The giving and receiving of rings is an ancient symbolic practice, but the significance and meaning behind the practice varies among cultures, and changes over time. Throughout history rings have been used as personal talismans, in business transactions, to mark legal contracts and of course, to pledge love.
A common theme across all cultures is that of the eternal circle, with no beginning and no end. A ring has symbolised eternal love at least as far back as 3000BCE, to the Egyptians, and even earlier cultures are thought to have used ceremonial rings of reeds and grasses wrapped around ankles and wrists. To the Egyptians the central hole in the ring also represented a gateway to events both known and unknown, so to give a woman a ring thus signified never-ending and immortal love.
Dual ring ceremonies, where parties exchange wedding rings, are a fairly recent innovation in the UK, having become popular in the US during WW2, but the practice brings with it the delightful concept of a ‘ring warming ceremony’.
The ceremony is a way to involve all your guests in a very personal way in your wedding, whether or not it (or they) are religious. It gives your loved ones the opportunity to hold and imbue your wedding bands with a wish, a blessing or a prayer for your marriage. By the time your rings make it on to your fingers they will be infused with the love of friends and family.
As the rings are one of the most important parts of your marriage ceremony you don’t want anything to happen to them, so you will want to put someone very trustworthy in charge of your ring warming. They will explain to guests how it works and make sure that all runs smoothly. There is no set form for this, but here are some ideas.
You could tie the rings together, circulate them in a special dish, on a silk pillow or another special container, or run a ribbon down the rows of seats and have someone introduce the warming and start the rings on their journey through your sea of guests.
If you expect many guests, and there is time, perhaps they could ‘warm’ your rings on arrival, before they take their seats. Or you could involve just the closest in the wedding party before the ceremony, or even make it part of your pre-wedding preparations in the last weeks before the day itself.
If the gathering is fairly small, you could pass the rings around throughout the ceremony with a ‘ring chaperone’ keeping a careful eye to make sure the rings are in the right place when the moment to exchange them arrives.
This is YOUR opportunity to create a unique and meaningful experience for you, to actively involve all the people you love, AND capture it all forever on film. So do check out our expert advice on How to Choose a Videographer
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