| Wedding Ceremony | Wedding Planning | Wedding Rituals
arrive at the wedding and start checking who has the
rings, and it turns out nobody! Believe it or not, it
does happen. Not very often, but when it does, there
is always a great deal of angst and drama attached.
Sometimes the fact that the rings are missing is
because the person charged with minding the rings
simply forgot about them. Sometimes it is because
rings ordered online did not arrive in time.
Occasionally, the couple has made a deliberate choice
to buy their rings while overseas on honeymoon. Which
is fine. Definitely it is something that your
celebrant would be aware of and have planned for. But
other relevant people should also be given a heads up
Important to know: Being
ringless on the day will not create a problem
with the legality of your marriage. Despite
lingering folklore, "With this ring I thee wed"
is not a legal statement. And exchanging rings
is not a legal requirement. In fact, you
can skip rings altogether, or exchange something
else of significance to you. Ive had couples who
chose to exchange USB memory sticks, other
jewellery, and family heirlooms.
Nonethless, most couples include an exchange of rings
in their ceremony. So here are some strategies to
avoid being ringless on the day - and, worst case
scenario, some strategies to deal with being ringless
if it happens.
How to avoid a ringless
A little forward planning (including some strategies
for nagging!) goes a long way to ensure the rings make
it to the ceremony without incident.
- Start shopping for your rings early, early,
Rings are a personal choice. So the fact that you
might not have made the final decisions (or any
decisions) about the look and feel of your
wedding, how formal or casual it might be, your
wedding theme, dress code, menu, or anything else,
should not hinder you when it comes to your rings.
Trust me. No-one says "We're having a backyard
wedding, super casual, so we need super casual
- Decide who will be the Guardian of the Rings
on the day. Not your ring-bearer, but the
person who will be responsible for taking custody
of the rings and making sure that they brought to
the ceremony. Do this early and make sure that the
person you choose agrees. Tell your celebrant and
your photographer/videographer who that person is,
and provide contact details
- Set reminders on your phone
- to remind you to give the rings to the
- to remind you to check in with and to remind
the Guardian on the day
- Set reminders on your chosen Guardian of the
- - to remind them to get the rings from you
- - to remind them to bring the rings to the
- Set reminders on the phones of selected 3rd
parties so that they can also check on the
rings. Parents and members of the bridal party are
- Recognise that pre-wedding photography can be
a risk factor when it comes to leaving the rings
behind. Still life photos of the rings are
wonderfully evocative. You definitely don't want
to skip this, but you do want to have a strategy
in place to make sure that the rings are handed
back to, or retrieved by your Guardian of the
Rings and aren't inadvertently left behind after
the photographer has finished with them.
How to deal with a last
minute no-rings problem
Is it going to be possible to have the rings
retrieved and brought to the ceremony in time?
YES. Do it.
But make sure that everyone
involved in the ceremony logistics knows what is going
on, just in case the ceremony start needs to be
delayed. That means your celebrant, your wedding
planner, the function coordinator at the venue at a
NO. Hand over to your celebrant who can (your
Is it going to be possible to have the rings
retrieved in the time between the end of the
ceremony and the start of the reception?
- Delete the ring exchange from the ceremony and
explain to the guests that rings will not be
- Delete the ring exchange from the ceremony
without any explanation
- You could borrow rings from family
members or guests, or use cheap substitutes
(some celebrants will carry a set of these).
Although this hack is a hangover from the days
when the Church of England required a ring to be
given to the bride, this can be a choice if you
choose to keep the fact that the real rings were
a no-show, a secret. But it is not something I
would advise for two reasons. 1. The actual
rings have so much significance and fingers come
in so many sizes, so it might be quite difficult
to find suitable substitutes. And 2.It is a
secret that will be blown by the photographs of
the signing and by a warming of the rings if you
have included that in your ceremony.
- You could substitute an oathing stone.
I carry a beautiful heart-shaped stone in my
ceremony kit, just in case, but a pebble from
your wedding site could substitute for the rings
at a pinch. Even if you include a warming of the
- You could substitute your vows cards.
After reading your personal vows, hand your card
to your best beloved as documentation and symbol
of the promises you have just made.
Have your celebrant explain that you have
chosen to exchange rings later. Then, just before you
cut your cake, while all eyes are on you, say your
ring vows and exchange rings. Makes for great photos,
something that will be a talking point (in a positive
. Keep calm and carry on!