In almost every ceremony, following the Declaration of Intent and the Vows, the couple exchange rings. Most often now we have the "double ring ceremony" with both the bride and groom exchanging rings. Sometimes the groom elects not to have a ring.
So, where did the tradition of the wedding ring come from? Tradition suggests that the wearing of a ring comes from the Romans, others think the Egyptians. It was worn on the left hand because it was thought that the vein in the wedding ring finger, referred to as the "Vena Amoris" (Vein of Love) connected directly to the heart. Many cultures place rings on the right hand. Whichever is right for you, just make sure you put in on the correct finger! I've had occasion to guide the placement during the ceremony ...... nerves and looking at the hands of your partner from the opposite side can create some confusion!
So why a circular ring to symbolise marriage? The circle is, of course, unending and therefore a symbol of eternity. A marriage ring is therefore a symbol of the never-ending love that the couple have for each other. I also think of it as the outward and visible sign to everyone of the love that binds a couple together. They are usually made of precious metal - strong and enduring. What about the style? More on that in a later blog but nowadays they often have stones in them or engraving on the inside. These details make the ring even more special.
My big tip for the exchange of rings:
Almost always, one of the rings won't go on easily! Again, nerves, the temperature, the style of the ring or a large knuckle might mean it won't slide on easily. I always go over this at the rehearsal. Don't try ramming it on - the knuckles will swell up! A gentle twist usually does the trick or waiting a couple of seconds and it will slide on easily. I've never had a ring that didn't go on yet!!
And my final thought on rings: At a wedding last year, our groom exchanged a second ring: to his new step-son. This represented his commitment to and love for him. An incredibly special moment.