Including Rituals in Your Wedding Ceremony

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If you’re looking for unique ways to personalise your wedding ceremony, a ritual can be a wonderful way to do this, and easily incorporated into your ceremony. There are many ideas out there, and choosing which one will depend on what you would like the ritual to signify. Here are a few, with links to my website stories if you want to explore further:
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SAND UNITY CEREMONY- this is a wonderful way to involve children of all ages as it is visual and easily created. Each person pours sand into a central vessel, creating a beautiful pattern, and signifying the union of family, or the couple.
https://wendyhendrycelebrant.com/…/a-family-centred-ceremo…/
Ideas on how to create one Рhttps://wendyhendrycelebrant.com/…/…/07/sand-unity-ceremony/

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Sand Unity Ceremony – photo by Kendra Benson Photography

RIVER STONE CEREMONY – this ritual inspired by Celtic traditions, is said to be used by early settlers and convicts in Australia, where instead of exchanging rings, as they were far too expensive, the couple would cast a stone into the river as a symbol of the wedding promises made, ever strong and steady as the river of the water ebbs and flows around them.
https://wendyhendrycelebrant.com/…/07/22/river-stone-cerem…/

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Exchanging Stones – photo by April Loves Arnold.

HANDFASTING – ‚ÄėHandfasting‚Äô is the ancient word for a wedding and was traditionally recognized as a binding contract of marriage between a couple before weddings became a legal function of the government or the church. Today, it is more of a symbolic ceremony to honour a couple‚Äôs desire for commitment to each other, and to acknowledge that their lives and their destinies are now bound together.
https://wendyhendrycelebrant.com/…/31/handfasting-elopement/
https://wendyhendrycelebrant.com/…/…/donnelly-river-wedding/

Erin and Greg Handfasting Wendy Grace Hendry Celebrant
Erin and Greg’s Handfasting Ceremony at Donnelly River – photo by Henderson Photographics

WINE BOX & LOVE LETTER CEREMONY – a good bottle of wine is selected by the couple and placed in a box along with a sealed letter written by each of the couple.¬† The letter describes why they love their partner, and reasons they have chosen to marry them.¬† During the ceremony the box is sealed, either with wax, or with nails, with the box to be opened on their fifth wedding anniversary (or other chosen timeframe).¬† If the couple comes across hard times in their marriage they can choose to open the box earlier, share the wine and read the letters, remembering why they chose each other as life partners and with the view of beginning a conversation of healing.¬† There are variations on the words used, but the symbolism remains similar.¬† It is like a plan for the future, recognizing that life and love isn’t always smooth sailing.

Rachel and Brady Wine Box
Wine Box and Love Letter Ceremony

If you want a few more ideas you can go to my Wedding Ceremony Rituals page Рhttps://wendyhendrycelebrant.com/…/ceremony-rituals-symbol…/

Or chat to me about the many more ideas that are available.
Happy planning!
Wendy x

Wildcroft Wedding – Kelly and Hayden’s Margaret River Region Winter Wedding

Kelly and Hayden were married on the last day of winter at their property near Yallingup named Wildcroft, surrounded by an intimate gathering of family and friends.

After first meeting back in high school, it took another decade and the help of Facebook from opposite sides of the country for these two lovers to reconnect.  Since then life has taken on an awesome direction of togetherness, sharing adventures, making plans for the future, with their beautiful children being the centre of it all.  They live on a gorgeous property which has two old cottages onsite which they have inspirational future plans with.

It was one of these cute cottages that were part of their wet weather plan B. They had originally planned the ceremony to be outside on the property, however with the weather looking a little unstable they decided to quickly make the necessary repairs to the cottage to enable to ceremony to take place inside.

And what an amazing location it turned out to be, perfectly scrubbed up and styled.¬† You can tell by the photos so beautifully captured by Freedom Garvey Photography that it was unique, cosy, and simply gorgeous!¬† I don’t do many ceremonies indoors, so it was such a wonderful novelty being in this wooden cottage, warmed by the old fashioned wood stove in the tiny kitchen.

Wendy Grace Hendry Marriage Celebrant. Margaret River Wedding Celebrant
Telling the Story – Photo by Freedom Garvey Photography

The ceremony was relaxed, intimate, and full of love.  Kelly and Hayden arrived together in their Datsun 1600, and walked in arm in arm through the back door and up the aisle of delighted guests.  During the ceremony their beautiful children Spencer and Emily felt completely at home interacting with the events taking place with Mum and Dad.

Thanks Kelly and Hayden for inviting me to share in this special day with you and your gorgeous family.  It was an honour and a joy to be your Celebrant!

Wendy x

Enjoy the gallery of photos below by Freedom Garvey Photography – https://freedomgarvey.com.au/

Check out Wildcroft Cottages on Instagram @wildcroftcottages

Donnelly River Wedding

Autumn can be such a beautiful time of year in the South West, and the day of Erin and Greg’s May wedding was no exception. Donnelly River Village is an historic mill town nestled in the South West Karri forest between Bridgetown, Nannup and Manjimup.¬† It doesn’t take long to spot the local wildlife, with kangaroos and emus casually strolling around the grounds on a regular basis.¬† During our wedding rehearsal a few kangaroos came to check out what was going on!

The clearing up to the left of the village as you drive in is where the ceremonies usually take place, there is a nice winding path that takes you there, perfect for a beautiful wedding party entrance, and a gravel clearing for the ceremony with some gorgeous tall karri trees surrounding the area.

Erin and Greg’s wedding had some wonderfully unique styling and elements which made it perfect for them. Check out the amazing arbour created and styled by the couple, complete with ‘his and hers’ sheep skulls adorning the top!

To mark this step on their journey together they also asked me to incorporate a Handfasting ritual in their wedding ceremony. ‘Handfasting’ is the ancient word for a wedding and was traditionally recognized as a binding contract of marriage between a couple before weddings became a legal function of the government or the church. Today, it is more of a symbolic ceremony to honour a couple‚Äôs desire for commitment to each other, and to acknowledge that their lives and their destinies are now bound together.

Erin and Greg chose to have four ribbons as part of their Handfasting. Their  children brought forward three of the ribbons, and then I placed the final ribbon over their joined hands, and tied them, along with some specially chosen words of course.  The final tied knot created as they pulled their hands apart can be seen on the signing table photo, which is now a lovely keepsake for them to remember the day by.

I loved helping to create this special ceremony for them. Each couple, and ceremony is special and creates wonderful memories for me to reflect on.  Have I mentioned how much I love my job?!  If you would like to know more about ceremony rituals you can find some more here РCEREMONY RITUALS

Thanks to Erin and Greg for asking me to be a part of your awesome wedding day! Wishing you much love and happiness into your future.

Wendy x

Some photos used are from Henderson Photographics, and some are my own.

Handfasting Elopement

Chrissy and Shaz were married in the Boranup Forest in an elopement style ceremony which incorporated a special Handfasting ritual with beautiful rainbow ribbons.

When I sat down with Chrissy and Shaz over a cuppa to discuss their ceremony, there were some key things they wanted for their day.  It was to be small, intimate ceremony, and they really wanted to incorporate a Handfasting because the symbolism, and pagan origins of this ritual were important to them.

A traditional Handfasting was originally a betrothal ceremony marked by the tying of cords or ribbons around the couples joined hands to represent their union. It is a ritual commonly used in Celtic and Pagan ceremonies, and now also incorporated in both civil and religious ceremonies in various forms.¬† ¬†Having only watched a full Handfasting ceremony once before, I was excited for the challenge of incorporating this ritual in Chrissy and Shaz’s elopement in the Boranup Forest in a way that would be meaningful and unique to them.

There are many ways a handfasting can be performed. Some incorporate a single rope that is wrapped and tied around the couples joined hands, and others that incorporate ribbons, or a combination of both, ending with the pulling apart of the hands so the ribbon forms an infinity knot.  My approach with weddings is to always seek to reflect the couples wishes in all aspects of the ceremony, especially with something as personal as an elopement.  So after discussing a few options we settled on incorporating seven coloured ribbons, six of the rainbow colours, and a final gold ribbon to symbolise the sacred union and blessing.    Each colour represented an aspect of life and relationship, and after placing it over their joined hands, a promise was made between them.

After all seven ribbons were placed, they were then wrapped and tied around the joined hands, and I read the poem ‘Blessing of the Hands’.¬† Chrissy and Shaz then went on to exchange their vows, and the final moment of pulling their hands away and tying the infinity knot was made.

To complete the ceremony they then exchanged rings Рa visible symbol of the promises made.  The infinity knot remains tied, and is now a beautiful keepsake for them to remember this day by.

It was such an honour to prepare and officiate this ceremony for Chrissy and Shaz, and to be with them in this special moment.  The ceremony was captured beautifully by Dian Sarah Photography.

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River Stone Ceremony

There is a ritual inspired by Celtic traditions, said to be used by early settlers and convicts in Australia, where instead of exchanging rings, as they were far too expensive, the couple would cast a stone into the river as a symbol of the wedding promises made, ever strong and steady as the river of the water ebbs and flows around them.

Tiffany and Corinne were married in February 2018, in the beautiful natural setting of Nanga Bush Camp in Dwellingup, WA.  The chosen location for their ceremony was in a clearing alongside the Murray River.

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Tiff and Corinne’s Wedding Ceremony – photo by April Loves Arnold

There were many personalised elements to Tiff and Corinne’s ceremony, as they stood together, with their siblings by their side, ready to take the steps to marriage.¬† And although they were exchanging rings, a river stone ritual seemed like a natural choice for such a location, and was a perfect way to complete their wedding ceremony.

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Stone and Rings – photo by April Loves Arnold

After the main part of the ceremony had taken place, and the couple and witnesses had signed the marriage register, the bridal party made their way across the rocks alongside the water.  Their attendants, Brie and Daniel handed Tiffany and Corinne a special stone each, chosen for the occasion.

Tiffany and Corrine were asked to hold the stones in their hands to warm them, and feel the smooth, solid weight of them, before exchanging stones with each other.  They then turned, and cast them into the river water below, followed by these words of good wishes:

“From this day forward, may your relationship stay strong and solid, as life, like the river, ebbs and flows around you.”

They were then presented for the first time as ‘Mrs and Mrs’ to cheers and applause from friends and family – such a wonderful moment to celebrate!!

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Final Presentation to Family and Friends – Photo by April Loves Arnold

I love helping couples find new ways to express their relationship and personalities, and to include creative elements to their ceremony.  The river stone ritual worked so well in this setting by the Murray River, and could be adapted by to other locations as inspired. There are ideas for other rituals here.

The photos are by the talented Amy of April Loves Arnold. Many thanks to Tiffany and Corinne for sharing these photos, and their fabulous wedding day with me!

Wendy x 

Yallingup Foreshore

PHILIP & NATASHA – 25 March 2017
We gathered on the grassed area of the Yallingup Foreshore for Phil & Natasha’s morning ceremony overlooking the ocean. The day started out cloudy and overcast, and as our ceremony began the skies cleared and the sun shone down.

It was a beautiful heartfelt ceremony to be a part of which included a Sand Unity Ceremony involving all of the children.  Often marriages not only unite the bride and groom, they unite families. The sand ceremony was a beautiful way to symbolise this new beginning for them all.

I was delighted to receive these gorgeous photos by In Sight Photography from the couple so I could share their beautiful day with you.

Much love and light to Philip, Natasha and thier family as they continue on into married life together! xx

The Tide is High

When preparing for a wedding¬†I usually suggest a rehearsal the day before the ceremony, at the same time if possible so we have a good idea of the positioning of the sun and the weather forecast in mind. This often works well in Margaret River as members of the bridal party are usually travelling down the day before to attend. ¬†So the day before Jo and Matt’s beach wedding at Gnarabup at the wedding rehearsal we had decided on the perfect spot on the beach for the arbor, and where to direct the ceremony for the best view of the ocean. There was some talk of rain, but we were hopeful this was not going to eventuate.

The morning of the big day¬†I woke to news of a ‘super swell’ around the oceans of Margaret River. ¬†People had been posting pictures already of the amazing waves. ¬†I knew this would mean some amazing photos for my beautiful couple! ¬†When I arrived at

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Keeping an eye on that tide!

Gnarabup it became clear what else this super swell was going to mean Рthe waves had been coming up so far that half the beach was missing! The wonderful team at Barefoot Beach Weddings had been monitoring the situation, and asked the Empire Events crew to set up the ceremony in the far corner of the Gnarabup beach.  There was still the occasional wave lapping at the first row of chairs, but it seemed to be settling down.

I continued my set up, somewhat distracted by that amazing ocean swell.  Guests were starting to arrive. And then, RAIN! Luckily I had my roadie with me to help grab all of the sound equipment, throw a rain cover over my PA system and save my paperwork! As we all gathered under the shelter of the White Elephant Cafe and waited for the rain to pass there was a current of excitement and expectation in the air.  All this time my groom was the picture of calm.  He was sure that the rain would clear, and we would be able to have the ceremony on the beach as planned, and he was right.  The showers passed and we made our way once more down to the arbor to prepare for the arrival of our bride.

Bride and FOB - WGH photo Driftwood Photography
Beautiful Jo and her father making their entrance. Photo by Driftwood Photography

As Jo made her way down the beach to her groom, her father by her side, the magic of a beautiful wedding took over.  This couple, who I had the pleasure of getting to know over several coffees and conversations, were finally standing before each other exchanging vows and rings in one of their favorite places.  Their ceremony was simple and elegant, reflecting their values as a couple, evoking some traditions of the past, and of course with a few laughs thrown in for good measure.    The weather behaved itself, and the ocean continued to look amazing during the ceremony.  Only once did a cheeky wave come up and lap at the guests feet Рlucky it was a barefoot wedding!

Beach weddings can be full of surprises Рmother nature has her own plans for your special day.  But they are such a beautiful experience, especially when you can feel the sand through your toes, and have the sounds of the ocean in the background as promises are made, and love declared.

I wish the wonderful Jo and Matt a world of happiness and love as they step into married life together.

Wendy x

Thanks to Jo and Matt for sharing some of their beautiful photos by Driftwood Photography with me!