As soon as we think of weddings, a few images come to mind right away – a bride resplendent in a lovely gown, the groom in a made to measure suit, lots of music, dancing and celebrations with friends and family. But among all of these images, the one that stands out the most would undoubtedly be the moment when the couple exchanges their wedding rings with each other.
Be it simple or be it elaborate, the actual wedding ceremony and more specifically, the exchange of the wedding rings forms the centre of most weddings across cultures worldwide.
Interesting Trivia: The wedding band or ring is a circle to signify a relation without a start or an end – an eternal love. Marriage too is believed to be an eternal relation; in India it is believed that marriage ties a couple together for seven lives. The empty part in the centre also has its own meaning – it is the entry way or gate to each other’s hearts.
So how did this simple piece of jewellery become such an important symbol of love and commitment?
The tradition of rings as a piece of jewellery has been around since times immemorial. The earliest rings were most probably made of simple plant stems or tree bark twisted into a ring to wear on a finger. The credit for presenting a ring at a social event perhaps goes to the Egyptians. The first metal rings were of course made by the Egyptians, but it was the Romans who really turned them into symbolic pieces of jewellery items. A band on the ring finger of the left hand meant the wearer is married.
Initially, only women were required to wear a wedding rings or band. Men started wearing wedding bands only in the last century. It was actually a war, World War II, which got men to start wearing wedding rings. Men’s wedding rings came into existence for the soldiers fighting in a far off continent as a reminder of the love they had left behind.
Interesting Trivia: While the Egyptians, the Romans, and the Western civilizations started the tradition of exchanging wedding bands ages ago, the more traditional eastern countries have also accepted this trend in recent decades.
If you are wondering how a wedding rings differs from an engagement ring, there are some subtle differences that you can look for to tell which one is which. An engagement or a proposal ring is typically a precious metal or diamond studded ring with a solitaire in the centre. The wedding band, on the other hand, is a simple precious metal band. Some brides prefer a matching wedding band with their solitaire engagement ring, a “Bridal Set”.
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