Below is a listing of some of the popular as well as less traditional rituals that couples include in their wedding ceremony to make it move from ordinary to extraordinary. Take the idea- use it as is or change and modify it to fit you on a more personal level. For each description, keep in mind that music can be played in the background and ceremony wording can be spoken by the officiant. There are many beautiful examples of wording that can be found or it can be written for you to have a more personalized meaning.
Unity Candle Ceremony
unity candle. These are set on a table off to the side of the ceremony.
This can be performed in a variety of ways. One way is have a representative from each family, such as the mothers of the bride and groom, each light a
taper candle before the ceremony starts. Later in the ceremony, often after the vows and exchanging of rings, the bride and groom use the two taper candles to light the larger pillar candle together, symbolizing the uniting of two lives and their individual families into one.
Another very popular wedding tradition signifying unity, which uses sand instead of candles. Three containers are placed on a table, two smaller ones, each filled with a different color sand, and a center larger container. When the ceremony is performed, the couple blends their individual containers of sand together into a larger vessel that blends the grains.
This ceremony lends itself easily to those who are blending families with children. The children can be part of the ceremony, each with their own container of sand, as the symbolism of the new blended family is created.
of their love for each other throughout their entire married life. The Rose Ceremony also conveys how to use the rose and its symbolism in difficult times
in order to forgive each other.
Roses can also be presented to those special people who have played a significant role in the lives of the couple. What better way to say thank you, than during your ceremony! The presentation of roses shows both gratitude and respect for the major contributions these people have made. They can be given to your parents, or any person you would like to honor such as stepparents or grandparents.
This is one of my favorites to incorporate into a wedding ceremony. Stones are placed on everyone's seat. At the beginning of the ceremony an explanation is given. The stones are held by the guests, who think of well wishes and blessings for the couple as they hold the stone throughout the ceremony. They are collected on the way out, being placed in a special container. This becomes the first wedding gift they receive. It can later be displayed in their home. Every time they look at the container is a reminder of their wedding day and all those who were there to celebrate with them.
Handfasting involves binding the hands of the couple with ribbon or cord in a public to symbolize marriage vows. The tradition is believed to be ancient, deriving from Celtic tribes that were widespread in Europe before Christianity. This is where the term tying the knot evolved from.
The symbolic act typically involves fastening a couple's hands together with cording, ribbon, twine or a silk sash while prayers are recited and vows are exchanged. Although there are many ways to do this, couples can use a single string or braid three strings together to represent the intertwining of the two individual lives into one. Often four to six feet in length, the threads consist of any color or material and may contain specific gemstones or charms to bless the marriage.
Jumping the Broom has its roots in Aftrican culture. It is a ceremony in which the bride and groom, either at the ceremony or at the reception, signify their entrance into a new life and their creation of a new family by symbolically "sweeping away" their former single lives, former problems and concerns, and jumping over the broom to enter upon a new adventure as wife and husband.
Breaking Bread Ceremony
Breaking the Bread comes from Eastern European tradition. Typically after a couple was married, upon arriving at their new home they were greeted by their parents with bread, salt, and sometimes wine. The bread represented the parents’ hope that their children would never experience hunger; the salt reminded the couple that their life might be difficult at times and they must learn to cope with life’s struggles. The wine symbolized the parents’ hope that the couple would never know thirst and enjoy a life of good health and cheer in the company of good friends.
A homemade loaf of flat bread is presented to the couple often by their parents. The bride and groom each take a small piece which can be dipped into a little salt or honey before taking a bite. The bread is then passed along to family members who do the same, symbolizing the coming together of the two families.
The butterfly release symbolizes the celebrating of a transition, representing the idea of letting go and the start of a new beginning, recognizing a new chapter of life has opened. This creates a beautiful and spectacular ending to an enchanting wedding ceremony.
This is a ceremony that involves a bit of preparation ahead of time by the couple. A special box is selected, and a bottle of wine with two glasses is placed inside. The bride and groom then write a heartfelt letter to each other which is sealed.
Toward the end of the wedding the Officiant will state the purpose of the Love Letter & Wine Box Ceremony, explaining the reasons for the sealed letters. The box will then be nailed shut (or locked). The Officiant begins with the first nail, followed by the Bride and Groom sealing the box shut. If you like you can have each member of your wedding party step up and place a nail in the box as well. A predetermined anniversary is decided upon, at which time the box will be opened, unless there is a time that your marriage is going through a very challenging period, you may wish to open it then, and share your letters to each other as a reminder of all the reasons you chose to share your life together.
There are many more traditions and rituals that can be placed into your ceremony to make it unique and personal, but this is a start to give you some ideas to go with.
If you are looking for an officiant for your special day, and are in the area I serve, I would be delighted to help you plan the ceremony!