Ring Ceremonies: The Best of Both Worlds

Take a moment to picture a wedding. I’m sure you think of a candle-lit chapel, a bride escorted down the aisle, some sweet “I dos” followed by a “you may kiss the bride.”  Now, take a minute to picture your temple wedding. Within those hallowed walls, you will experience an entirely different wedding. Close friends or family members not of the LDS faith may feel confused or excluded from the ceremony unnecessarily.  How can you blend the two without taking away from the sacred ceremony of the temple and without damaging special relationships with supportive loved ones? Our LDS wedding ceremony differs strikingly from other weddings, but there are ways to make it a special ceremony rather than an exclusive one.

Holding a ring ceremony is a perfect way to incorporate all the family members and friends who may not be attending the temple ceremony. All of your guests can feel included and you can give a public thanks for all of the love and hard work they have put into your happy day.

Courtesy of Alixanne Loosle Photography

What does a ring ceremony entail?

Customize the ceremony however you like so that it fits your style and your guests. The ring ceremony is great way to experience all of the traditional parts of the wedding that are not included in the temple ceremony. For a ring ceremony, your attendants proceed in pairs down the aisle prior to the bride’s entrance. You can even have a flower girl sprinkle flower petals. Once they take their places on either side of the officiator, your father can walk you down the aisle and give you away, accompanied by the wedding march or other soft music. The ceremony itself is often short and sweet, lasting only about 10 to 20 minutes. It can include a few or all of the following:

*A few words from the officiator about the sanctity of marriage or about the couple

*A few words from the bride and groom, but generally not in the form of vows

*A few words from the parents of the bride or groom (this is particularly nice if any parents did not attend the temple sealing)

*A special musical number from a family member or friend, or a hymn and prayer

*Of course, an exchange of wedding rings between bride and groom

Photos courtesy of Christine Olson Photography.

Details and etiquette for a ring ceremony

The Guests. Keep in mind who you would like to invite to the ring ceremony. Often, the attendants, close friends and family comprise the guest list. You can schedule a more private ring ceremony about half an hour prior to your reception to give ample time for the ceremony and some pictures before the reception line begins. If you are inviting select guests, include a ring ceremony invitation insert for that set of invitations as well. You are also welcome to invite all of your guests to this ceremony as an included part of your reception, possibly to open the reception so that the guests don’t need to be rounded up sometime during the night.  Include the time of the ring ceremony on your invitations so that your guests can plan accordingly.

Photo courtesy of Wedding Ideas.

The rings. As you probably assumed, the rings happen to be the most crucial detail for the ring ceremony. Remember that the maid of honor will be in charge of holding the bouquet and the groom’s ring, and the best man will be holding the bride’s ring. Using delicate woven bags for the rings will ensure that they stay in the right place!

A rehearsal. Many of your participants for the ring ceremony, most likely including yourself, will be unfamiliar with the logistics of a ring ceremony. Without a mapped-out plan detailing when to walk, where to stand, and what to say, the ceremony could easily become confusing. An usher or wedding planner should schedule a rehearsal for the ceremony sometime before the wedding where the ring ceremony will take place. She can explain where the guests will be, where the attendants should stand and what pace they should maintain down the aisle. Everyone will feel much more relaxed and less awkward on the day of the ceremony with a practice run.

Timing. Be sure to have the members of the ceremony arrive at least half an hour before it begins. Timing is crucial for the ring ceremony since the reception will most likely follow quickly on its heels. No one ought to be on Mormon Standard Time when your big day is involved!

If given a chance or if the timing is right, consider sharing your feelings about the temple ceremony and why it is important to you with those who will not be at the temple sealing. Family members or friends who are unfamiliar with the temple proceedings can gain an appreciation for it if you take the time to explain. This will also help younger siblings or family members who would otherwise love to be with you in the temple ceremony but who are not yet able to attend. Everyone can feel included, and you can experience the joy that comes with those traditional elements of a wedding along with the sacred ceremony in the temple.

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