(photo by William McLaughlin)
Most couples choose to exchange rings on their wedding day and there are a few things to bear in mind for this important element of the ceremony:
- The first thing is to remember to bring the rings on the day! I've never had this happen yet, though it was a close call once when the Best Man 'temporarily mislaid' them. We were fortunate that the couple were getting married at the family home and he could dash inside to get them! The look on his face when he realised that he didn't have them was priceless!
- If you have a particularly nervous Best Man, advise him not to handle the rings in case he drops them! If they're in a box, he can simply open the box and present it to the Celebrant to take the rings out.
- If your hands are hot, the ring can be a tight fit and you might experience some difficulty in getting it onto your partners finger. The first thing is not to worry about this - it happens to a lot of people and can actually be a sweet, funny and memorable part of the ceremony! Just take your time and it'll go on eventually! In this lovely wedding at The Roman Camp Hotel, John decided to put his own ring on after Jan had been struggling with it for some time!
(picture by the excellent Trevor Wilson at Silverphotography)
- If you want to be on the safe side, a little Vaseline smeared around the inside of each ring before the ceremony can help, as can bending the knuckle as you put the ring on.
- Although for most couples the exchange of the rings is a serious part of the ceremony, for others it can (sometimes inadvertently!) turn into a very amusing moment.
(Lorna and Gavin having at laugh during the exchange of their rings, by jenniflowerweddings)
- You might want to think about whether you want the Celebrant to handle your rings or not. Personally I like to hold them for a moment and talk about the symbolism of the rings on your wedding day.
(picture by another great professional wedding photographer, Jen Owens)"Paul, I give you this ring as a symbol of our love and marriage"
- I would then pass them to you to place on each others' finger, whilst repeating a few simple words such as:
- If only one of you is having a ring, one of you could say "I give you this ring...." and the other could say "I accept this ring..."
- You could also consider having a wedding band 'warming'. This involves the rings (usually tied together with ribbon) being passed around all of your guests in turn, for them to hold (and 'warm') for a moment of silent thought and well wishing for your marriage. Each person passes the rings on to the next guest, until everyone has held them. And then suitably 'warmed' by everyone, you can exchange them!
(picture by Alan Hutchison)
- Another thing to think about is what to do with your engagement ring and most brides transfer it to their right hand just before the ceremony and then move it back onto their left hand afterwards.
- Many couples stick with tradition and decide to give the Best Man the job of keeping the rings safe during the ceremony, but you might want to consider asking someone else - a friend or a member of each side of the family for example. If you have any children amongst your attendants, a Page Boy or Flower Girl could also be the ring bearer. This little ring bearer, Eve, was my youngest ever at just weeks old!
- Ring cushions are often used and if you have one, it's essential to tie the rings onto it so that they don't fall off if a wee one (or a big one come to that!) walks down the aisle with them (and by the way, they will of course steal the show!) It's best to practice tying and untying them because you don't want them to be either too tight and difficult to get off, or too loose so that there's a danger of them slipping off!
- If you have a wee Page Boy or Flower girl carrying the rings, you might want to consider a fun ring cushion such as this frog:
(well I think it was a frog anyway!)
- For something more natural and rustic, this little nest (you can get them online) was a lovely way for a flower girl to carry the rings:
- On the subject of involving children, at one wedding, the page boys gave everyone a surprise because when they were asked to step forward with the rings, they came to the front and solemnly opened their boxes.....to reveal a Haribo gummy ring in each one! Fortunately the best man had the real rings and once we'd had a good laugh, we let the boys eat the gummy ones!
- They say that you should never work with kids or animals, but I don't agree! If you have a dog, why not consider having him or her as a ring bearer? There are of course only certain domestic pets you could do this with and sadly Mr Snuffles the guinea pig probably isn't going to cut it as a ring bearer! But if you have an obedient dog who isn't too excitable, why not consider it? These two (Teddy and Wills) even had little tartan pouches for the rings!
And Claire and Gavin's lovely dog, Bigsby was so well behaved during their ceremony at The Lodge on Loch Lomond in 2009. Despite being surrounded by 100 guests, he was calm and impeccably behaved throughout - not to mention seriously cute!
As you can probably tell, I'm a huge dog lover, so here are another two. Meet pretty wee Corrie and big handsome Moose:
When Irene and Steve got married at the top of Dumyat near Stirling in 2007, their canine guests of honour almost outnumbered the human ones!
I've even had a horse attend a wedding, when Lorna and Vince were married at the now sadly closed Solsgirth House:
Anyway, I digress! If you have no-one to be a ring bearer or would prefer to hand them to your Celebrant before the ceremony, that's no problem. I usually put them into a nice dish, a quaich or a heart shaped wooden bowl until we need them.
Of course, you don't have to exchange wedding rings at all and sometimes only the bride (or groom) will have a ring. You might decide to exchange something else instead - a lovely fob watch for example:
Or a traditional Scottish luckenbooth brooch. Luckenbooth brooches are usually in the form of intertwined hearts and were traditionally given by the groom to the bride on their wedding day. They date back to the 16th century and were originally sold from locked booths (hence 'luckenbooth') around St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh. This style, with the letter M and a crown, were called Mary's Brooches, so called after Mary Queen of Scots was presented with one by her husband Lord Darnley. They have become a symbol of Scottish tradition, love and good luck.
Whatever you decide to exchange will have huge significance for you, both on the day and afterwards - a lasting reminder of the happiness you felt on your wedding day......
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