Rev. Fuller: You don't have to say anything whatsoever when you exchange your rings if you are uncomfortable doing so. Your officiant can simply prompt you to exchange rings with a simple statement such as:
"(Name), please look into (Name's) eyes as you place the ring, a symbol of your love for him/her, on his/her hand."
Alternatively, if you feel you can manage a couple of syllables, you can do something like this.
(Name), do you give this ring to (Name) as a token of your love for him/her? ~ I do.
Then in remembrance of this hour and the pledges you have made, please place the ring upon his/her finger.
Maria in Denver, CO: I am not a big fan of "with this ring, I thee wed." But I want a traditional wedding. Is there something else we can say instead?
Rev. Fuller: Absolutely! These days, "I thee wed" can sound more dated than traditional, especially when plonked down right in the middle of a wedding ceremony that uses more contemporary language. If you want to keep it short and sweet and convey the same sentiment, you can simply say, "with this ring I marry you" instead. That's quite common in wedding ceremonies today and avoids the flub, "with this ring, I be wed." I've heard that a lot!
Ginger in West Palm Beach, FL: My fiance doesn't wear jewelry and I feel weird getting a ring without giving him one. Can we skip this in our wedding or is some kind of ring exchange required.
Rev. Fuller: The only required element in a wedding ceremony, if your wedding is intended to result in a legal marriage, is an expression of intent to be married. Ring exchanges, while pretty much an expected part of the wedding ritual, are in fact an optional element. Double ring exchanges are definitely more common than single ring exchanges, but I can assure you there is nothing odd about your fiance giving you a ring without you giving him one in return. However, if this does not feel right to you, by all means, omit a ring exchange from your ceremony. With or without the rings, you two will still be married.
Holly in Anniston, AL: We're using traditional repeat after me vows instead of writing our own, but I'd kind of like to come up with something more personal for the ring exchange. Can we come up with what we say when we exchange rings and do we have to say the same thing to each other? Can we surprise each other with what we have to say?
Rev. Fuller: Some religious traditions may have a set wedding liturgy dictating the contents of a ring exchange. But if your situation allows for more flexibility, what you say, if anything, when you exchange your rings is entirely up to you. You can choose something you like that you both say to one another or you can surprise each other with something you have each prepared on your own. Surprising one another with expressions from your hearts is a lovely idea.
For more on ring exchanges, including examples, click here.
Photo Attribute: Susan Eaton