I must say, one of my favorite things about being a wedding photographer for so many beautiful couples is that it has given me the opportunity to witness lots of colorful traditions and rituals that are integrated into the wedding ceremony. It’s so fun to watch people pull from their heritage, spirituality, childhood influences, and most beloved places around the globe to create a ceremony that is truly unique to them and their partnership.
Today I want to highlight a particular element that seems to be popping up in more and more weddings these days: the ring warming ceremony. If you’ve never heard of it or been part of one before, you’re probably thinking, “Uhhh, what?” So, let me break it down for you.
What is a ring warming ceremony?
In a ring warming ceremony, you pass the two wedding bands from guest to guest. Each guest takes a moment to “warm” the rings with a prayer, a positive intention, good vibes, or any other form of kindness that jives with their particular spirituality. By the time the bands reach the couple for their vow exchange, they are full of good luck for their future together.
This tradition originated in Ireland, but it’s not difficult to see why such a ritual would resonate with couples from all over the world. It’s a beautiful way to bring everyone in attendance into the present moment and play an important emotional role in the ceremony itself. Plus, wedding bands are the ultimate symbol of love and commitment, so the idea that everyone you love and who loves you has supercharged them with blessings for the future makes them all the more powerful.
When does it happen?
As long as the ring warming ceremony is completed before the vow exchange, you’re good to go! So, you have several options.
If you have a shorter guest list, you will likely have time during the ceremony itself to pass the rings down each aisle for all attendees to bestow their blessings. You can leave them in their boxes for easier (and safer) exchanges, or you can trust your congregation with just the bands themselves.
If you have a longer guest list, it might be easier to set up a table at the entrance of your ceremony with the rings and a description of your ring warming request so that everyone can offer their positive thoughts and prayers before they sit down. This format feels a little less inclusive than the live passing of the rings, but your guests will love being part of your ritual no matter how you lay it out.
Ask your officiant or a member of your wedding party to oversee the ring warming ceremony. This person will be responsible for helping every guest warm the rings, as well as making sure the rings make it back to the altar for you to put them on. 😉
And if you have kiddos on your guest list, I suggest asking for their parents’ assistance in holding and blessing the rings so nothing goes missing before your big moment. In this instance, I also think it wise to leave those beautiful bands in their boxes. Can’t play it too safe!
Speaking of safety, we are still navigating a pandemic. So, it might feel more comfortable to pass the ring boxes around rather than the jewelry itself, and setting up hand sanitizing stations at the ceremony entryway can help ensure that (mostly) clean hands bless your wedding bands.
What do you think? Could you see yourself including a ring warming ceremony on your big day? Share with me in the comments below!
With Grit & Grace~
Sarah Keenan, Photographer
Westland Farms Studio