Over the years I have had the privilege of seeing a wide range of wedding ceremonial rituals…here are my top ten!
This ritual can take many forms. The bride and groom can give each other a flower as their first gift as ‘husband’ and ‘wife’. It can be a promise that whenever they argue through their marriage they will always present each other with a flower to say sorry. Alternatively the bride and groom can present their mothers will a flower as a token of their thanks and love. In fact, a flower can be given to anyone at the ceremony!
The bride and groom pour sand (or salt) from individual glasses into a larger centre glass as a symbolic act of the blending of their lives and families. As the grains of sand will never be able to be separated, the couple are bonded for life.
Similar to a hand-fastening ceremony where the bride and groom’s hands are tied with ribbon (usually when they say their vows) and then their hands are removed and the knot is fastened. Like their love, the knot will stay tied forever.
Wine Sharing Ceremony
Wine sharing has origins in many religious and European traditions, but can really be done by any couple! The bride and groom drink wine from the same cup and agree to share all the sweetness and bitterness that their marriage brings.
Release of Butterflies
According to legend, if anyone desires a wish to come true they must first capture a butterfly and whisper that wish to it. Since a butterfly can make no sound, the butterfly cannot reveal the wish to anyone. In gratitude for giving the beautiful butterfly its freedom, the wish is granted. You can ask the guests to wish the bride and groom a long and loving marriage.
Candle Lighting Ceremony
Once again this has religious significance, but is quite common as a symbolic act of blending and binding. Whilst this ceremony can take many forms, it’s common that the bride and groom light individual small candles and together light a larger centre candle as a symbolic act of their union.
Ring Warming Ceremony
The wedding rings are passed around the guests and each person makes a wish for the couple (ideal for small weddings). This ritual is especially touching if the bride and groom have young children from a previous relationship – it involves them in the ceremony and asks for their blessing.
This is one of my personal favourites and can take many, many forms. The couple can ask guests to bring something on the day to place in a time capsule. It can be opened on any anniversary (1st, 5th, 10th etc…) Some nice ideas are photos, wish notes, letters, a bottle of wine (great if at a winery) and newspaper clippings from that day.
Adding flowers to the Bouquet
The bride collects flowers from certain guests (special individuals) and places them in her bouquet as she walks down the aisle. A nice idea is to include someone when you can’t think how else to! The flowers can represent the support from her family and friends.
Honouring Deceased Loved Ones
It can be quite touching for the bride and groom and their families if any special deceased loved ones are acknowledged during the ceremony. This can be done through lighting a candle, flowers or having a framed photo of the deceased on the signing table.
All of these are wonderful ways you can make your ceremony personal, meaningful and memorable!