While there is not a specific date that the tradition of exchanging wedding rings began, it is to the surprise of many people that the wedding ring is a tradition that dates all the way back to Ancient Rome. However, it was not to be used in the Western World however until the late 13th century. While modern-day wedding rings are typically exchanged as a symbol of love and devotion, historically speaking, the wedding ring was a symbol of valuables and the contract of economic safety between two individuals. During this time, the wedding ring was traditionally only given to the bride and the male partner did not wear a ring. The double-ring ceremony is more of a modern tradition beginning in the 1920’s as a result of the American jewelry ad campaign promoting male engagement rings.
While the exchanging of wedding rings is a popular tradition in the United States and Europe, it is not the only tradition used worldwide. The exchanging of wedding rings as we know it today throughout the United States is heavily based off European influence, namely the Church of England’s Book of Common Prayer whose vows included “With this ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen”. This practice is also seen in the Jewish, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox religions.
While the use of wedding rings or marriage bands are nearly universal throughout the world, other symbols are used in some cultures to signify marriage. For instance, throughout South Asia, a married woman of the Hindu religion wears a gold necklace known as a Mangalsutra and the groom marks the forehead of the bride with vermillion to symbolize marriage.
In the Amish society, marriage is a very sacred institution; however, because those of the Amish community do not wear jewelry, there is not an exchanging or wearing of rings to symbolize marriage.
However, you choose to symbolize your marriage, with a ring, a necklace or without a symbol at all one thing is universally consistent with nearly all cultures and societies and that is the celebration! When you are ready for your celebration, no matter what the occasion, let Plaza Lecea help make the process a memorable one!