A "Ring Ceremony" is a great way to appease family and friends who are non-members but wish to be included in your wedding ceremony.
Floral suggestions for the Ring Ceremony: Focus on the immediate surroundings where the bride and groom will be standing throughout the ceremony (for the best photographs). Hydrangeas in a basket are beautiful and make a big statement (In fact, artificial ones are very realistic looking and would be great for dressing up the entrance of your home or the reception site.) If the ring ceremony or reception is going to be held around a swimming pool, you could have a floating flower arrangement (but secure it to both sides of the pool with clear fishing line so it doesn't float all around pool and end up stuck in a corner.)
When to Schedule the Ring Ceremony: It takes place AFTER the Temple wedding ceremony and before the reception. It looks very similar to what people expect to see at a civil wedding. The difference is that there are NO VOWS exchanged.
Who Conducts? Anyone can conduct the "service" because it is not a legal proceeding (the couple has already been married). So your Bishop, your home teacher, a favorite uncle, etc. can officiate. He should, however, be a member of the Church so he can be sensitive to the purpose of a ring ceremony vs. a civil wedding ceremony. It is also a great missionary moment to teach the beautiful doctrine of a forever family. Advise him to speak with the bishop to approve the thoughts he has prepared and/or get ideas and directions for his comments.
Who Keeps Control of the Wedding Ring? Traditionally, this has been the responsibility of the best man. When he takes possession of the ring is up to the groom. Most grooms keep it until the wedding day and then give it to the best man to keep until it's time to exchange rings. When the officiator asks for the rings, the best man hands it to the groom. Most grooms today keep the ring in their own possession. If the groom chooses to do this, the best man should be assigned the task of being sure the groom actually has the ring on him before the ceremony starts (You wouldn't want to run the risk of having to stop the ceremony while someone runs to retrieve it)..
Where? It should NOT take place in the chapel (and obviously shouldn't take place in any other church - including non denominational church buildings). The ideal place to have the ring ceremony is the same place where your reception will take place - and the reception usually immediately follows the ceremony. It can take place on the cultural hall stage, in a scenic outdoor location, on the outside grass before entering the chapel, restaurant, hotel ballroom, or home of a friend. Many reception venues offer a specific area for ring ceremonies. Keep in mind, if you elect to have a ring ceremony, it should be in a place that will not disrupt the reception. You don't want to have to move the chairs out of the way and start hauling in tables and centerpieces for the reception. That could move your reception off track an hour or so.
What Takes Place? You should open and close with a prayer. It is appropriate to have someone sing a hymn, do a musical solo, or have your primary age relatives sing, "Families Can be Together Forever" (from the Children's Songbook, p. 188).
The officiant usually states briefly what transpired in the Temple and that it was a "Sacred" not "Secret" ceremony restricted to a small gathering of family and friends who are members of our church who received permission to attend through an interview with the Bishop of our church to insure that they are living up to the covenants they have made with the Lord when they joined the Church. Temple ceremonies were not intended to be for large numbers of people to attend. The largest sealing rooms, even in the largest temples, don't hold more than 50 people.
It would be appropriate to highlight some of the views we share about the family from "The Family: A Proclamation to the World."
If the bride and/or groom has a favorite poem (some examples follow), this would be a nice place to have it read.
The officiant can then talk about how a ring, once placed on the couple's finger, symbolizes the never ending covenant the couple made with the Lord in the Temple...forever.
You can include a favorite scripture:
1 CORINTHIANS 13:4-8a
You may kiss and be presented to family and friends by your new (last) name.
Ring ceremony protocol changes from time to time, so it is best to check with your Bishop to be sure that your plans are within the Church guidelines. Keep in mind that the ring ceremony is not meant to embellish your temple sealing. The more you make it like a civil ceremony, the less emphasis you are placing on your temple ceremony.
Here is one of our favorite wedding poems:
~ Linda Lee Elrod ~
When I met you, I had no idea
how much my life
was about to be changed...
but then, how could I have known?
A love like ours happens
once in a lifetime.
You were a miracle to me,
the one who was everything
I had ever dreamed of,
the one I thought existed
only in my imagination.
And when you came into my life,
I realized that what I
had always thought
couldn't compare to the joy
loving you brought me.
You are a part of everything
I think and do and feel,
and with you by my side,
I believe that anything is possible.
(this day) gives me a chance
to thank you for the miracle of you...
you are, and always will be,
the love of my life.
~ By Robert Louis Stevenson ~
Lord, behold our family here assembled.
We thank you for this place in which we dwell,
for the love that unites us,
for the peace accorded us this day,
for the hope with which we expect the morrow,
for the health, the work, the food,
and the bright skies that make our lives delightful;
for our friends in all parts of the earth.
EXCERPT FROM TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE
~ By Mitch Albom ~
“Still,” Morrie said, “there are a few rules I know to be true about love and marriage: If you don’t respect the other person, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. If you don’t know how to compromise, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. If you can’t talk openly about what goes on between you, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. And if you don’t have a common set of values in life, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. Your values must be alike.
“And the biggest one of those values, Mitch?”
“Your belief in the importance of your marriage.”