on the ring if she wouldn’t like it or if the ring carries no sentimental value.

tradition of passing down wedding rings

  • Ring Modifications and Expectations

In many instances, the bride or couple will propose some design alterations to the ring when it looks dated. But before you do this, is your family open to the proposed changes to the heirloom ring?

After all, it is meant to stay in the family and be passed down the generations to come, so this information is essential. The family must agree to the style upgrades or resets you propose; otherwise, you will ruffle feathers with your family.

Some of the reset options available for heirloom wedding rings include re-cutting, using a new band, using the old stone in a new setting, or just updating the overall look of the old ring.


  • The real story about the ring

Stories are altered all the time. Find out what the actual ‘love’ story is about the ring. This allows you to pass down its real history, creating a closer connection to the ring.


  • Clean it, Resize, then Appraise and Insure

You should get the ring cleaned professionally and if it needs resizing, let that be done before it is appraised and insured. These are essential steps in protecting the family history and legacy. You may also have problems with the ring fixed early on.

tradition of passing down wedding rings

Related Q&A

Who gets wedding rings after death?

 If a will is written, the person named on it gets the wedding ring after death. Close family members have to decide who gets the ring(s) in its absence.

How are engagement rings passed down?

These are generally passed down from aunts, cousins, or even a member of your stepfamily – generally, anyone you consider family can pass down their engagement ring.

What can you do with your mom’s wedding ring?

  • Wear it as a pendant on your chain
  • Have a jeweler recast it into earrings or any other kind of jewelry
  • Keep the ring as a family heirloom
  • Wear the ring



The tradition of passing down wedding and engagement rings is here to stay because it is one of the best ways to honor the departed and keep close the fond memories of our beloved.

So, you can easily pass down wedding rings for many generations, as long as you agree on who gets the ring.

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