Wedding Ceremony Rituals

Raleigh Wedding Officiant Gwen Downs


There are many variations of the traditional handfasting. After the bride and groom both declare their intent to enter into this union, the hands of the couple are clasped forming an infinity symbol and fastened together with a cord or cords just before, just after, or during their vows are made to one another.  The handfasting knot that is tied is a symbolic representation of oneness between the couple. In a show of unity, they become bound to each other.  

Sand Ceremony

A popular ceremony for beach weddings is the Unity Sand Ceremony. Using two containers of different colored sands representing the individual lives of the couple, each of them pours the sand into a third container. This represents their new life together as one, just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again – a symbol of their new life together as one. 

Unity Candle

The Unity Candle Ceremony symbolizes the joining of the couple and the two families; it symbolizes two lives becoming one. There are a number of variances to the candle lighting ceremony and it can be customized to your unique relationship. If you are creating a new blended family, you may wish to include the children in the lighting of the Unity Candle. Often this is done by having the bride and groom light the candle for the children and then everyone lighting the center candle together. This is an excellent way to involve children from a previous marriage. 

Warming of the Rings

This ceremony is popular with a smaller wedding party and is often initiated at the start of the wedding rather than during the vows. The rings are placed in a small organza bag and passed among all the guests to hold, thus giving their personal blessing before they are received by the couple who then exchange the rings. With a ring warming in your ceremony the rings will not only be a gift from one to another, but will be given with the love, support and wisdom of all who are present. 

Love Lock Ceremony

In a Love Lock Ceremony, the Bride and Groom lock their individual heart padlocks together as one. They may then assure that the keys that first opened their hearts can never be used to separate what has been joined in their wedding. Sometimes the keys are tossed into a place from which they can never be retrieved. Sometimes they are tied to helium balloons and released. Sometimes the keys are buried in a meaningful location or melted in a fire. Sometimes they are kept and displayed as a reminder of the love that brought them together.   

Love Letter and Wine Box Ceremony

A Love Letter and Wine Box ceremony will serve as a lasting reminder of the commitments made to one another. Heartfelt letters, encapsulating your thoughts and feelings are locked away in a wine box to be revealed several years into your marriage.  Whiskey, Scotch or Tequila can easily be switched out for the wine. 

Rituals give us a touchstone, something to hold on to when times are challenging. Long after the pretty words from your wedding begin to fade from memory, you will always remember your ritual. If you can light a candle, hold hands, and look at each other through your future challenges, you will have mastered this concept. Yes, rituals are important.    

These are just a few of the many rituals you can choose from. If you decide to include a ritual or rituals in your ceremony, you are responsible for providing any and all props needed along with a small skirted table to place them upon.