8 things to say when exchanging wedding rings
The question is does one simply place the wedding ring on your dear one’s finger… or do you say something poignant as well?
In this story we explore the background of the wedding ring, but more importantly, what to say at that special moment when you are exchanging rings. There’s a list of 8 things to say… and plenty more to ponder as well.
AND my free gift to you .. at the end of the story; a little tip for you to take to your wedding.
Why a wedding ring?
For thousands of years lovers have exchanged a wedding ring as tokens of their vows……
Of course there is no legal imperative to use rings in your ceremony, but it is a custom that most couples still hold dear for their wedding day. A ring is a gift you wear forever as a reminder of your wedding day, and the promises you gave to each other. It is indeed precious, of course, because it is made from valuable materials; shiny metals and sparkly stones. Yet the wedding ring is made absolutely treasured because of its symbolism.
The ring connects to the heart
Shakespeare wrote, “Now join your hands, and with your hands your hearts.” Some believe that the hands are a connection to the heart, and a hand blessing symbolically brings two hearts together.
Your wedding ring
So you’ve been shopping for a wedding ring, trying things on, thinking about what exactly you would like to wear into the future. All the time anticipating the ceremony, when the ring will be placed on your hand for the first time.
This is something you may not have thought much about. This is where your celebrant comes into the picture to help you with things to say when exchanging your rings.
But before we explore what to say, let’s take a step back and consider the history of the wedding ring.
Where did the wedding ring come from?
According to some historians, the first recorded rings linked with a marriage ceremony date back to the days when early man tied plaited circlets around the Bride’s wrists and ankles to keep her spirit from running away. Approximately 3,000 BC, Egyptians originated the phrase “without beginning, without end” in describing the significance of the wedding ring. These rings were made of woven hemp which constantly wore out and needed replacement.
A gold ring
It was the Romans who originally used iron, gold is now used as a symbol of all that is pure. Diamonds were first used by Italians, who believed that it was created from the flames of love. According to some European cultures, the wedding ring is worn on the right hand. In other cultures, an engagement ring is worn on the left hand, and the wedding ring is worn on the right hand.
We all expect wedding rings to go on the left hand ring finger. It is said that this finger has a vein that goes straight to the heart. Perhaps there is also a Chinese meridian of love making the same connection. However in my celebrant career, I have seen rings on the right hand as per the custom in many European countries. I have also seen wedding nose rings, wedding ear rings, wedding wrist watches, tattooed wedding rings and more. And only once have I seen them dropped!! But that’s another story.
What do I say when I put the ring on his finger?
You need not say anything at all. Sometimes it is what you do that is as important as what you say. You can simply slide the ring onto his finger… then tug and twist and push until it goes over the knuckle!!! Because generally wedding rings don’t slide on easily!! I have a tip for that too… but for now read on…
You may like to say a little something. It does not need to be a long message. You have just exchanged vows; the moment which would usually encapsulate your promise. So for the rings exchange need not be wordy. You are just searching for a few words to say whilst slipping the ring on your love’s finger
So … drumroll …… here are
8 things you can say when exchanging your wedding rings
- With this ring I thee wed
This is the longtime classic phrase. The grammar seems old school and a bit foreign. Perhaps it seems a little formal. But it is very traditional. And depending on how you say it, can be quite poignant or funny even.
- I give you this wedding ing to wear to seal the promises I make to you today
I guess this outlines the fact that the ring seals a promise of marriage.
- I give you this ring as a symbol of my love for you. Let it be a reminder that I am always by your side and that I will always be a faithful partner to you.
This phrase is kind of an extension to your wedding vows. It encompasses some of the classic sentiments of marriage, that you want to be faithful.. for always.
- I give you this ring as a symbol of my love, my faith in our strength together, and my covenant to learn and grow with you
- With this ring, I marry you. With my loving heart. With my willing body. And with my eternal soul.
- I give you this ring, as I give to you all that I am, and accept from you, all that you are.
- This ring is a circle with no end, just like my love for you. Wear this ring and recall my promise to you today.
- As you cherish this ring, so I cherish you
But that’s not all…. there are other options above and beyond 8 things to say when exchanging wedding rings…. You can…..
Or …say it with a poem
A simple and poignant poem is
With this ring, I thee wed
With my body, I thee worship
With my heart, I thee cherish
Would all that I am, I give unto you
Would all that I have, I share with you
From this day until forever done.
Another delightful solution is to choose someone to read the poem, “These are the Hands…” No one seems to know the original author, and it has appeared in several versions. It is also easy to personalise to your own situation. For example, substitute, young for mature, or care for cherish, or the present tense for the past tense for a longer relationship/engagement or for a renewal of vows….. etc. Try this while you exchange rings:
These are the hands, author unknown
These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love,
that hold yours on your wedding day.
These are the hands that will work along side yours as you build your future together.
These are the hands that will passionately love you and care for you throughout the years.
These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief torments your mind and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other.
These are the hands that will give you strength when you struggle, and support and encouragement to chase down your dreams.
These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children, and help keep your family together as one.
These are the hands that will, countless times, wipe the tears from yours eyes, tears of sorrow, and tears of joy.
And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled with age, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch—- a touch from these hands.
What other options are there for a wedding ring?
How about a handfasting ritual or a ring warming. Ask me, I’ll tell you how.
And now that you have read to the end, my tip for those reluctant rings on swollen fingers.
On a wedding day we are so excited our fingers often swell up or go cold or dry, or hot… or anything but normal!!
So if you smear a little paw paw cream or vaseline on the inside of the rings before you place them in the ring box, then you will be surprised how easily they slide onto your fingers during your wedding ceremony.
There you go, my celebrant’s tip for exchanging wedding rings.