Exchanging Wedding Rings
After you exchange vows, you will exchange wedding rings. Almost all weddings, regardless of culture or religion, contain a ritual of exchange. The bride and groom may exchange flowers and food as a symbolic gesture, or they may exchange tangible objects, such as rings and money. Your officiant may say a few words first about their symbolism; if you're having a religious ceremony, your priest, minister, or rabbi will likely say a blessing over them, as well. Below are some phrases you can use during the exchange, or you may choose to compose your own. The most simple and traditional phrase:" With this ring, I thee wed."
In token and pledge of our constant faith and abiding love,
with this ring I thee wed, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit Amen.
I give you this ring as a sign of my love and faithfulness. Receive this ring as a token of wedded love and faith.
I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow, and with all that I am, and all that I have;
I honor you, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit [or: in the name of God].
I give you this ring as a sign of my vow,
and with all that I am, and all that I have; I honor you
[in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit].
In token and pledge of the vow between us made, with this ring I thee wed;
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
With this ring I thee wed,
and all my worldly goods I thee endow.
In sickness and in health,
in poverty or in wealth,
till death do us part.
Take this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Take and wear this ring as a pledge of my fidelity.
With this ring,
I wed you and pledge you my love now and forever"
Haray at mekudeshet lee beh-taba' at zo keh-dat Moshe veh- Yisrael:
Behold, you are consecrated to me with this ring according to the laws of Moses and Israel.
Thou are consecrated unto me with this ring as my wife/husband, according to the laws of Moses and Israel.
Be sanctified to me with this ring, in accordance with the laws of Moses and Israel.
With this ring, I thee wed,
as a symbol of love that has neither beginning nor end.
I give you this ring; wear it with love and joy.
As this ring encircles your finger from this day forward,
year in and year out, so will my love forever encircle you.
This ring I give you as a sign of our constant faith and abiding love.
I give you this ring as a reminder that I love you every day of your life.
This ring I give you in token of my devotion and love,
and with my heart I pledge to you all that I am.
With this ring I marry you and join my life to yours.
I offer you this ring as a symbol of my enduring love.
I ask that you take it and wear it so that all may know you are touched by my love.
Go little ring to that same sweet That hath my heart in her domain. . .
This ring is round and hath no end, So is my love unto my friend.
I give you this ring. Wear it with love and joy.
As this ring has no end, neither shall my love for you.
I choose you to be my wife/husband this day and every day.
Triple Ring Exchange (Eastern Orthodox)
The wedding rings are blessed during the betrothal ceremony. After reciting blessings and biblical passages, the priest makes the sign of the cross while holding the rings and declaring the betrothal. He may hold the rings in his hands while pressing the foreheads of the couple three times each. Then, either the priest or the koumbaros (the best man) exchanges the rings between the couple's fingers three times, signifying that the other will compensate the weakness of one. Because the right hand has a rich and symbolic history in the Church, the rings are usually placed on the third finger of the right hand.
Crowning Ceremony (Eastern Orthodox)
The crowning is the centerpiece of an Eastern Orthodox wedding ceremony. Garland wreaths are often fashioned into ornate crowns as a symbol of glory and honor. Crowns can also be made of orange blossoms, myrtle leaves, or semiprecious stones and metals. Threads of gold and crimson are sometimes used to represent the royalty of marriage. The koumbaros presents the couple with two crowns joined by a white ribbon symbolizing their union. The priest then places the crowns on the couple's heads while they face the altar. The koumbaros swaps the crowns on the couple's heads three times, symbolizing the Holy Trinity. According to ancient custom, the crowns are to stay with the couple for life-some couples are even buried in them.
Garland Exchange (Hindu and Hawaiian)
In both Hindu and Hawaiian ceremonies, the bride and groom exchange garlands of flowers. In Hindu weddings, the bride and groom meet in front of the mandap (wedding platform), where they exchange gifts of flower garlands before stepping onto the platform in a ceremony called Kanya Baran Jaimala. They then wear the garlands around their necks throughout the ceremony. Hawaiian couples exchange leis (the jewels of the ancient Hawaiians) and seal their union by rubbing noses.
Kola Nuts (Nigeria)
In Africa, kola nuts represent healing; giving them to each other (often after the vows) is a symbol of the couple's commitment to work out their differences and support each other through hard times.
Arras (Spanish and Latino)
During Catholic ceremonies in Spain, Panama, and Mexico, the groom presents the bride with thirteen gold coins, known as arras, to represent his ability to support her. The coins are blessed by the priest and passed through the hands of the newlyweds several times, ending with the bride. Want to make the ritual a little more balanced? Consider giving each other coins, to symbolize shared responsibility.
Included in the marriage contract is a meher, a formal statement specifying the monetary amount the groom will present to the bride. It is traditonally considered the bride's security and guarantee of freedom within the marriage. There are two parts to the meher: a "prompt," due before the marriage is consummated, and a deferred amount, given to the bride throughout her life. Today, many couples use the ring as the prompt,since the groom presents it during the ceremony; the deferred amount can be a small sum offered as a formality, or it can actually be a gift of money, land, jewelry, or even an education. The gift remains the bride's to use as she pleases.
Rose Ceremony (Nondenominational)
This modern ritual incorporates one of the most beloved symbols of romantic love-the rose. A white one is used in honor of the wedding day.
GROOM (handing bride the rose):
"_______, take this rose as a symbol of my love.
It began as a tiny bud and blossomed,
just as my love for you has grown and blossomed."
BRIDE (placing rose into a bud vase filled with water)
:_________I take this rose, a symbol of your love,
and I place it into water, a symbol of life.
For,just as this rose cannot survive without water,
I cannot survive without you.
In remembrance of this day,
I will give you a white rose each year on our anniversary,
as a reaffirmation of my love and the vows spoken here today.
And I will refill this vase with water each year, ready to receive your gift,
in reaffirmation of my love and the vows spoken here today.
[At this time the couple may join hands around the vase to exchange their vows; or, this ritual can be done separately, after the vows have been spoken and rings have been exchanged.]