Ring bearers have a long history in the wedding tradition. It’s believed that the practice began in ancient Egypt. This is because it was customary for Egyptian wedding ceremonies to entrust an adult with carrying precious gems and jewels to the altar on a decorative pillow. These gems and jewels weren’t always jewelry. Sometimes these items were dowry gifts or simply presents to bless and provide good fortune to the marriage.
In the Medieval era, a person would carry the ring down the aisle on a pillow so well-off families could display their wealth. Pillows, especially embroidered or adorned ones, were rare and thus symbols of riches.
Our current ring bearer tradition is likely adopted from the Victorian-era page boy who assisted the bride down the aisle by carrying the train of the her wedding dress. Eventually, this page boy duty transitioned to the modern ring bearer that we see today.
Ring Bearer Responsibilities
The ring bearer is tasked with getting the rings down the aisle so that the bride and groom can exchange their rings while taking their vows. In a traditional wedding procession, the ring bearer comes down the aisle after the maid of honor and bridesmaids, directly before the flower girls who precede the bride.
The ring bearer carries something, often a pillow or ring box, that holds the wedding rings the couple is going to exchange. Once they get to the altar, the ring bearer typically hands the rings off to either the officiant or the best man. Then, depending on the ring bearer’s age and length of the ceremony, they can either stand with the rest of the party at the altar or sit down.
Decision Regarding Children
As an integral part of the ceremony, the ring bearer will need to attend the rehearsal and should also get an invitation to the reception. Traditional ring bearer etiquette says all wedding party members should also attend the reception. However, if your ring bearer is a child and you’re planning a childless event, that is up to you to decide.