4 Unique Wedding Ring Exchange Traditions

Allie Murphy

Brides usually follow a checklist of things they need to complete before the big day and if there’s anything as important as the wedding gown, it’s the wedding rings.

Many brides and grooms place special emphasis on the rings, and for good reason.  Wedding rings are a sign of love and lifelong commitment – they are the physical symbol of the vows exchanged.

But before you hand the precious bands over to the best man for safe keeping, you have to decide just how they’ll be presented.  Most people go for the standard exchange and simply slip the rings onto one another’s fingers while saying a few words about what the ring represents.

However, as more and more brides look for ways to make their ceremony unique, people are exploring other fun and meaningful ways to present rings to one another after they say, “I do.” 

  1. Ring Warming

Ring warming ceremonies are a perfect way to involve all your guests in your special day. The idea behind ring warming is to give your friends and family the opportunity to hold and imbue your wedding rings with good wishes, blessings or prayers for a happily married life. 

If you like the sound of this, make sure to discuss it with the officiant – after a couple of opening remarks, he or she will explain the ring warming to your guests and instruct them to hold the rings for a few seconds as they say a silent prayer or wish before passing them on. 

As long as you don’t have a huge amount of guests, the rings should make their way back up to you by the time you’re ready to exchange them.  To avoid any possible mishaps, it’s a good idea to secure them inside of a box or a small pillow with a ribbon.  If you have a larger guest list, a practical solution is to have guests warm the rings as they arrive and before they take their seat.

  1. Family Ring Blessing

For some, the idea of passing the rings around or having every single guest touch them is just a bit too much.  But you can do a scaled down version by just having your parents and the groom’s parents bless the rings. 

They can do this silently as the guests look on or you could you could use this as a unique opportunity to have each parent publicly state a wish for the couple.  It wouldn’t be a long, drawn-out speech (save those for the reception), but rather a short statement of what they hope the rings represent for you in your marriage. 

  1. Hand Fasting

The term “tying the knot” actually has literal origins.  Tying together the bride and groom’s hands during the ceremony dates back to ancient Celtic times and was a common matrimonial tradition in many ancient cultures.  A cord or cloth would be tied loosely around the wrists of the bride and groom to symbolize their vow to tie their lives to one another. 

This is a beautiful tradition that can directly follow the exchanging of rings – once you both have an endless circle around your fingers, you’d tie a circle around your hands as a way to communicate your new union.

  1. Ring Pillow Alternatives

Traditionally, the ring bearer carries the rings down the aisle on a small pillow.  But that is certainly not the only option.  If you want to personalize this aspect of your ceremony, you should explore alternatives that are more relevant to you and your groom. We’ll give you a few ideas here, but feel free to get creative and explore other ideas:

  • A special locket
  • A meaningful book with a heart-shaped secret compartment
  • A tiny birdcage
  • A bird’s nest
  • A teacup
  • An embroidery hoop with a special message
  • A horseshoe
  • An ornament that can hang on your Christmas tree

Many couples want their wedding ceremony to be not only meaningful, but unique to their personalities and relationship.  These are just a few ideas that can help you customize one of the most special moments of your special day.

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