I often hear from couples that they are looking for unique and personal touches for their wedding. As a celebrant, this is right up my alley!
The exchange of rings, lighting candles, and other familiar wedding rituals are always wonderful, but they can also be performed in fresh, but still meaningful ways. Not only to add a personal touch to the ritual, but impart additional significance. I’m not an advocate of changing things simply for the sake of change. Many rituals are beautiful simply because they have been performed the same way for a long time. That is the very definition of tradition! But reinterpretation of rituals can also enhance, when there is thought behind it.
For example, traditionally the best man will hold the rings and hand them to the bride and groom at the appointed time. But a family member, not standing with the bridal party, could also bring the rings forward, as an additional way to involve family in this important moment. The maid or matron of honor, or as I like to call her, the ‘best woman,’ might hold the bride’s ring for the groom, just as the best man holds the groom’s ring for the bride.
I have had great success with the ritual of passing the rings among the bridal party or even all the guests so everyone may have the opportunity to bless them. This is often called ‘warming the rings.’
Unity candles are very popular, and I have just one thing to say about it: don’t use candles outdoors! My last experience, years ago, really cemented my thinking. The bride practically begged me to do the candles, assuring me they would have hurricane lamp shades, and that because the wedding was under a pavilion, she felt confident it would work. It didn’t. There was a very strong wind that day and they could not get the candles lit. Fortunately they had a good sense of humor about it, and I learned to be clear about this. It is my job to honor and support the choices of the couples I work with, but it is also my job to share my knowledge and experience.
The photo I’ve included is from a ceremony I created recently using Tibetan Singing Bowls. The groom collects them and they also decided to include a Sand Ceremony. It was great!
I like to say that ‘ritual is the language of ceremony.’ Rituals add deeper meaning, provide symbolism, and heighten awareness and spirituality. They create memorable moments. Give some thought to what rituals you feel express your beliefs or reflect your background, heritage, and style.