The Symbolism of Wedding Bells

Updated December 17, 2018
bride and groom ringing bell

Learning about wedding bells symbolism can help couples decide whether or not to include them in their wedding ceremony and reception. The bells indicate happiness and luck for those who choose to include them.

History of Wedding Bells

Wedding bells are an integral part of many ceremonies, especially religious ones.

Wedding Bells Meaning

Church bells used to ring loud and clear across the countryside in rural areas. It was a way to spread the news of an event that occurred at the church, whether it was announcing a service, funeral, or wedding. Wedding superstition follows the thought that the bells would scare off evil spirits intent on ruining the new couple's happiness. The bells were thought to bring luck and fortune to the newlyweds. Irish weddings often incorporated bells for this reason.

When to Sound the Bells

The church bells would be rung as the couple walked down the aisle together or came out of the church. Some place that tradition as originating in Scotland. The wedding bells are often rung today as part of the wedding ceremony, to begin and end the service.

Wedding Bells Symbolism Today

In the twenty-first century and beyond, wedding traditions like bells have continued to be popular symbols of marriage. Although the superstition of warding off evil spirits has faded, they are still rung as a symbolic way to celebrate the couple's new life together.

Bells Joined With a Bow

Wedding bell graphics used as ceremony and wedding reception decorations usually depict two bells joined at the top by a bow. This may be a symbolic depiction of the individuals (bride and groom, bride and bride, or groom and groom) who were brought together as one in the marriage ceremony.

Bell Color

Bell symbols are frequently silver or gold in color. Both are popular metal choices for wedding ring sets. A 25th wedding anniversary is called the "silver" anniversary, while the 50th anniversary is referred to as the "golden" anniversary. However, couples can also choose to have wedding bells symbols in their ceremony and reception that match their wedding color ideas.

Symbolic Bell Theme

wedding bell decoration

With the history of wedding bells and their meaning of love and a new life, couples often choose to theme their wedding around the symbol. Bell representations can be used throughout the wedding:

  • As a graphic on wedding invitation cards
  • On the wedding programs
  • As an alternative to pew bows
  • Hung from the ceiling at the wedding reception
  • As part of the wedding reception centerpiece
  • On top of the wedding cake

Bells used as decorations in weddings are usually tissue wedding bells or plastic wedding bells. Couples can hand out small bells as favors after the ceremony and guests can ring them when the newlyweds exit the church. Guests can also use wedding bell favors at the dinner to entice the couple to kiss in front of everyone.

Hand Bell Wedding Music

Wedding ceremony music could include a hand bell choir. By choosing a love song for weddings, couples can add to the symbolic meaning of wedding bells. The hand bell choir may belong to the church where the ceremony takes place or they may be part of a larger orchestra.

Hiring a hand bell choir is a way to include wedding bells symbolism in a ceremony that does not take place in a church. Hand bells are easily transported, making them perfect for an outdoor, garden or backyard wedding. Choirs may even know how to mimic the sounds of a large church bell at the end of the ceremony.

Joyous Noise of Bells

The use of wedding bells symbolism is a historical wedding tradition that continues to be popular in modern society. Although the folklore of warding off evil and bad luck has dissipated, the bells continue to symbolize love, joy, and the start of a new life together for couples who get married.

The Symbolism of Wedding Bells