Romantic Rituals in your Wedding Ceremony

While it is the words of the ceremony, particularly those of the promises that the couple makes, that create their  life partnership, it is the visual images that linger in the minds of the guests, provide opportunities for amazing photographs, and create truly memorable moments.

Great wedding ceremony images add drama to the ceremony. Rituals provide the opportunity tell a story which enriches the sentiments that have been expressed and the promises that have been exchanged without needing additional words. They also provide opportunities to demonstrate the warmth of the relationship between the couple, their families and friends and to demonstrate generosity of spirit in acknowledging that every relationship needs the support of others. It is the combination of imagination and creativity with warm and generosity of spirit that creates a magical ceremony.

Rituals have become fashionable. What a celebrity does in her wedding becomes the must-have for countless brides, encouraged by wedding planners who provide a ‘check the box’ list. And couples come to believe that there is an ‘authorised’ form of the ritual, endlessly reproduced on celebrant websites and in ceremony after ceremony. This mindless repetition or replication l has the potential to strip both the words and the ideas of meaning. For maximum impact any symbolic ritual you include in your ceremony needs to truly reflect your unique and wonderful relationship with each other, and with family members and friends. It needs to be personal. It needs something that is fully integrated into the ceremony, reflecting your style and your personalities otherwise it becomes a distraction.

A ritual can be used to
  • include your guests (a ritual of support)
  • express the unity between you, or between the two families being joined by your ceremony
  • acknowledge your cultural heritage
  • be a symbolic expression of good wishes, of blessings, of your transition from single status to that of life partners, or of sharing of your good fortune

As the author of a series of books on unity and other rituals I have a deep understanding of the role of rituals in ceremonies. I am careful to ensure that any ritual feels comfortable for you, that those attending your ceremony will get it and not feel uncomfortable or confused. And I create the ritual expressly for you, so that the words are fresh and the actions deeply meaningful to both you and to your guests.

I also brief both your photographer and your videographer before the day so they know what to expect and where to position themselves to capture the best visual record of the ritual.

Here are some examples of the many rituals that can be included in your ceremony to add that special moment of high visual impact:

  • Bouquet of Love and Support
    Family and friends present flowers to you or place them in a vase to symbolise their love and support
  • Chalice (Loving Cup) Ritual
    There are numerous ways in which a Chalice (Wine Cup) ritual can be framed, all variations on the theme of shared lives. Other liquids can be substituted for the wine. Any sort of drinking vessel can be used. It is particularly meaningful if it has some family history or sentimental connection with your relationship. The Scottish quaich is an example of a traditional vessel, but anything – including a nice cup from a family tea-service can be used.
  • Cord of Three or More Strands
    This braiding ritual allows injection of a spiritual element into a civil ceremony.
  • Hand Blessing
    Often incorporated into a handfasting ritual, this involves the couple joining hands together with words relating to the role their hands will have in providing comfort and support to one another throughout their lives. The words that are found on the internet as “the” standard words are actually very sexist. If you wish to have a hand blessing as part of your wedding be assured that I will craft words that reflect you and that do not perpetuate stereotypes.
  • Handfasting
    May constitute the entire ceremony or be included as a ritual within a Commitment Ceremony. There are a number of ways it can be done. The common words found on the internet and used by many celebrants tend to be very negative and should be avoided. more information on Handfasting
  • Honey Ceremony
    An ancient ritual from the Middle East, symbolising wishes for a sweet life
  • Jumping the Broom
    Derived from both Celtic and African tradition, this ceremony creates a threshold which you cross over into your new life together, injecting a level of domesticity and exuberance into the proceedings. .
  • Oathing Stone
    A ritual of Celtic origin - involves making your vows over a stone
  • Rose Ceremony
    This ritual can be done in several ways, either as a n exchange of gifts between the couple or as an expression of gratitude to others significant in their lives.
  • Sand Ceremony
    Similar to the Unity Candle, and particularly suitable for situations where lighting candles is contra-indicated (such as outdoors), a sand blending ritual involves the pouring of sand, representing individuals, from separate smaller containers into one large one. The sand can be poured in as different layers, or poured together and then shaken or stirred. The Unity Bowl is a variation of the Sand Ceremony. Read more on the Sand Ceremony in Unity Candle and Sand Ceremony, my book on the subject
  • Truce Bell
    Deriving from the west of Ireland, you are handed a bell during the ceremony and both invited to give it a good hard ring while thinking loving thoughts about the other. After the wedding it is placed in a prominent place in the home and when you quarrel, one or other of you can pick it up, ring it, and declare a truce.
  • Unity Candle (Not for Outdoor Ceremonies)
  • This common ritual can take a number of different forms:
    •    emphasising the merging of two families
    •    emphasising the merging of two lives
    •    recognising that while two lives join, the couple also remains individuals.
    It can be adapted to include children that are being brought into the relationship.
    Read more about the Unity Candle in Unity Candle and Sand Ceremony my book on the subject
  • Warming of the Rings
    A ring warming is a secular version of the blessing of the rings that is part of a religious ceremony. It is the family and friends of the couple who perform this ritual – and it may be styled “ring warming”, “warming of the rings” or “blessing of the rings”. The guests are asked to hold the rings for a moment, warm them with their love, and to silently make a wish for the couple and for their life together, and then pass them to the next person.
  • Wine and Blessings
    This ritual involves different people (guests/members of the family) offering blessings, followed by the sharing of wine by the couple.
  • Wishing Stones
    A ritual performed by the guests to  signify their good wishes for you.

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