Why Are Wedding Rings so Important?
We’re in the midst of the summer wedding season, as loved up couples make the ultimate commitment with their dream garden wedding.
Vows are exchanged between couples surrounded by the light flooding into gorgeous orangeries across the UK. This is then followed by a beautiful reception in a bespoke garden marquee, where champagne is sipped and memories are made. Weeks of planning and preparation has gone into the engagement, with the ring being the focal point. The wedding takes months of planning, but what is shocking is that the wedding bands often come as an afterthought - which is bizarre when so much focus sits on the diamond engagement ring. We think about the venue, dress, menu and honeymoon, and fit the wedding bands into this turbulent and exciting journey. A Wedding ring is the epitome of devotion and loyalty; you and your betrothed will wear it everyday for the rest of your lives, so it should be more than just a gold band that sits on your Vena Amoris.
Why do we Wear Wedding Bands?
Having a physical symbol of your relationship status for everyone to see seems strange - especially in the 21st Century. The wedding and engagement ring industry is worth billions, and it is fair to say that declaring your everlasting love and commitment with precious metals, gemstones and jewels isn't cheap. The exchange of wedding bands isn't a recent phenomenon - this tradition dates back 4,800 years ago in ancient Egypt. Couples would braid sedges, reeds and rushes with papyrus into rings, for women to wear as a symbol of ownership. In Egypt, the circle was a symbol of eternity - this ring displayed a never ending partnership, (this is also where the eternity ring name derived). Ever since, the wedding band has had cultural significance in dozens of countries - it is one of the few personal items that inmates can take into prison with them.
Which Ceremonies use Wedding Rings?
There are hundreds of different wedding ceremonies all over the world, and not all of them use a wedding band as part of their ritual. Here are some wedding ceremonies across the world that conventionally use wedding rings:
The Church of England - The Book of Common Prayer of 1662
"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." Rings are traditionally worn on the ring finger of the left hand.
Eastern Orthodoxy - The Eastern Orthodox Service of Betrothal.
The sign of the Cross is made over the bride's head by the Priest, whilst declaring thrice, "The servant of God (Groom) is betrothed to the handmaid of God (Bride), in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen". This is then repeated again with the names reversed, either by the priest or best man. The Priest then asks God, "to bless this putting on of rings with a heavenly blessing and that an Angel of the Lord will go before these Your servants, all the days of their life." Wedding bands are traditionally worn on the right hand.
In Hebrew in Orthodox Judaism, the groom declares "You are consecrated to me with this ring according to the law of Moses and Israel." This is then declared by both the bride and groom declare it in Reform Judaism. The ring is worn on the ring finger of the right hand.
Roman Catholic Church
Why are Wedding Bands Plain?
The aesthetic of wedding rings has changed throughout history, with Gimmel rings being the popular choice during the 16th and 17th century, and Posey rings being a sought after throughout the Renaissance period. During World War Two, the UK's wartime restrictions meant that the manufacturing of wedding rings was limited to the maximum mass just over three grams. The wedding bands were seen as a utility, and were forged from nine carat gold instead of 22 carat. The band was left plain, and The Regional Assayer Office hallmarked these rings with a special utility mark (resembling a capital ‘U'), adjacent to the mark for the year on the inside of the band, guaranteeing their gold content and compliance with the wartime regulations.
In Western Culture, this style has been mimicked using rose, yellow or white gold, alongside other noble metals such as palladium, platinum and silver. The perpetuity of these precious metals are symbolic of the sanctity of marriage, and the plain exterior allows for personalised engraving that are of significance to the couple in question.
Less is more, which is why plain wedding bands are elegant and sophisticated. They go with any look, and can be customised.
Why Choose a Plain Wedding Band?
There are numerous benefits when it comes to choosing plain wedding bands. The beauty of plain wedding rings lies is in its purity and refined poise. Without the jewels, and other embellishments, the band is able to shine on its own. So why should you choose a plain wedding ring?
Plain Wedding Bands are easy to refinish.
Plain wedding bands can easily be reworked, unlike other ring.
Plain wedding bands are available in a variety of karats.
Plain wedding bands can be customised to make them more unique.
Plain wedding bands pair beautifully with other rings.
Do you prefer a plain wedding band or one with jewels and engravings? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out our ultimate guide to men's wedding ring styles.