The Ring Exchange During A Wedding Ceremony

This article concerns the symbolism of a couple exchanging rings during their wedding ceremony. Quite a lot has been written about how rings, and especially diamonds, have become the standard “requirement” in weddings. At least in Western societies, it is extremely rare for a wedding to take place without a woman having a diamond ring. In fact, prior to the 1940’s it was not very common for men to give a diamond engagement ring to a woman when proposing marriage.

I’ve always found it humorous that while a dog is supposed to be a man’s best friend, women have chosen diamonds to be their best friend.

The exchange of wedding rings usually takes place right after the mutual exchange of wedding vows by a couple. Typically the wedding officiant will make a few comments about the symbolism of rings. Here are a number of meanings that you may wish to be said:

* The ring is an ancient symbol, so perfect and simple.
* Rings are a symbol of a lifetime of commitment.
* A ring reminds one of loving arms that embrace.
* As a ring is a circle which has no beginning or end, neither will true love ever end.
* With rings being a circle, they remind us that love given out comes back around to us.
* Rings are made of precious metals, and love is even more precious,
* As these rings are metals that have been purified by fire, so can our love withstand the fires of adversity.
* As these rings are valuable, our love is of even more value.
* Although words can disappear, these rings are a constant reminder of our spoken promises.
* A ring is a symbol of belonging, and you now proclaim to the world that you belong exclusively to each other.

After the introduction by the officiant, then the couple usually says or repeats two to four sentences to each other regarding the meaning of rings to them. Typically the man goes first, followed by the woman saying the exact same promise (except saying the appropriate “husband” or “wife” or “spouse”). In my opinion, the wedding vows should contain the majority of your promises to each other, with the ring exchange sort of being “the icing on the cake.”

The most traditional of all ring exchanges is, “With this ring, I thee wed.” However, I don’t recommend saying this because too many people have stumbled over the words and said instead, “With this wing, I thee wed.”

It is important to practice the ring exchange (as well as the vows) ahead of time to see if there are any potential tongue-twisters that could prove to be embarrassing, and to make sure it is not too long.

You can try to write your own ring exchange. Think of what is really most important to you about your future life together, and put it into a few short sentences.

Here are several choices you might consider that have been used by other couples during their exchange of wedding rings. You may want to mix and match some phrases to compose your own personal ring exchange.

With this ring, I marry you
And join my life to yours.”

You are the love of my life
And you are my very best friend.”

This ring is a token of my love.
I marry you with this ring,
With all 
that I have, and all that I am.”

I give you this ring to wear
As a symbol of my abiding love,
My eternal faith, and my undying devotion.
It is an outward reminder of our inner unity.”

I give you this ring
A a symbol of my love for you.
Just as this band encircles your finger,
May you always feel encircled by my love.”

I give you my hand as I give you my heart,
Unreservedly and unconditionally.
I give you this ring as I give you my love,
Exclusively and eternally.”

With this ring, I marry you
And bind my life to yours.
It is a symbol of my eternal love,
My everlasting friendship,
And the promise of all my tomorrows.”

This ring I give you
Is a symbol of my love.
I pledge to share with you
My heart, my home, and all my worldly goods.”

With this ring, I marry you:
With my loving heart.
With my willing body.
And with my eternal soul.”

I offer my vow to you
In the form of this ring,
So that my word and my love,
Will always be with you,
Close to your heart.”

I give you this ring as a reminder
That I will love, honor, and cherish you,
In all times,
In all places,
And in all ways, forever.”

This ring is our symbol
That you are my lover
And you are my best friend
In all times, in all places, and in all ways, forever.”

With this ring I marry you
And join my life with yours.
Accept this ring
As a sign of my love and faithfulness
For all the years to come.”

I will forever wear this ring
As a sign of my commitment
And the desire of my heart.”

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 forevermore.”

I give you this ring
As a symbol of my vows,
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, Amen.)”

Leave a reply

Wedding Planning Resources
Chicago wedding planning resources: marriage license information, vows, readings, customs & traditions, ceremony & reception locations.

As Featured on The Knot

Chicago Wedding Minister Officiant:

Rev. Daniel L. Harris
Elmhurst, IL 60126
Click here to ask about Rev. Harris’ availability to perform your wedding, or to send him a message.