Symbolic & Mini Ceremonies
Rituals have long been a custom in many ceremonies for many cultures, religions, groups, and nations. Rituals are mini ceremonies that involve gestures, words, and objects and can be used to symbolise feelings, wishes, promises or actions (practically anything you like). They can enrich any ceremony. So, if you are thinking of having a ritual as part of your ceremony here is a brief outline of some of the more popular ones for your consideration. But don't forget I can write a ritual specifically for you if you fancy something different.
1 Handfasting / Hand tying
Handfasting is an old folkloric ritual and can be a stand-alone ritual or as part of a wedding ceremony and can be adapted to suit the wedding couple. One of its original meanings was as a betrothal or engagement. It symbolises the bringing together of the two hearts in a marriage of love, strength, and unity. The couple’s hands are bound together in marriage by using cords or ribbons tied in a knot: this is why it is often referred to as 'tying the knot'.
2 Memory Jar/Box
On the day of your ceremony your guests are invited to write a short message to you. The couple also write a special message to each other, sealed in an envelope. All the messages are then placed inside a jar or box. On conclusion of the ceremony the jar/box is sealed or locked. The couple can then, in future years, decide to open it on a special anniversary (1st 5th etc) to relive the love and memories of their special day.
4 Candle Lighting
There are many ways to use candles in a ceremony, here’s just one for you to think about.
Three candles are placed on the table (I like to use 1 large and 2 smaller ones) The two smaller ones are lit at the beginning of the ceremony to symbolise the couple. When the couple have made their vows, they both take their candle and together light the large candle symbolising (as the Spice Girls used to say) when two become one!
4 Sand Blending
Sand of two different colours is poured by the couple into one container (never to be separated) to symbolise the joining of the couple. This is also a lovely ritual to have when you want children to be involved in the ceremony. The sand symbolises the joining of both families and each member could have different coloured sand. Also good for the new in-laws to be involved too.
6. Water Blending
Instead of sand, the couple may choose to use coloured water. The water could be customised to match the wedding colours or use the colours to symbolise the values and qualities you want from the marriage. For example, blue water could represent friendship and health and yellow water happiness and joy. Blend them together to make green to represent growth and harmony. You can customise whatever colours and representations you like.
Another idea is to have a little bleach in the larger container so that when the couple pour in their different coloured water it all turns clear to represent a clear and pure new start together.
7. Wine Blending
The couple take one glass of red and one glass of white and blend in another glass to create a rose/blush wine which they then both take a drink from. Alternatively, their favourite wine (or other drink) can be poured into just one glass from which they both take a drink (loving cup)
8. Wine box & Love Letters
Before the ceremony, the couple will write a love letter to each other, seal it in an envelope (I also like to write the date of the ceremony across the seal) and choose their favourite bottle of wine (or other drink). During the ceremony, after the vows have been made, the couple will place their letters and the bottle of wine in a box. The box is sealed and only to be opened on an agreed anniversary (or when contemplating separation in which case the reading of the letters will remind them of why they fell in love and try again)
9. Rose Giving
The couple can choose to give each other a rose as their first gift to each other. The roses can be of their favourite colour or to match the theme of the ceremony.
They can also present roses to their mothers to show their appreciation of their help and support
10. Blessing the Bands (rings)
At the start of the wedding ceremony, the two wedding rings are tied to a handkerchief, a twig or piece of cord, a rose, etc and passed around the guests. Each guest holds the rings in their hand for a brief moment, to infuse the rings with their love and best wishes before passing to the next guest. (I suggest this is used for weddings with a small number of guests as it could take too long otherwise) The rings make their way forward to the couple in time for the ring ceremony (as long as they don't get mislaid on the way!)