Special Ceremony Elements
tailored to reflect your personality
Your civil wedding ceremony – the only limitation is your imagination.
Wherever the location – a beach, a grassy meadow, on top of a mountain, on a boat, in a castle or just about anywhere else – it is also important that the ceremony itself reflects your personality.
The special elements you select should be as individual as you are. They can be tailor-made to include other close family members and friends with whom you share a special bond. These unique “ceremonies within your ceremony” can involve parents and grandparents as well as children. No one needs to feel left out! This is what a truly bespoke ceremony is all about.
On this page you will find other ideas that can be adapted to fit your wedding. Here are just a few – a word of caution: some of these could become a bit messy!
Unity Sand Ceremony
The Unity Sand Ceremony is ideal for any wedding. This ceremony symbolises the joining of the couple and is also a good way of including young children in the ceremony.
Hand Wrapping Ceremony / Hand Fasting
The original meaning of “Tying the Knot”, this is a Celtic tradition where the hands are tied with ribbons to symbolise the bringing together of two people in a marriage of strength and unity forever. This ritual can also be combined with the couple saying their oaths to each other.
As a traditional ceremony option, it holds a universal meaning. It symbolises the joining of the couple in marriage and the joining of their two families. Families can each light their individual candles for the couple – symbolic of the move from their original family to a new life together.
Sharing the Light / Reverse Unity Candle Ceremony
The bride and groom light their unity candles, then they turn and light the candles of their wedding party who in turn light the candles of their neighbours spreading the love and joy of the marriage.
Flowers for Unity
Each guest is given a flower as they arrive – for instance a pink one to the couple’s friends, a red one for members of the groom’s family and a white one for the bride’s relatives. Towards the end of the ceremony the celebrant will invite the guests to come and place the blooms into a large vase for the bride and groom as a symbol of everyone coming together to support the marriage.
In the wine ceremony the couple can either choose to pour one glass of white and one of red to create a blush that they will both drink. Parents and senior bridesmaids can become involved in the blending which can then be shared amongst the guests and used as the first opportunity to drink to the couple’s health. Can be gin, mead, tea, tizer …
Broom Jumping Ceremony
This is based on a tradition which symbolises the clearing away of negativity with a sweep of the broom and creating a threshold for the couple to cross over into their new life together. The decorated broom can either remain on the ground; or be lifted slightly above it – perhaps by little bridesmaids.
Wine Box / Love Letter
The couple will write love letters to each other before the wedding which they will seal in an envelope. They will choose their favourite bottle of wine, or drink of choice, and place these and any other memorabilia in the wine box. If the couple choose to include this option during the wedding ceremony, they will seal the box and vow not to open it until an anniversary of their choice. The only other time that the box can be unsealed is if they might be having thoughts of separating; at which time they will drink the wine and read the letters which will, hopefully, remind them of why they fell in love and chose to be together in the first place.
An Artistic Option
Especially suitable for a couple with young children. The youngsters will have already put their colourful handprints on a canvas. In a shaped outline (perhaps a butterfly or heart shape). The couple will then intertwine their painted hands on the canvas to complete the picture. This can be adapted for the whole wedding party, can be hands or just thumb prints …
The couple can collect rocks from their favourite places – (or buy some from a craft shop). Guests are invited to write a special message to the couple on each rock. These are then collected and added to a vase or pretty bowl. For an outdoor, nature-themed ceremony, guests might be invited to bring their own decorated rock collected from a place near where they live. They are then included as a part of the ceremony blessings.
The couple will add bitter chocolate to semi sweet or white. This will be mixed and melted over a flame and then eaten by the bride and groom – and other key guests who may have been involved in its production – by dipping plain biscuits. Symbolically it shows successful blending of the very bitter and the over sweet – into something unified and perfect. This would work well especially if other aspects of the wedding have a chocolatey theme.
One for the Chefs
Another food related unity ceremony involves the use of three glasses – one containing a hot sauce, one with vinegar and one with honey. These represent the three parts of a relationship – the hot and spicy times, the sweet times and with the possible addition of an occasional few drops of sharpness. A good marriage will thrive on a mixture of all three. The bride and groom mix the ingredients together (in pre determined amounts) to create a tasty mixture that can then be sipped – or eaten carefully on a dipping cracker – by the bride and groom.
Planting a Tree
If the ceremony is taking place in the couple’s family home, a tree can be planted to mark the occasion. The hole is dug and prepared earlier and then the bride and groom – assisted by family members help with replacing the soil (with decorated spades). This can also be done in a pre prepared pot.
Use of an Oathing Stone
This is of ancient Scottish/Celtic origin whereby the couple place their hands upon the stone while saying their vows. The vows are then “cast in stone” according to tradition. Historically this tied the couple to the land and the spirits – then either kept or cast back into the land to honour it.
Can include mead ceremony with Viking horn, oath stones and symbols, sword exchange – either between the couple or the families.
Cherokee Blanket Ceremony
Bride and groom are wrapped individually in blue blankets/quilts by their family for their past life and their blessings – then the couple remove these and are wrapped together in a white blanket/quilt showing the blank future that they will fill together with love.
Individual fires are created for the bride and groom. They take a branch from each and light a central fire, to show their coming together, then the rest of the family show their support by doing the same.