Wedding ceremonies are one of the few times in life when you get to express just what you want to say, and say it in front of friends and family. They, in turn, want to say something back and to congratulate you. When the ceremony is over each will come up to you in turn to wish you well. But why wait till the end? You can easily include their good wishes as part of the ceremony. This can be done in a ring blessing. It’s easy to do and enhances your ceremony without disturbing it in any way.
How does it work? The rings are joined together, usually by string. This is more to keep them together, than for any symbolism. Alternatively, they can be placed in a small cloth bag with a drawstring. They are then passed to each person in the audience, who holds them and either silently or quietly blesses the couple, and adds their good wishes and hopes. The rings are then handed to the next person. Letting everyone hold your rings and bless them is a very powerful process; your family and friends are certainly going to feel connected to you.
An unusual but fun variant on the above is to first have a single long string that is handed to the first person in the front row, who hands the end to the next person, and so on, until everyone is holding the string. Then, the rings are threaded onto the string and are passed along, with each person holding them and blessing them, before handing them to their neighbor.
The ring warming is usually done while you are saying your vows. If you’re holding a very large wedding, however, the ring warming may take quite some time – and even turn out to take longer than the ceremony itself. In this case, start before the bride has arrived. Don’t forget the obvious: the ring warming needs to be finished before the ring exchange takes place. It’s also not going to work if people feel they can’t take their time with the rings, or if they feel under pressure to hurry.
It’s a good idea to put someone in charge of the rings during the warming. His/her job is simply to keep an eye on them and make sure they are ready to be given to you when the time comes.
Ceremonies-within-ceremonies like this one add something a little different to weddings and are much appreciated by family and friends; they really feel they are taking part in the proceedings.