We are seeing more and more couples opting to incorporate symbolic elements into their non-traditional ceremonies. It is a nice way to represent their love and they can pass it along down through generations if they choose. While the Unity Candle Ceremony and Sand Ceremonies are common, there are so many other options that we are seeing and love.
Handfasting Ceremony – This ceremony literally ties the knot for the couple. The couple hold each other’s hands and the officiant wraps a cord, special fabric, or ribbon around them and ties a loose knot.
Rose Ceremony – A simple unity ceremony where the couple exchange roses. Variations: the families exchange roses, the couple exchange roses with their families, the couple exchange roses with one another, then present their mothers or fathers with the roses.
Dove Release Ceremony – Doves symbolize love, peace, and happiness, so a white dove release is the perfect way to express these sentiments.
Garland Ceremony or Lei Ceremony – The couple exchange garlands of flowers to represent their new unity being blessed by nature. Families may also exchange garlands or lei’s with the couple. Leis represent the love and respect you have for the person you give it to and the unity of the new family.
Pebble Ceremony – This allows guests to be a part of the ceremony. Have guests bring pebbles from their home or somewhere special to them. At the ceremony collect them in a jar or container that has meaning to the couple. The pebbles remind the couple of all those who were there with them on their special day. Variations: Shells could be used at a destination or beach themed wedding.
Circling Ceremony – The couple circle the altar multiple times, signifying their first steps together as a united couple. In Eastern European ceremonies the couple circle the altar three times, and in Hindu ceremonies, the couple circles a fire seven times. The unbroken circle represents the unbroken commitment to one another.
Ring Warming Ceremony – At the beginning of the ceremony the wedding rings are passed around to the guests. The officiant will announce that each guest will have a chance to hold the rings and say a silent blessing over them. The rings have then been “warmed” with love and blessings from friends and families and can then be exchanged between the couple.
Wine Ceremony – The couple each take a carafe of wine and pour it into a single glass in which they then both drink from. Another variation is to each select a bottle of wine and put it in a box along with a letter to one another and two glasses. The couple then seals the box and open it on their anniversary where they can share the wine and read the letters.
Stone Ceremony – The couple holds or places their hands on a stone during their vows to “set them in stone.”
Unity Cross – A multi-piece cross sculpture is assembled during the ceremony, representing the joining of two into one. Typically the groom places the outer cross in the wood base, the bride then places the sculpted cross inside the outer cross. It can then be displayed in the couple’s home after the ceremony as a reminder of the union they share.
Wedding Time Capsule – Put a bottle of your favorite wine or beverage and a love letter to one another along with pictures, a list of why you love each other, your favorite memories, or anything you would like to share with your other half into a box or case. This can either be done during the ceremony or the couple could have the items in the box and turn the key to lock the box together to represent their union. They then open on your 5th anniversary to share the memories over the wine to renew and refresh your relationship.
Tree Ceremony – Take dirt from where each partner either grew up or choose a spot that is sentimental. Using that dirt, combine it into a new tree to plant at your home together. Variation: Place the plant on a table and have two watering cans filled for the couple to each water the plant with to then be planted at their new home. The couple could also take two glasses or vessels of water to pour together into another vessel to be then used to water a new plant or tree to be planted at the couple’s home.
Water Ceremony – The couple each pour a different colored water into a single glass, creating a third color. (How cool would this be if the colors all matched your theme?)
Breaking Bread Ceremony – The couple tear off pieces of bread, and then each eat a piece. Variations: Share with family members, and/or friends to symbolize their future as a family united.
Couple: Pinterest via mactariadesigns.com
Painting: Pinterest via facebook.com
Knot Tie: Pinterest via allthetrimevents.com
Pebbles: Pinterest via theknot.com
Wine: Pinterest via boards.weddingbee.com
Tree: Pinterest via blog.potterybarn.com