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Wedding Ceremony Rituals & Traditions



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. 

Hand-fasting or Hands

There are many variations of the traditional hand-fasting. 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 hand-fasting knot that is tied is a symbolic representation of oneness between the couple. In a show of unity, they become bound to each other. This ritual can also be done without using a cord.

Sand

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

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

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. 

Memory Bell

The memory bell ceremony is a great way to remember those who have passed and honor the role they played in one or both of the couple’s lives. It may mention advice the couple was given and/or may be represented by items used in the ceremony or at the reception such as the wine glasses used to make a toast.

Unity Puzzle

The unity puzzle ceremony is perfect for a blended family wedding and is a terrific way to involve the children in your ceremony. It is shaped in a complete circle. The circle is never ending. At the time of the ceremony each member of the family places their puzzle piece in the puzzle tray to complete the circle.

Tree Planting

A Tree planting ceremony is a great option when couples are getting married in their own back yard. It's great for gardeners or couples who love the outdoors. Planting a tree together, setting down roots together. Often, couples will bring dirt from each of their family's homes to the plant or tree they grow together. If you don't have a home yet you can pot a small tree you will plant when you find your own house with a yard together. ​

Breaking of the Glass

Symbolically, the breaking of the glass reminds us of the fragile nature of life. The custom has also come to symbolize the shattering of the old and the beginning of the new. The breaking of the glass insures the uniqueness of the moment that arises and passes away, a letting go of the past and looking forward to the future.

Memory Candle

This single candle represents any loved ones who have passed and symbolizes their spiritual presence at your ceremony. The candle is lit in memory of their absence, but in recognition of their love and family ties.

Jumping the Broom

Jumping the broom is a phrase and custom where the couple jumps over a broom. The tradition of Jumping the Broom symbolizes sweeping away the old and welcoming the new—a symbol of a new beginning.

Bubble Blessing

Bubbles are a fun way of ending the wedding ceremony. This takes place just before the bride and groom recess down the aisle as a married couple.

Rose

The couple exchange a single red rose which symbolizes their love and commitment to each other on their wedding day and forever. Another variation is that after walking down the aisle, the couple gives a rose to each of their new mother-in-laws. 

Native American Wedding Vase Ritual

During this ceremony, the couple drink from the vessel from separate spouts. By drawing spiritual nourishment from the same source, they are expressing their willingness to bind their paths along the same journey. 

Unity Bowl

In this ceremony, the couple chooses a glass bowl that they'd like to have in their home. Each person involved pours colored marbles or colored glass rocks into the glass bowl--each person has a separate color. When everyone has poured their colors in, including the bride & groom, the layers of separate colors are swirled into one big mosaic--a true blending of lives into an ongoing, living piece of art.

Sharing of the Wine

This is a tradition where the couple drinks three times from the same cup. The first is a drink to friendship, the second to commitment of love and the third represents the unity of spirit. 

Tibetan Bells or Singing Bowls

Tibetan Bells or Singing Bowls are ancient chimes which are commonly used nowadays for the purposes of meditation, healing and welcoming presence. They are often rung at the beginning of the ceremony to sanctify the space and then again at the end to "close out" the ceremony. The sound of the bells or bowls invites us to stop, be present, and recognize that wherever we gather to observe, recognize, acknowledge, pay tribute or celebrate is truly a sacred space and sacred time.