A ring warming ceremony is a delightful modern wedding custom, developed in Ireland with the goal of developing a secular wedding tradition that didn’t draw on religious ideals in order to pass on the notion of love and belief of the gathering congregation towards the bride and groom. The basic idea is that your wedding rings are ‘warmed’ by each member of your congregation by having each of them hold your rings for a certain amount of time. Hence the name ‘ring warming ceremony’.
How to hold a ring warming ceremony
Generally a ring warming ceremony takes place just before, or during your wedding ceremony. One way is if you do not have a gigantic congregation, your celebrant, generally at the beginning of your ceremony, directs all the guests present to pass your rings around, and have them hold your rings to ‘warm’ them with their love and well wishes. Obviously if you have hundreds of guests, this really isn’t a viable option, so another option is to have your rings stationed some place at the front of your ceremony, with all your guests invited to hold them as they enter. A third option is to simply limit the number of people who participate in the ring warming ceremony, perhaps only having your parents and bridal party participate.
Things to consider
It’s a good idea to ask someone you trust to look after the rings, if you opt to have your ring warming before the ceremony proper, this duty could be given to the best man, who’s job traditionally is to safe guard the rings anyway. If you choose to have them passed around, it just pays to have someone dedicated to watching them, after all they should be destined for your fingers!
Tell your guests about it also, a ring warming ceremony is still quite a new wedding tradition, so chances are not many of your guests will know what one is. It’s a good idea to perhaps have your celebrant work the explanation into his speech, or even add details about it in your wedding invitations.
Think about how long the ceremony would take. I mentioned before that sometimes handing your rings around a huge congregation wouldn’t be particularly smart, considering you’d be potentially waiting at the altar for your rings to reappear after the procession.
Consider tying your rings together, and possibly attaching them to something like a pillow, or box. One downside of this otherwise well-meaning and beautiful ceremony showing family love is that your rings will be moving around a large area, with the possibility of them being dropped and lost. Particularly if your wedding is taking place outside. Having them attached to something larger will minimise this risk.
The idea of a ring warming ceremony is that your wedding rings have been ‘warmed’ forever by the well wishes and positive thoughts of each of your guests. This is a wonderfully personal way to get your guests involved in your wedding ceremony, rather than simply turning up 🙂