Like most dudes, when you think of weddings, you probably think of the free booze and the wild dance parties. The whole watch the bride and groom walk down the aisle as everybody looks in awe at their beauty, swap rings, and kiss under the altar isn’t usually at the forefront of our minds.
Well, have you ever wondered WHY we do all those things and what exactly they symbolize? Like, what does a wedding ring symbolize? Where do all those slang terms for marriage-like “get hitched” come from? Why does the bride launch the bouquet over her head? Let’s dig a little deeper into the wedding ring symbolism and answer some other questions.
So, what’s the deal with wedding rings? Where exactly did they come from? Are they just a piece of jewelry, or is there some deeper meaning? Well, this kinda varies, depending on when and where you’re asking about.
There are a LOT of differences regarding wedding rings and their symbolism across cultures, regions, and historical eras. We highly recommend researching more if you’re interested in a specific culture or time period, but, for the sake of this article, we’re going to cover a few of the more prominent and influential examples of wedding ring history.
First, we must go back thousands of years to one of the world’s greatest ancient empires … Egypt. Scrolls from over 3,000 years ago show men giving wedding rings to their wives, but they weren’t the wedding rings of today. The first ones were made of twigs, hemp, and plant stems. As you can imagine, these weren’t exactly the most durable rings, so they quickly decayed or broke and had to be replaced often.
Egyptians also didn’t put the rings on their fingers. They wrapped them around their arms and legs as a superstitious way to prolong their lives since they had much lower life expectancies in ancient times.
Romans used much sturdier iron bands, but these were used as indicators of a marriage contract. In these times, women had no say in marriage, as there were no proposals. Men “owned” their wives, and the ring was a symbol that a woman was “owned” by her husband rather than her father. Wealthier husbands would give their wives an additional gold band to wear in public as a status symbol.
Fast forward to lovely and beautiful Renaissance Europe, which saw the emergence of posie rings. This can also be spelled posey, posy, or poesy, but we believe that telling > spelling, so go with whatever floats your boat (or whatever your autocorrect decides).
These wedding rings featured engravings of short phrases or inscriptions, Bible verses, names, initials, dates ... you name it. Engravings on wedding rings are still very popular, today, as they increase the sentimental value of your ring and make it feel more like “your own.” And, whaddya know? You can have your own posie wedding ring when you customize with Manly Bands!
Make your own wedding band by combining metals, inlays, or sleeves, and then add an engraving of your choice! We can engrave fingerprints, skylines, dates, coordinates, initials ... you name it … as long as it’s within the character limit, so you might have to get creative with it—short and sweet like a tweet.
As you can see, the materials used to make wedding rings and their symbolism have changed over time. Long gone are the days of using twigs, hemp, and leather to fasten a wedding ring. Gold was the gold standard (pun intended!) for men’s wedding bands for quite some time, but, today, many different materials are used to make wedding rings and bands.
Here at Manly Bands, we’ve literally got ‘em all. You want a classic gold band? Gotcha. What about a newer metal like cobalt chrome or black zirconium? Yup. Titanium, tungsten? Yessir. We even have wedding bands with dinosaur and meteorite inlays!
To answer a question from earlier, wedding rings are more than just that. Some deep symbolism and layers go into that shiny piece of jewelry. They’re symbols of your love and promises to each other as a married couple. Do you know why that ring is a circle and not some other shape like a rhombus or square or parallelogram? It’s not just because it's the best fit for your finger.
The circle represents infinite love because circles never end. And the hole in the center of the ring symbolizes a doorway. Put that ring on, and you enter into your new life. Words of love come and go, but that ring is a permanent symbol of your commitment to each other. Even though this has varied a bit, just like the Roman and Egyptian cultures, this has been pretty consistent throughout modern cultures.
BUT … there are two sides to every coin. Some couples don’t find it necessary to wear a wedding ring for a few different reasons. Some do not think you need a piece of jewelry to symbolize your love—that you do it enough already through both words and actions of all sizes. Plus, it can be a financial burden to some couples, especially in the early stages of marriage. This is why we, here at Manly Bands, want to provide affordable wedding band options; we don’t want any couple who wants a ring to be hindered by their financial status.
Let’s move on from rings to another important part of any wedding ceremony: the vows. This is where you dig deep in your heart and express your love for your partner at the altar. You explain what they mean to you, how you will honor their love throughout the marriage, and so much more. It’s an incredibly moving part of the ceremony and, arguably, the most important, as the couple pulls back a curtain and bares their souls to those in attendance.
There are a few different ways you can handle your wedding vows. First, you can write them yourself. Some people are natural wordsmiths and can perfectly articulate their wide emotional range of love, dedication, commitment, and more.
If you can’t quite describe those butterflies in your stomach, don’t worry—because you’re not alone. There are other options—like following a template to write your vows. If you’re having trouble finding how to put those feelings into words, a template can help you get started. Following the guideline will make the process go smoother.
Having a friend or family member help write your vows is another option. To say that writing is hard is the understatement of the century, bro, so there’s no shame in needing some help. A lot of times, you’ll find that other people with the gift of penmanship have already said what you want to say better than you could’ve.
Even if you write your own vows, you may want to have a friend or family member give them a once-over. No matter which route you choose, it’s helpful to consult with those who have already been married because their expertise and guidance could provide some much-needed clarity.
We all use slang when we talk; it’s just in our basic nature as dudes. It saves us a few precious seconds, plus slang makes you sound cooler than talking like an English textbook all the time does. You’ve heard so many different slang and lingo wedding terms, but have you ever wondered where the f*$% they came from? Because it may seem like they don’t make much sense. Well, you’re gonna learn today.
“Getting hitched” is a super-common way to say getting married. This one comes from the 1500- and 1600-era of American history, when it meant tying horses to wagons. Later, it meant two people getting married and “tied together,” much like horses and wagons. Pretty cool, right?
When you ask someone to marry you, you “pop the question.” But where does this come from, and why is it THE question when there are endless questions out there?!? This phrase originated in the 1700s to mean asking ANY important question, not just a proposal. But, by the 1820s, it was exclusively used to mean proposing.
And, one more for ya … you ever heard of a “shotgun wedding?” Well, this means that the wedding is rushed into for some reason, such as unexpected pregnancy. The term comes from the father of the bride (not the classic Steve Martin movie) threatening the groom with a shotgun to ensure that he goes through with the wedding.
Now you know the origins behind some common wedding slang … bet your friends are gonna love those nuggets of info.
A great part of the wedding festivities is the bouquet toss. This is when the newlywed bride tosses the bouquet over her head, and the single female guests channel their inner Odell Beckham and try out-jumping each other to catch it. This tradition has a super-interesting origin story.
In medieval Europe, bridal bouquets were originally made of garlic and herbs, to ward off the bubonic plague. Maybe we can bring this tradition back during the latest pandemic?? Eventually, wedding couples transitioned to flowers, which had a much more pleasant look and a less pungent aroma.
At this point, unmarried women in attendance began attacking the bride, hoping to tear off a flower or piece of clothing. They thought this would bring them the bride’s good fortune and result in a marriage of their own soon. Uhhhhh ... sure! Whatever you believe. So, the bride began tossing the bouquet to avoid being attacked. Freak’n wild, right?
Oh, yeah, bro. There are TONS of awesome wedding traditions throughout the world. Before a traditional wedding in Scotland, the couple is pelted with trash like they’re on stage giving a bad standup routine. The logic says that if your marriage can survive a trash bombardment, you can survive anything. The reasoning checks out, but, we, at least, are very glad we will not be pelted with trash while wearing our wedding tuxedos.
Let’s head on over to South Korea for our next tradition. The groom was presented with a real live wild goose, one that he would then present to his future mother-in-law! This is because wild geese pick mates for life, so the goose symbolizes a lifelong commitment to the bride. Some modern ceremonies use a wooden goose instead of a live one, but the symbolism doesn’t change, only the amount of feathers.
Last, we travel to South Africa where love, quite literally, burns eternal. To symbolize the beginning of the new couple’s life together, the bride’s and groom’s parents carry a fire from the hearth in their home to the home of the new couple and light a new fire. This ancient tradition brings the new couple good luck and symbolizes the families joining together.
Don’t you just love learning about the traditions of other cultures? It’s so cool that the destination and the end result is the same, but the journey there is full of different twists and turns.
Well, bro, now that you have some of your wedding questions answered, what are you waiting for? Order your own wedding band or wedding band set from Manly Bands today! If you STILL have more questions about wedding stuff and our rings, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, check out the FAQ page or hit us up directly. You know we’re always here to help. Peace!