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Wedding Bands

A wedding ring or wedding band is a metal ring indicating the wearer is married. Depending on the local culture, it is worn on the base of the right or the left ring finger. The custom of wearing such a ring has spread widely beyond its origin in Europe. Originally worn by wives only, wedding rings became customary for both husbands and wives during the 20th century.

In several traditions, the best man or maid of honour may have the duty of keeping track of a couple's wedding rings and to produce them at the symbolic moment of the giving and receiving of the rings during the traditional marriage ceremony. In more elaborate weddings, a ring bearer (that is, part of the family of the bride or groom) may assist.

The double-ring ceremony, or use of wedding rings for both partners, is a relatively recent innovation. The American jewelery industry started a marketing campaign aimed at encouraging this practice in the late 19th century. In the 1920s, ad campaigns tried introducing a male engagement ring, but it failed due to the necessity that its advertising campaigns make secret appeals to women.  Marketing lessons of the 1920s, changing economic times, and the impact of World War II led to a more successful marketing campaign for male and female wedding bands, and by the late 1940s, double-ring ceremonies made up for 80% of all weddings, as opposed to 15% before the Great Depression.

After marriage, the ring is worn on the hand it had been placed on during the ceremony. By wearing rings on the fourth finger, a married couple symbolically declares their eternal love for each other. This has now become a matter of tradition and etiquette.