Stay up to date with the latest wedding ceremony trends, script writing inspiration, tips and advice for first-time officiants, and news that matters to couples and wedding ministers.

Who Holds the Rings in a Wedding Ceremony? (And When Do They Hand Them Over?)

Published Monday, May. 1st, 2023

Photo: Kumar Saurabh / Pexels

“With this ring, I thee wed” … Wait, who has the rings? 



Listen now: 

AMM Audio Articles · Who Holds the Rings in a Wedding Ceremony? (And When Do They Hand Them Over?)




Many couples choose to exchange rings (or other jewelry) during their wedding ceremony, as a lasting symbol of their marriage vows and a daily reminder of their devotion to each other.


Rings are usually exchanged after the couple shares their marriage vows, although the ceremony’s exact order is up to the couple getting married. Some couples choose to exchange their rings and vows at the same time – reciting their vows as they place the ring on their partner’s finger – or before another unity ritual (like tying a handfasting cord).



No matter when the ring exchange happens, it’s essential to decide who will hold onto the rings during the ceremony. 



Photo shows a large wedding outdoors. The bride and groom stand in front of the wedding officiant, with bridesmaids and groomsman to either side of them. There is a large crowd of family and friends watching. The scenery is lush green palm trees, a large tree with moss, palm fronds, a tropical setting

Photo: Oliver Li / Pexels

In a large wedding like this one, the wedding attendants closest to the couple usually hold onto the rings until it's time for the ring exchange. 




Who holds the rings during a wedding ceremony? 


There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question.


Here are a few common options: 


  • A member (or members) of the wedding party, such as a Best Man or Person of Honor
  • A beloved parent or elder 
  • The Officiant (if they are comfortable doing this)
  • The rings might be placed on a small table or altar until the exchange
  • Or the couple might hold onto the rings themselves


And sometimes, this is a job for multiple people! This is where the ring bearer comes in…


Many traditional weddings include a ‘ring bearer’ – someone whose role it is to carry the couple’s rings down the aisle at the start of the ceremony (during the wedding procession). 


Often, a ring bearer is a child with a close relationship to the couple (such as a niece or nephew), but this can be anyone the couple chooses. 


After their walk down the aisle, the ring bearer will pass the rings to the ring holder, who will keep them safe until it’s time for the ring exchange. The ring holder might be asked to stand at the altar beside the couple, or they might take a seat in the front row. 


This episode of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood is a great way to show children what to do as a ring bearer in a ceremony... along with other great tips about attending a wedding! Watch now on PBS: Neighborhood Wedding


As you can see, it’s up to the couple and their wedding officiant to decide who will hold the rings during the ceremony. This is a great opportunity to have friends and family participate! Choose a loved one who’s responsible, comfortable in front of a crowd, and who won’t misplace the rings on the big day. 



Speaking of misplacing the wedding rings, read why every wedding officiant should keep a few fake rings around:  


How a Fake Wedding Ring Can Save the Ceremony

Close up photo of a woman with pink nail polish holding two gold wedding rings




Read Next: 




AMM Logo - two gold interlocking wedding rings with three blue stars above




Propose to your wedding officiant with the


Will You Marry Us? Gift Box


The Will You Marry Us? Gift Box is a sweet and memorable way to ask a friend or family member to officiate your wedding. This decorative gift box includes everything your officiant-to-be needs to perform your ceremony, including a copy of the AMM Minister Manual, a copy of Asked to Officiate (the step by step guidebook on writing and delivering a custom wedding ceremony), a satin officiant's stole, lapel pin, tote, and more!


We'll also send your officiant their minister credentials, including an Ordination Certificate and Letter of Good Standing, and any minister licensing materials needed in your state. 






Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

How To Officiate By State

Will You Marry Us? Gift Package

Who Will Officiate Your Wedding?

Choose Your Officiant with our "Will You Marry Us?" Gift Package.

Signature Wedding Officiant Package

Signature Wedding Officiant Package

Our premiere package contains everyting you need to officiate like a pro.

The Book of Wedding Vows and Ceremonies

The Book of Wedding Vows and Ceremonies

It's finally here! Timeless scripts and heartfelt vow inspiration to bring life to your ceremony.

Professional Wedding Officiant Certification Course

Learn from the Pros to Officiate with Confidence!

Wedding Officiant Training

Wedding Officiant Training

Everything you need to know to officiate.

Read our sample wedding ceremony scripts online

Sample Wedding Ceremony Scripts

Need inspiration? Check out our free ceremony scripts!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter!


Become a Wedding Officiant with Our Free Online Ordination!