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Windys Bali Wedding

Meaning of Wedding Rings


For many couples, the wedding ring is a symbol and a public professing that they are married.  It is a sign of a commitment for one another and represents the love, honour and faithfulness that you have for your spouse. Some couples may even decide to have a special message engraved on their wedding ring to further show the love they have for each other.

In several traditions, the best man or maid of honor has the duty of keeping track of a couple’s wedding rings and to produce them at the symbolic moment of the giving and receiving of the rings during the traditional marriage ceremony. In more elaborate weddings, a ring bearer (who is often part of the family of the bride or groom) may assist in the ceremonial parading of the rings into the ceremony, sometimes on a special cushion. In many families an informal blessing is now performed by the betrothed ones’ parents in a family dinner that formalizes the betrothal. The ceremony of betrothal is now possibly performed immediately before the wedding (or “crowning” as it is more properly called), and the actual symbolic act of marriage is not the exchange of rings, but the crowning.

Historically, the wedding ring was connected to the exchange of valuables at the moment of the wedding rather than a symbol of eternal love and devotion, a sign of “earnest money”. According to the 1549 edition of the Book of Common Prayer: after the words ‘with this ring I thee wed’ follow the words ‘This gold and silver I give thee’, at which point the groom was supposed to hand a leather purse filled with gold and silver coins to the bride. It is a relic of the times when marriage was a contract between families, not individual lovers. Both families were then eager to ensure the economic safety of the young couple. Sometimes it went as far as being a conditional exchange as this old (and today outdated) German formula shows. By wearing rings on their fourth fingers, married spouses symbolically declare their life-long love for and fidelity to each other.

This symbol has public utility, and is presently expected as a matter of tradition and etiquette, so much so that its absence is often interpreted as meaning that the person is single.