The Symbolism of Trees

There are so many ways you can symbolically express the meaning of your wedding. Rituals in faith traditions are well known, as are the many secular and spiritual types of rituals we’ve become familiar with such as the Sand Ceremony, Unity Candles, Rose Presentations and other lovely customs.

The planting of a tree is something I’ve done several times and it is an excellent example of a fresh and meaningful ritual. There are many reasons to do this for a ceremony and can be done not only a wedding ceremony, but for a baby blessing or other occasions.

Planting a tree represents putting down roots and future growth. It connects you to the earth and is great for people who have a keen interest in all things ecological or even just gardening. Trees represent resilience, as a tree bends in a storm just as we weather the daily struggles of life.

In watering the tree you show how you plan to nourish your commitment, and you might even combine soil from each family’s place of origin. You might talk about growth, family, blooming, seasons and many other metaphors that this action represents. You can explore the meaning of the water as well. There are countless poems, quotes and passages that can be tied into the ceremony.

A beautiful tree planting moment captured!


Nathaniel Hawthorne, wrote: Caresses, expressions of one sort or another, are necessary to the life of the affections as leaves are to the life of a tree. If they are wholly restrained, love will die at the roots. And Khalil Gibran wrote: Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit.

You obviously need a place to do this. If you are being married in your own backyard or the backyard of a family member, it’s easy. Some venues will also allow it. The always wonderful Stroudsmoor Country Inn has an excellent plan for this and even offers a plaque for the tree with your name and wedding date.

If you can’t actually plant the tree at the ceremony you can water a small tree in a pot and then take it with you to plant back at home. It’s really just as good! You simply water, or add the two containers of soil first then water the tree, making a strong ritualistic statement.

The downside of this idea is that its possible that the tree won’t thrive or even dies. You could also have problems transporting it to its final destination for planting. But don’t let that deter you. My husband once gave me a tree for a birthday present – one that flowered on my birthday, and a few years later the poor tree died. I was only the tiniest bit sad, and always remember this meaningful gift. It was one of my favorite gifts of all time, regardless. It’s the thought and meaning that counts.

Thank you Laura Leslie Photography for the wonderful photo!

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