Guest Blogger, Julie Peel
Julie is a Jewellery Designer, based in London and Farnham. She specialises in creating Bespoke Engagement and Wedding Rings and is the author of ‘The Engagement Ring Handbook – A Man’s Guide to Getting it Right’.
The symbolic giving and receiving of rings is an ancient practice, but the significance and meaning behind it varies among cultures, and changes over time. Throughout history rings have been used as personal talismans, in business transactions, to mark legal contracts and of course, to pledge love.
A common theme across all cultures is that of the eternal circle, with no beginning and no end. A ring has symbolised eternal love at least as far back as the Egyptians in 3000BCE. Even earlier cultures are thought to have used ceremonial rings of reeds and grasses wrapped around ankles and wrists. To the Egyptians the central hole in the ring also represented a gateway to events both known and unknown, so to give a woman a ring thus signified never-ending and immortal love.
Dual ring ceremonies, where both parties exchange rings, are a fairly recent innovation in the UK. Exchanging wedding rings became popular in the US during WW2, and now signifies more the equality of the relationship between the couple ( as in the past only the bride would wear a wedding ring). But the practice also brings with it the delightful concept of a ‘ring warming ceremony’.
This is a way to involve all your guests in a very personal way in your wedding ceremony, whether or not your wedding is a religious ceremony. It gives your loved ones the opportunity to hold and imbue your wedding bands with a wish, a blessing or a prayer for your marriage. By the time your rings make it on to your fingers they will be infused with the love of friends and family.
As the rings are one of the most important parts of your marriage ceremony you don’t want anything to happen to them, so you will want to put someone very trustworthy in charge of your ring warming. They will explain to guests how it works and make sure that all runs smoothly.
There is no set form for this, but here are some ideas.
If the gathering is fairly small, you could pass the rings around throughout the ceremony with a ‘Ring Chaperone’ keeping a careful eye to make sure the rings are in the right place when the moment to exchange them arrives.
You could tie the rings together, circulate them in a special dish, on a silk pillow or another special container, or run a ribbon down the rows of seats, have someone introduce the warming and start the rings on their journey through your sea of guests.
If you expect many guests, and there is time, perhaps they could ‘warm’ your rings on arrival at the venue, before they take their seats.
Or you could involve just the closest in the wedding party before the ceremony, or make it part of your pre-wedding preparations in the last weeks before the day itself.
This is an opportunity to create a unique and meaningful experience for you, and to involve all the people you love in a meaningful way in the future of your union.
Julie has been designing bespoke and unique pieces of jewellery for over 18 years, travelling the world to source gorgeous gemstones. She is particularly interested in ethical and sustainable supply chains for diamonds and gemstones. Now based mostly in London and Surrey Julie also sends her bespoke designs all over the UK and abroad.
Find Julie online...
Telephone: 02088193848 or 01252279790