There are many creative and memorable ways to bring ritual and symbolic actions into your ceremony. Ritual can also be a meaningful way to bring together members of families connected to the couple, to incorporate the involvement of children in the couples’ lives, or to recognise the importance of community to the couple. Here are just a few suggestions I have for my couples, but the opportunities are many:
Sand Unity Ceremony
The sand unity ceremony, involves the wedding couple, and/or close family or children, adding different coloured sands to a central glass container. Each person is given a specific colour/type, taking it in turns to add the sand to the container, or pouring together.
The layers of sand in the container can represent the many people contributing to the life of the couple so far and the support going into the future. It can also represent the ongoing unity of the family, as the grains of sand are forever entwined.
This is a lovely way to incorporate children into the ceremony, if the couple already have children, or are forming a blended family. It is also a lovely symbolism for the couple alone. The main vessel becomes a keepsake for the home. Read about a beautiful example of a family sand ceremony here. Or read about some practical ways you can prepare for one of these ceremonies here – Sand Unity Ceremony
Family Unity Puzzle
Similar to the sand ceremony, the puzzle is an opportunity to represent the unity of a family, through placing pieces of a puzzle together at an allocated time in the ceremony. As each piece of the puzzle is special and important, so is each member of the family. The puzzle can be a simple pattern (as shown), and great for families with small children, or blended families. It also then becomes a special keepsake after the wedding. Read about a Family Unity Puzzle by one of my couples here.
As people arrive at the ceremony they are given a wishing stone. At an allocated time in the ceremony the guests are invited to bring their stone to the front and place it into a large bowl or vessel and make a wish or say a prayer for the bride and groom.
This is a nice way of symbolising the importance of community for the couple into the future.
This can be done in either a pot, or if the wedding is at the couple’s home it can be planted in the garden. The plant represents the new life together, the nurturing required, and the growth that the couple will have in the future years. Read about a tree planting ceremony here.
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.
Suited to an outdoor ceremony, in a natural setting. Read about a River Stone Ceremony here.
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.
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.
Read about one of my Handfasting Ceremonies here.
Butterflies are symbols of the spirit of freedom and happiness and provide a romantic visual moment during a wedding ceremony.
After the wedding couple have spoken their vows, the butterflies are released. Monarch butterflies are generally used as they are native to all part of Australia. For more information about butterfly releases in the south west you can have a look at Butterflies For You – https://butterfliesforyou.com.au/
Candle Lighting Ceremony
Also known as a Unity Candle Ceremony, the candle ceremony is symbolic of the two merging families and their unity on this day. Traditionally there are three candles. Allocated family members from the bride and groom can light a candle each, then pass it on to the bride and groom who then together light the centre candle. Children can also be included in this ritual, using more candles, or passing a candle between family members before lighting the centre candle.
Candle lighting can also be done at the beginning of the ceremony as a way of honouring or remembering loved ones who were unable to be at the ceremony.
Love Letter and Wine Box Ritual
Like a personal time capsule, the couple write a letter describing what they particularly love and appreciate about each other, and why they chose them as their life partner. The letters are sealed in a wooden box, either with hammer and nails, or sealing wax, along with a bottle of fine wine at a time during the ceremony. The couple keep the sealed box as a reminder of the promises made, with the goad to open the box on their 5th Wedding Anniversary, to read the letters and share the bottle of wine. If the couple come across a particularly difficult time before the five years, they can open the box to help remember all the love they have for each other and why their relationship is worth fighting for.
Whatever you decide to do I will do my best to ensure it is woven into your ceremony to suit your day.
Wendy Grace Hendry xx