Wedding rings are definitely necessary for the celebration of the sacrament of religious marriage. However, they are not necessary for the celebration of a political marriage as there is no part of this ceremony that is directly related to the rings.
The truth is, of course, that the rings are associated with the love and union of the couple. From the day of the wedding and for the rest of their lives, the couple wears their wedding rings on their right hand and thus they always carry the symbol of this important moment that officially united them. So, many couples who choose political marriage, make it a habit to wear wedding rings and incorporate the exchange of vows in the ceremony as well. The exchange of vows definitely gives a more romantic, meaningful and emotional tone to the political wedding ceremony, which otherwise has a more processual nature.
What is engraved inside the rings?
Tradition says that the names of the couple and the date of the wedding should be engraved into the rings. This is of course not the norm, so many couples choose to engrave symbols, words, initials, dates or even small phrases that have meaning and special emotional value to them.
Where to wear the wedding ring and where to wear the engagement ring?
Historical evidence tells us that ancient cultures chose different hands and fingers to wear the ring that symbolized their union with their mate. Always, of course, the choice was a ring that resembled today’s wedding rings, as this circle with no beginning and no end symbolizes the eternal union and endless love between two people.
In modern times the wedding ring is worn on the side of the left or right hand. In Europe and Greece, the wedding ring is placed on the left hand’s side during the engagement ceremony and the engagement period. This originated in ancient Rome because they knew that a vein, known as the “vena amoris”, passes through this finger and leads directly to the heart.
In Greece, and according to the Orthodox tradition, during the wedding ceremony, the wedding rings change hands and are now worn on the parameses of the right hand. Along with the wedding ring, the engagement ring is worn on the same finger (i.e. the solitaire, rosette, or whatever other choice each couple has made). This gesture is deeply emotional as it symbolizes that in the sacred union of marriage, one member of the couple becomes the ultimate support – the “right hand” – of the other, for the rest of their lives.
Eva Kountourakis GG, AJP, JBM
Gemology Instructor, Jewellery Consultant