The Groom's Ring: What the Bride Should Say
Traditionally, the bride did not give the groom a ring under the chuppah, and according to the Talmud and Jewish law an exchange of rings was never considered effective in generating a Jewish legal marriage bond. Non-Orthodox rabbis, depending on their denomination, will often permit an exchange of rings.
If they do, most will allow the bride to recite the same words that the groom has recited when he gave her a ring, or she may utilize other words from traditional sources or of her own composition.
Some Orthodox rabbis do permit the bride to give the groom a ring under the chuppah, though not in exchange for the ring he gives to her. Orthodox rabbis who permit the bride to give the groom a ring under the chuppah will usually only permit it at the end of the ceremony just before or just after the seven blessings. This way, it is clear that this is not a trade of one ring for another.
Instead, it is a ring given from the groom to the bride to effect the kiddushin and a ring given from the bride to the groom as a symbol of her love and his commitment. When the bride does give a ring to the groom at an Orthodox or traditional wedding, she may recite words she has authored or she may use words of love and commitment from traditional Jewish sources such as King Solomon's love poem, Shir Hashirim, the Song of Songs.
In Jewish tradition, the Song of Songs, which is part of the Jewish Bible, is viewed not just as a love poem between two lovers, describing their feelings of intimacy and distance, their love, their fears, and their praise for each other, but as a metaphorical depiction of the relationship and love between God and the Jewish people. Shir Hashirim, the Song of Songs, is one of the most popular sources for phrases expressing the love of bride and groom.
Some phrases in the Song of Songs with which the lovers describe each other, though resonant for the day in which it was written, may be culturally strange today. For instance, Chapter 7, Verse 3: “Your belly is like a heap of wheat.”
The Song of Songs is a vast and holy treasure trove of statements about love from which to draw many aspects of a wedding. As a couple you can read the book together, finding phrases for the header of your invitation, for the bride's words to the groom when she gives him a ring, and for the cover of your bencher or wedding booklet.