There are virtually thousands of ways to unite and celebrate your love. Sometimes the difficulty is crafting a unique ceremony which matches rituals with a couple’s ideals. We have to remember a wedding ceremony is the union of two individuals, very often with separate belief systems and different perspectives on what marriage means to them.
For this reason I love to chat and get an insight into each distinctive personality. There is no reason why a ceremony can’t have many different representations of Non-Religious, Semi-Religious, Mixed Faith & Spiritual symbolism. There is equally no reason why the doctrine of Star Trek, Lord or the Rings, Dr Seuss or whatever your predisposition, should not have a place in your day.
I have a few of my favourite ceremony enhancements below, but be mindful this not a comprehensive list, don’t be afraid to step out of the norm and mix it up a bit:
- Ring warming
- Wine Box Time Capsule
- Salt ceremony
- Tree Planting Ceremony
- Unity Candle
- Unity Cross
- Blending of the Sands
- Wishing Stones
- Sky Lanterns
- Jumping the Broom
- Sharing of the Wine – Unity Cup
I have further explained the most popular
There is a huge growing trend in incorporating old Irish traditions into wedding ceremonies and couples are choosing to ‘tie the knot’ more and more. Handfasting dates back to Celtic times and in Brehon law a marriage was made legal by the binding of hands.
The ceremony can be amended to suit individual tastes. You can use one cord (in a material of your choosing)and have the hands wrapped by me or you can choose a variety of colours and have a selection of your guests lay them over the hands. Each colour represents a gift or blessing bestowed upon the marriage. This can be a lovely way to include family and friends in the ceremony.
It usually happens after the ring exchange and the photographer can get some nice shots of the hands wrapped in bright coloured ribbons with the wedding rings on. The ties represent the bind of the vows made and the knot represents the union of the two coming together as one.
Unity Candle Ceremony:
A Unity Candle Ceremony is a lovely addition to any marriage ceremony as it symbolises the light which is given to each of you by your respective family members to light your path together.
A Unity Candle set consists of two slender candles and a large centre candle. Usually the candles are white in colour. The Unity Candle Ceremony is a popular choice for both religious and non-religious ceremonies because it is non-denominational and has no religious significance.
The two outer candles represent the couple’s individual lives before joining in marriage. They represent all that you are and all that you have ever been, they also represent your individual families. Each of the couple take a single candle and light the centre candle, signifying the coming together as one.
Family members and close friends can be incorporated in the ceremony. A piece of music or a reciting of a poem / verse can complement the ceremony – I can supply ideas from my extensive library of resources.
A Sand Ceremony or Blending of the Sand is a unique way to symbolize two lives becoming one. Usually In religious or spiritual ceremonies, there is a joining of two or more coloured sands. The couple’s individual lives are represented by separate coloured sands in separate containers which are poured in layers into a larger centre container. As the sands intermix the grains become indistinguishable and can never again be separated. The parts of each person’s life, their talents, character traits, sets of friends and all that they bring form part of the rich tapestry of the whole union.
Some couples choose colours to represent their family crests, their nationalities or just their favourite colours. The large container is sealed at the end and is kept as a treasured memento of the marriage ceremony.
This is also a wonderful way to include children. They can be given their own container with their own unique colour to represent their part in the family as a whole. Having said that, if they are very young it is unlikely the sand will end up anywhere other than the floor but this has its charm too.
Another old Irish tradition is ring warming. This is a fantastic way to include your guests. The rings are passed among your guests and each person gets to hold the rings. While each guests holds the rings, they either give a silent blessing or wish for the bride and the groom. Generally the rings are secured to a pillow or bowl by a string. As an alternative, you can set up a table at the entrance of your ceremony venue giving your guests an opportunity to ‘warm’ the rings as they walk in. This works well especially for larger weddings of over 100 guests. By the time the rings return they will be saturated with the love of your family and friends.
In 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.
During the ceremony the bride and groom each carry a container of pure salt to a larger container. Both pour their salt into the container, symbolizing their two lives being intertwined and inseparable. The salt is mixed together so that no one can separate the bride’s grains of salt from those of the groom.
Wine box ceremony:
This box contains a bottle of wine, and a love letter from each to the other. The letters describe the positive qualities you find in one another, the reasons you fell in love, and your reasons for choosing to marry. The letters are sealed in individual envelopes and you do not see what the other has written. You will have created your very own “romantic” time capsule to be opened on your a wedding anniversary or on a date of your choosing.
I recommend that you keep the box in a place of honour prominently displayed in your home as a constant reminder of your commitment to each other.
Also, should you ever find your marriage being tested; open this box, sit and drink the wine together, then separate and read the letters you wrote to one another when you were united as a couple in marriage. By reading these love letters you will reflect upon the reasons you fell in love and chose to marry each other.
Wishing you all the very best in choosing the best ceremony for you