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Regularly read by 50,000+ readers in over 140 countries around the world, "Dear Bro Jo" is published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (with occasional additional posts, too).

This is column is just one guy's opinion, and while he does his best to keep what he thinks, says and writes in-line with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Bro Jo is not a spokesman or authority for the LDS Church. (And Sister Jo thinks you should know that he's sometimes wrong, and often way too opinionated for his own good.)

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Is a Ring Ceremony Appropriate?

Dear Bro Jo,

I love your blog!

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions. You're advice is awesome - in fact, I followed your advice in how to get a guy to ask you out on a date, and he ended up being my future husband!

I'll tell you the story because it's thanks to your advice that helped us along.

We were at a YSA activity. I thought he was really cute, and I wanted him to ask me out. So I remembered your advice, and asked him, "Have you been able to go to (a certain fun area of the world) yet?" He said "No, I have been wanting to go though." And I said, "Well, I go pretty often, so if you ever need a tour guide I would be happy to go!" The result was him asking for my number, setting up the first date to go to that area, and that was the beginning of a wonderful relationship. This honestly happened because I read your advice before I attended a YSA activity, and used the tips you had written about. Thank you so much! Now I hope you can help with some advice about planning our wedding. I just have a question about ring ceremonies. My fiance and I want to have one, because we have some close family members who won't be in the temple with us for the sealing. I am just curious about what sort of guidelines there are about having a ring ceremony? We are planning on having it right before our reception at the venue. We were thinking of sharing brief, simple expressions of love with each other or, and then exchanging rings. We were also thinking of exchanging vows/promises as well, or including promises in our two minute... speeches? (Not sure what to call them). But I just want to make sure we don't take away from the temple sealing. Do you have any advice on what an ideal program would be, and what guidelines there are about that event? Is it okay to share promises along with our expressions of love for each other? What is appropriate to say in our expressions of love prior to exchanging rings? I want it to be special for our family, but not be like a second wedding, or take away from our sealing. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks again!

Best,

- Happily Engaged




Dear Engaged,

Well . . . no one has ever said anything more wonderful than your report on using the "How to Get a Guy to Ask You on a Date"!

Your Sealing will be one of the most unique, important, and powerful things you do, so that's pretty hard to take away from.

There are no official guidelines for a "Ring Ceremony".

In fact, there's really no way to do anything like that without it seeming like a "second wedding". And really, isn't that the point?

Trying to make those that are not able to enter the Temple at this time feel like they haven't missed out?

Particularly those that aren't members and have an expectation of the type of ceremony we've come to see in movies?

There was an interesting Q & A in the Ensign a little over 10 years ago that you may want to check out HERE.

Which is not to say that I don't totally understand where you're coming from.

While we embrace and celebrate our culture and Eternal Covenants, we do not do the Lord any favors when those not of our faith feel belittled or excluded.

One of the best pieces of advice that I picked up from that Ensign article is to bring up how things work Early, so there are no surprises.

Invite those that are immediate family members to gather in the Temple waiting room.

Include them in pictures taken at the Temple.

Feel free to describe the Sealing Room, the general outline of what was said and how you felt.

On a personal level I have no problem with, perhaps at the reception (outside the Temple is, IMHO, inappropriate), calling everyone to attention and doing the following:



BRO JO'S GUIDE to an LDS RING EXCHANGE 

I. Introduction   "Welcome, everyone, to this celebration of this new Eternal Family. Today __________ &; _________ were Sealed for Time and All Eternity in the _________ Temple.

There they have made covenants to love and honor each other, to help each other grow closer unto God not just in this life, but forever. At this time they would like to say a few words to each other and exchange rings."

II. New Husband speaks and places ring on finger.

III. New Wife speaks and places ring on finger.

IV. Closing "Congratulations to Mr & Mrs ______________________" (Applause is okay if traditional.)

"Thank you all for being here. We've now asked _______________________ to give a prayer on the refreshments."


Short. Simple. 

And notice that the prayer comes AFTER and I don't use the word "ceremony".



Congratulations on your Sealing!

Marriage is hard work, but worth every effort you give. And, remember,

Communication is the Key!

Cheers,

- Bro Jo



*Readers:  On our Facebook Page one dear sister mentioned how she and her husband gave small presents to the opposite parents to say "thank you for raising this person I've married in such a way that has made our eternal marriage possible" - I think that's BRILLIANT! - (especially in a case where one or more parents are not, at this time, able to enter the Temple) so I wanted to make sure to add it here.

Eternal Covenants should, IMHO, not be delayed to make allowances for those that need to repent.  No one should have that kind of control over the Spiritual progression of another.

And I agree with the comments made, if words are said, an expression of love is appropriate; a vow is not.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and stories!

Cheers,


- Bro Jo

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