Hip, Hip… Hooray! – Our Guests Warm the Rings

As soon as all the guests were seated for the ceremony, our officiant came out to explain the ring warming ceremony. Two members of the house party were designated as pseudo ring bearers, and they helped orchestrate the passing of the rings from row to row—my rings were passed on one side of the aisle; King Hippo’s ring was passed on the other—while Ryan Adams’ version of “Wonderwall” played over the gallery’s awesome sound system.

Go ahead and play it while you read…. C’mon. You know you want to!

Our officiant came to the front and said:

“Soon Hippo and King Hippo will exchange rings as visible symbols of their commitment to one another. Before they do, they have asked that you participate in a Ring Warming, emphasizing the importance of the support of family and friends in their marriage. As the rings are passed among you, take a brief moment while you hold the rings to warm them with your love and with your hopes and wishes for a happy and fulfilling marriage. Then pass the rings to the next person.

Two people in love do not live in isolation. Their love is a source of strength with which they may nourish each other and the world around them. In turn, we who make up their community of friends and family have a responsibility to them. By our steadfast care, respect, and love, we can support their marriage and the new family they are forming today.”





Now, here’s what was supposed to happen… the guests would all be seated, King Hippo would escort his mother to her seat and then return to the back with the rest of the groomsmen, and then the officiant would come out and explain the ring warming. Rings would be passed. Guys would line up. Processional would begin. Easy peasy. I even thought this was what happened. It wasn’t until many weeks after the wedding that I found out that there had been a little mishap with the order of things.

Uhhhh…. why is this chair empty?

Somehow our DOC had a cuing mishap and the officiant and two house party “ring bearers” had gone out before MIL Hippo had been seated. The ring warming had already been explained and the rings were beginning to be passed by the time MIL Hippo was escorted to her seat. Rut roh. A quick thinking house party member re-routed the rings to the front row so that MIL & FIL Hippo could hold and bless them momentarily before moving on.

See it there? Rings on the right, MIL Hippo being seated.

The moral of the story is… things go wrong. Even with a perfectly constructed timeline, there’s going to be something out of the ordinary that puts it into a tailspin. I honestly don’t think anyone (other than quick thinking house party member and the officiant) even realized that the timing was crazy, and if they did, they quickly forgot about it. And lucky for me, my wedding party is wedding savvy enough to know that I didn’t need to know about the mishap right then. Or that day at all. I would have been annoyed with the DOC (who truly did an awesome job, so no need to be mad at him for me), apologizing profusely to MIL Hippo (who probably forgot about it moments after it happened), and probably asking a guest or two if they noticed. It would have been energy that didn’t need to be expended, so props to my ladies for just going with it and keeping it from me until after I honeymooned and the little details didn’t matter so much anymore. But, I digress…. back to the ceremony.

Once the rings had made their way through the guests, the officiant said:

“These rings come back not only containing precious metal, they contain something more precious, that which is priceless: your love, hope and pledge of support for King Hippo and Hippo’s marriage.”

The ring warming was my favorite element of our ceremony, and several guests told me at the reception how emotional it was for them. And even though our officiant hadn’t heard of a ring warming before we met with him, I thought he did an amazing job of explaining it so eloquently. I was a little nervous about how long the ring warming would take, since there wasn’t any way to plan for it. I didn’t want it to take too long since guests would just be sitting there, waiting for the rings to get to them, and then sitting there again, just waiting for everyone else to get them. I had three songs on the ring warming playlist for our DJ, but we totally lucked out in that the entire ring warming was finished right at the end of the first song (the one you’ve been enjoying as you’ve been reading this). That’s right. 4 minutes and 12 seconds.

With the ring warming complete, it was time for the guys to go out and the processional to begin.

All photos by Chavvon & Larissa Photography

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Mrs. Hippo

New York City/Dallas, TX
Wedding Date:
March 2011
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  1. Member
    Miss Winter 260 posts, Helper bee @ 8:45 am

    What a beautiful and touching moment for your guests. I’m sure it made them feel so included and really set the mood for the whole ceremony. Great idea and I’m glad it went so well for you!

  2. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 9:01 am

    I love how your officiant explained the ring warming ceremony, such a wonderful sentiment.

  3. Member
    chrispygal 1472 posts, Bumble bee @ 9:12 am

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time! We were just debating two days ago how long the ring warming would take and should we have it before/during the ceremony. We only have about 50 people seated so I think we’ll be fine and can make it through in one song. Perfect! Thanks so much for posting!

  4. elephant Member
    elephant 6339 posts, Bee Keeper @ 9:13 am

    Such a beautiful way to include your guests in the ceremony. Like you we had some little things happen at the wedding that weren’t as planned and I didn’t learn about it until well after. I’m glad that our vendors took care of it and didn’t worry me about it.

  5. Member
    lovepark 64 posts, Worker bee @ 9:29 am

    What a beautiful post. I heard about ring warming but did not think it would have a place at our wedding. Now that I read your post I think I am going to have it. It sounds like a moving experience. In the pictures it seems you tied ribbon around the rings on top of the box. Is that correct?

  6. Member
    sugaree78 21 posts, Newbee @ 9:29 am

    What a neat idea!! I have never heard of doing this, and being an extremely sentimental person, I think it is such a fabulous addition to a wedding ceremony. And then to top it of, you used Ryan Adams?!? LOVE it!!

  7. Member
    justsplendid 22 posts, Newbee @ 9:40 am

    What a perfectly timed post. We were just speaking with our minister this weekend and he asked for more information on the ring warming. The explanation your minister gave is a great example that I’ll be sure to pass along.

    And only 4 minutes? That’s also great news for planning purposes.

    Sounds like it went really well!

  8. hippo Member
    hippo 1012 posts, Bumble bee @ 9:42 am

    @lovepark: That’s correct. There’s a better photo of the boxes here: http://www.weddingbee.com/2011/03/17/wedding-socks/ and you can read about the piece that inspired the cubes here: http://www.weddingbee.com/2010/11/11/wedding-ring-bowls/#more-173106

  9. tartlet Member
    tartlet 3227 posts, Sugar bee @ 10:20 am

    I’m so glad that the timing worked out (in more ways than one)! Such a beautiful, personal addition to your ceremony. :)

  10. Member
    njmeetsbx 1668 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:59 am

    Yay! I was so looking forward to your post about this. We definitely want to incorporate this. How many guests did you have?

  11. hippo Member
    hippo 1012 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:03 pm

    @NJmeetsBX: We had right at 100 guests, but we split the rings up, so they only had to circulate through about 50 guests. Good luck! I hope it works out for you… I am so happy that we did it.

  12. Member
    loves day 59 posts, Worker bee @ 12:04 pm

    I have been thinking of doing this but wasn’t sure how to explain this to the priest. We may not be able to do it before the ceremony but hope to be able to do it at the rehearsal. This song, your pictures, and just imagining what is would be like to be able to say a quick prayer over the rings brought tears to my eye. I have loved being a part of your wedding. Thank you

  13. misssparkler Member
    misssparkler 488 posts, Helper bee @ 1:53 pm

    So nice that someone in your house party was able to catch what was happening and get the rings to your mom! And love, LOVE, LOVE the Ryan song you chose. Love that guy.

  14. cola Member
    cola 2827 posts, Sugar bee @ 5:44 pm

    So sweet! I really think this is my favorite of the newer wedding traditions!

  15. ostrich Member
    ostrich 2402 posts, Buzzing bee @ 5:04 am

    wonderwall = LOVE
    hippo ring warming ceremony = DOUBLE LOVE
    amazing post, lady. :)

  16. Member
    Mis Iris 218 posts, Helper bee @ 4:41 pm

    OMG, how much do I love this idea!!! I can’t believe it, but I’m sitting here on my couch crying my eyes out. And I don’t even know you. Good thing I’m in the privacy of my family room! Would it by OK if I tried to find a way to put this in my ceremony? We will even call it the hippo ring warming–and only the bee-savy guests will get it. :)

  17. hippo Member
    hippo 1012 posts, Bumble bee @ 6:29 pm

    @Mis Iris: You are too funny! I definitely stole the idea from someone else, so feel free to steal away!

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