One of the most symbolic parts of any wedding ceremony is the ring exchange. But what exactly goes into a ring exchange and what words are you supposed to say? Let’s find out!

What is a ring exchange? What is a ring ceremony?

So first things first: What is a ring exchange? A ring exchange, also known as a ring ceremony, is the part during a wedding ceremony when the couple will exchange wedding rings. Each member of the couple will hold the other’s wedding ring and slide it onto their partner’s finger.

The ring exchange usually happens after the couple has exchanged wedding vows and before they share their first kiss. It marks the commitment they are making on their wedding day. In a short and simple ring wedding ceremony, the vows and ring exchange may happen at the same time.

What is the symbolism of rings? What is the meaning of wedding rings? 

While most modern married couples wear wedding rings, not many stop to ask why. What is the symbolism of wedding rings and what do these rings mean?

Over 5000 years ago, rings were first exchanged in Ancient Egypt as symbols of love. They were typically made of woven reeds or leather and stood for eternal life and everlasting love. Soon after, rings began showing up in Ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, with the Romans using rings as signs of betrothal (aka the first engagement rings!).

While wedding rings have come a long way since then, they still symbolize a lot of the same things: unity, love and an eternal bond.

ring exchange during a young hip and married wedding elopement
by Erica Miller Photography

What is a ring warming ceremony?

To add even more meaning and significance to a ring exchange, some couples choose to conduct a ring warming ceremony first. A ring warming ceremony is when your wedding rings are passed from guest to guest, each warming the rings with their love, before they arrive at the front of the ceremony in time for your ring exchange. Guests typically hold the weddings rings in their hands while thinking or whispering loving thoughts for the couple.

While this may sound like a beautiful tradition, there are some things you’ll need to consider before including a ring warming in your wedding ceremony:

  • How are you making the ring warming sanitary? After a few years of covid, most people are not going to want to touch rings that hundreds of people have held and breathed on. Consider making hand sanitizer available or coming up with a creative, no-touch option for the warming.
  • How are you keeping the rings safe? With two tiny rings being passed between dozens or hundreds of people, there’s a good chance they might get lost! In order to not lose the rings, you may want to tie them together or keep them in a box.
  • How will you ensure the rings arrive on time? Ideally, the ring warming is happening throughout your ceremony with the rings arriving to your officiant just in time for the ring exchange. But in reality, this type of precision usually requires someone to know where the rings are at all times and to keep them moving at a good pace.

Keep in mind that a ring warming may also be distracting for guests if it’s happening throughout your ceremony. Instead of listening to your vows, they may be fumbling for the rings or paying attention to someone else holding the rings. If that’s a concern for you, consider tweaking the ring warming so it’s not a distraction. Perhaps you could have the rings on a pillow at the entrance to your ceremony so all of your guests can pass by them and “warm” them with love on their way to their seats.

showing off wedding rings after a helicopter elopement
by Erica Miller Photography

Wedding ring blessings: What words do you say during the ring exchange?

The words you say during your ring exchange are called a ring statement or a wedding ring blessing. A ring statement is usually a short (1-2 sentence) line explaining the significance of the rings to you and reaffirming your commitment to your partner.

Are ring statements and wedding vows the same thing?

No. Your wedding vows are the promises you make to one another for your lifelong marriage. They are usually significantly longer than a ring statement and focus more on what you love about each other and what you want your marriage to look like.

A ring statement, on the other hand (pun intended!), is a short line or two focused solely on the rings and reaffirming your commitment. It is not long promises but is simply a nice way to bring additional meaning to your ring exchange. Think of it as the closing line of your vows – the perfect conclusion to all of the promises you have already made.

However, some couples who are having very short ceremonies (like in an elopement), may choose to say their vows during their ring exchange. Or they may opt to skip the vows or the ring statement altogether. The great thing about a wedding ceremony is you can do it your way!

wedding ring exchange at helicopter elopement with young hip & married
by Erica Miller Photography

10 ring statements & wedding ring blessings for your ring exchange

Choosing a ring statement for your ring exchange allows you to add another level of personalization to your wedding ceremony. You could go with the traditional wedding ring statement, “With this ring, I thee wed.” Or you could opt for something much more niche, like a Lord of the Rings wedding ring statement.

Whatever words you choose for your ring exchange, we hope they are meaningful to you and make your ring exchange that much more special.

Here are some of our favourite ring statements:

  1. With this ring, I gladly marry you and join my life to yours forevermore.
  2. I give you this ring as a reminder that I will love, honour, and cherish you, in all times, in all places, and in all ways, forever.
  3. This ring is an outward sign of an inward commitment. Today, with these vows, I make my commitment to you.
  4. With this ring, I give you my heart. From this day forward, you shall not walk alone. My heart will be your shelter and my arms will be your home.
  5. I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow. With all that I am, I will love and honour you.
  6. Just as this circle is without end, my love for you is eternal and my commitment to you will never fail. With this ring, I take you to be my trusted confidante and partner for life.
  7. I give you this ring as a symbol of my love for you. Let it be a reminder that I am always by your side, even when you snore!
  8. 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.
  9. This ring is my precious gift to you, as a sign that from this day forward, you shall be surrounded and encircled by my love.
  10. Let this ring be a symbol of our love, may it represent our today, our tomorrows, our future & our past.

Inspired by these ring statements? Go ahead and use one as the words for your ring exchange. Feel free to mix and match them or create your own!

Now that you have the words for your ring exchange settled, it’s time to plan the rest of your wedding ceremony. Book your Young Hip & Married wedding officiant today for the ultimate creative, custom and personal wedding ceremony!