All these rituals can be used simply or developed into a more elaborate ceremony depending on your desire.
The following are rituals and meaningful symbolism, which may be included in you ceremony. I have given a brief description and if you would like more detail please ask me.
We have all heard the expressions “tied the knot” or “giving one’s hand in marriage”. It’s in reference to the ancient tradition of handfasting. The bride and groom’s hands are joined together, usually holding hands so the wrists and pulses are touching. Their hands are then wrapped with ribbons or cord. The wrists remained linked while the vows are exchanged after which time the hands are removed making the knot a keep safe. This ceremony can be as simple or as elaborate as you desire. The beauty of this ritual is that it will actively include members of the wedding party or others whom you may like to incorporate into the ceremony.
Spectacular and enchanting, releasing butterflies is an unforgettable experience for all! The butterfly has long been symbolic of new beginnings, good fortune and joy. Releasing butterflies is a colourful, lively and environmentally friendly alternative to rice, confetti or balloons. The butterflies are released to carry forth the good news of your love and commitment for each other.
The release of doves signifies love, hope and freedom. In ancient cultures, the groom would give a dove to the bride, symbolizing his promise to help care for her and for the family. Countless dreams and wishes have been launched on the wings of a dove, and with careful planning the inclusion of doves in the wedding ceremony can be amazing.
Doves pair up for life, so they are a true representation of love and the eternal commitment that couples have made.
The Rose Ceremony is simple yet profoundly moving. The bride and groom exchange two red roses, symbolizing the giving and receiving 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.
The bride and groom each take a lit candle and simultaneously light a third larger “unity candle.” They may blow out their individual lights, or leave them lit, symbolizing that they have not lost their individuality in their unity and that the flame will light their path to guide them through future joys and challenges, over their lifetime together.
‘Light is the essence of our existence. Each one of us possesses an inner glow that represents our hopes, our dreams and aspirations in life.’
The goblet of wine is symbolic of the cup of life. “As you share this wine, you promise to share all that the future will bring. All the sweetness the cup of life holds for you is sweeter because you drink it together; and whatever drops of bitterness it contains are less because they are shared.”
Bride and groom sip from goblet.
The sand is used to symbolize the uniting of the bride and groom. Their separate lives are symbolized by two vials of sand (usually different colours). After the exchange of rings the Bride and Groom come together, and pour into one vial, the two individual vials of sand. The flowing sand symbolizes the joining of the couple as they share their first experience of unity as husband and wife. The newly formed union is represented by the intertwined pattern of sand created by the couple. This symbol is then a keepsake of your wedding day.
A sand ceremony is also a flexible ritual, which can be adapted to include children and other family members.
The warming of the rings ceremony could take place where the rings are handed amongst the guests whom warm them with their love and say a silent blessing.
Another approach to this blessing would be for a select few bless the rings and say their blessing out loud.
During the reading of the Bride and Groom’s wedding vows, they hold an Oathing Stone in their hands. It is believed that holding the stone during the reading of the vows casts them into the stone. Hence the term ‘set in stone’
The Oathing Stone can be engraved with the couple’s initials in the middle, accompanied by the groom and bride’s initials and date of their wedding.
Casting a circle, where the guests encircle the bride and groom in an embracing ritual which symbolises the couple being in a sacred space, surrounded by the love and support of family and friends.
Or the couple could create a circle with flowers, stones or draw a circle in the sand….this signifies the sacred place in which the ceremony and exchange of vows will take place.
Exchanging rings could be considered a gift giving and a sealing of the vows but sometimes there maybe another significant item, which either party feels strongly about ie; a ancestral necklace or watch. The giving of this can be incorporated into the ceremony.
A circle of broad band ribbon can be decorated with shells and set out to define the ceremonial space. A heart shape made out of stones or flowers can be created with the last stone at the point of the heart shape being placed by the father of the bride when he gives the bride away. The groom, who has been waiting for his bride outside the circle takes her hand (at the giving away) and they both step into the scared circle.
Archways, topiaries, flags, balloons, carpets are all lovely inclusions.
As the bride enters key people give her a flower, this loving gesture gives an intimacy to the start of the ceremony. The final flower can be given by the groom to complete her bouquet.
A loving gesture could be that within the bride’s bouquet are two small corsages for the 2 mothers, given with an embrace by both the bride and the groom.
The Seven Steps offers divine blessings for the duration of the couple’s married life. The couple walk around a lamp seven times and with each rotation a blessing is offered for every aspect of marriage, ie; family, relationship, finances etc.
The ringing of bells when a bride arrives can create great ceremony. The bell can also be used to call for attention after the signing and for the final announcement of husband and wife. A drum can create a similar drama and stir the emotions.
This is a most tender and loving blessing, which can be incorporated with the ring ceremony. It blesses the hands of the bride and groom with a ceremonial earnestness, which creates a deeply moving and genuine sense that love is present. eg, Bless the hands that you see before you as these are the hands which will hold your family as one….
Wine is a symbol of joy and celebration. It captures the warm sun, the life giving rain, the rich soil and the passion of life itself.
A fine wine is sealed in a box with personal vows (a letter) written for each other. The box is nailed shut and the intention is that the box will be opened at the 10 year anniversary. The wine will be consumed while the letters of love are read.
During ancient times, agreements and promises were sealed by a salt covenant. Each person would take a pinch of salt from their pouch and place it in the pouch of the other. This agreement could not be broken unless an individual could retrieve their own grains of salt.
Salt represents the flavor of life. Today we are bringing two flavors together.
Balloon Releases are surprisingly powerful visual representations of blessings and wishes being taken into the beyond. Attach wishes and release, see and feel the magic of the balloons as they drift up and away.
Using eco friendly balloons for Balloon Releases gives you the confidence that you are not littering the environment.
The tying of Bahia bands is a Brazilian tradition which is symbolic of faith and good fortune.
Thought to bring the wearer good luck, the colour of the band is chosen for the properties or message which that colour conveys.
In a wedding ceremony the band is tied around the bride and grooms wrists, knotting it three times. With each knot a wish is made. Tradition suggests that when the band organically falls from the body the wishes will come true.
This simple ritual can incorporate others into the ceremony by getting them to do the tying ( i.e. the mother’s could tie and knot the bands on their child’s wrist) or even all the guests could have their own bands. There are so many wonderful way to use this simple time honoured tradition.