Together, your ceremony and reception celebration that follows con be some of the most fun you’ll ever experience. Many of the couples I work with also retain my services in planning the creative elements of their ceremony. Putting your personality onto each special moment of your wedding ceremony is the best way to go, be it leaning toward traditional or non-traditional ideas.
Rose Presentation to your Mothers
Taking a moment during the ceremony to honor your mothers with a rose (or small bouquet of flowers) is a great symbolic gesture of your gratitude. There are several key moments in the ceremony that this presentation can take place, and it can be set to music in the background or even done in silence. This presentation is often kept as a surprise to the recipients.
Lighting of a Unity Candle
The unity candle is a symbolic act representing your new union as husband and wife. The most common way to perform this ritual is by having your mothers light two outer candles that you will later use to light the unity candles. Rather than having a potentially obnoxious lighter or uncooperative matches, you may want to consider having a votive already lit on the table. This could also be lit by your officiant when he/she walks in.
Unity Sand Ceremony
The sand ceremony is very common in the Bay Area where it may be too windy during an outdoor ceremony for the unity candle. This ceremony is performed by taking two vessels (vases, antique bottles, etc.) and filling them with two different colors of sand. The bride and groom will pour these into a larger container of clear glass, creating a mixing of the sands. Additional colors/containers can be used for children or step-children that would like to participate as well.
Exchange of Love Letters
I have worked with one officiant that has the bride and groom write personal love letters to each other. The officiant then reads these aloud on their behalf. You might consider having your maid of honor and best man read them, as a way you personalize them even more. If you take this route, ask your audio professional for proper microphone setup to ensure that everyone can hear them.
The Binding of the Hands
A Celtic tradition often referred to as Hand Fasting, this is a symbolic ceremony where the officiant will bind your hands together with a cord or ribbon. Sometimes the officiant will speak of the significance, and you may also make a series of promises to each other during the binding process.
A wine ceremony has many meanings and metaphors for couples. It is often performed similar to a sand ceremony where two different wines, one for the bride and one for the groom, are blended together by pouring them into a larger vessel. It may serve as a reminder for you to always have reasons to celebrate, and share drink together from the cup of life. As you share the wine from a single cup, so may you share contentment, peace, and fulfillment.
Other Rituals and Traditions
This list is by no means exhaustive. There are many ways to put a personalized touch on your event, and even involve your friends and family. You could have someone give a special reading, sing a song, write your own vows, or even surprise everyone with a choreographed processional like the one that Jill and Kevin did set to “Forever” by Chris Brown.
I also highly recommend reading Chapter 13 “The Wedding Ceremony” from the book, The Best Wedding Reception…Ever! It contains over 22 ideas for the ceremony alone, and more than 200 creative ideas for every other part of your wedding celebration.
From time to time, I will also feature various creative ceremony ideas in my blog.