With This Ring I Thee Wed

One element of marriage that is considered to be absolutely indispensable is the wedding ring. You can get married in a hotel, have the reception in a bar, forget flowers altogether, spend the night before together in the marital home, travel to the venue in the same car – or on the bus, for all it matters – and invite everyone you know on the “honeymoon”. None of this stops it being a marriage in any important sense, but without a ring, the ceremony is just about impossible. 

It is part of the vows, in most ceremonies. One of the first things you say to one another is “with this ring I thee wed”, and the placing of the ring on your spouse’s ring finger symbolises the creation of a contract of sorts between you both. This contract will be potentially invalidated by your breaking of the vows (hence the “forsaking all others” line among other sections”) and is symbolised physically by the presence of the ring. Therefore when you are out without your spouse, the presence of a ring on your finger symbolises that you are not “available” to others. 

The ring does not need to be gold. It does not, strictly speaking, need to be anything except that it should encircle your ring finger and demonstrate your commitment to your spouse. You don’t need to spend a large amount on it, but you must remember what it symbolises and then you can get on with being married, once the presiding authority pronounces you man and wife.