The Warming and Blessing of the Rings

Over the weekend a friend got engaged….ahhh…the sweetness of this special season.  1997 was that time for me and it was pretty wonderful.   Of course, when the bride to be shared the news with a group of us, I went into recommendation mode… so many new ideas out there to share your love!

Lately, I came across the simple way to personalize your wedding ceremony – other than writing your own custom wedding vows – is including rituals in the event. Lighting the perfect unity candle, plant a tree together, it is up to you…but I just loved this fresh idea- new favorite: the wedding ring warming ceremony.

In the wedding ring warming ceremony, the rings go from being gifts the halves of a couple give each other to being a sort of gift that everyone present gives to the marrying pair. At some point in the event, usually before the ceremony officially begins, the priest or officiant asks the couple to turn to their guests and announces that wedding rings will be passed from guest to guest so that each can share love, support, wisdom, and a prayer for the couple through a quiet blessing before the rings are exchanged.

Once the rings have been held by each guest at the ceremony, the officiant takes them back and says something like: “Now warmed and blessed by those who love you the most, these rings will both show the world that you are one and carry the eternal good wishes and love of all who were present here today.” Oh- I just love this….and don’t worry…rings won’t get lost.  If anything, the couple might “loose it” on the altar as they see each loved one gently warm and pray over their rings…personally blessing thier union.  Good idea for renewals too!

Alternately, some couples will tie their rings on a ribbon and hang them on a sign at the ceremony entrance – guarded by a pair of well-chosen friends or relatives. The sign and the guardians explain to wedding guests making their entrances that they should pause and bless the rings before taking their seats. This less formal ring warming works well at larger weddings where guest lists of 100 or more people make passing the rings around during the wedding ceremony itself impossible.

And for couples who simply aren’t comfortable having a bunch of people touch their wedding rings, it’s fine to ditch the ‘warming’ but leave the ‘good vibes’ – the officiant can hold up the rings and ask everyone present to join him or her in blessing the wedding bands.

Either way, hands-on or hands-off, I just love love love wedding rituals that give brides and grooms a way of including relatives and friends in the ceremony. After all, you can’t make everyone a bridesmaid or a groomsmen, and how many readers can one wedding have, anyway? This is a beautiful way to include everyone in your special day.