Are Wedding Rings Necessary in a Catholic Wedding?
By Father Kenneth Doyle
Question: Is the exchange of rings necessary in a Catholic wedding ceremony? My daughter doesn’t wear any jewellery and doesn’t intend to wear a wedding ring either. What happens in that case?
Answer: The heart of the Catholic marriage ceremony is the exchange of consent by the couple, and that is all that is really required. The priest or deacon asks the couple the following three questions:
“Have you come here freely and without reservation to give yourselves to each other in marriage?”, “Will you love and honour each other as man and wife for the rest of your lives?” and (if appropriate) “Will you accept children lovingly from God and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his church?”
Then the man and woman pronounce their wedding vows (usually by repeating them, in short phrases, after the priest or deacon.) Technically, that is all that is required for the sacrament. Most often, the vows are followed immediately by an exchange of rings, after the rings have been blessed.
In many cultures, rings are widely recognised signs of a lifelong commitment to love and fidelity, but they are not an essential element of the marriage ceremony. So your daughter needn’t worry – and, financially speaking, the groom will doubtless be grateful.
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