How to add spice to your ceremony

I’m always inventing, reinventing or rewriting words and rituals to use in wedding ceremonies. It’s kind of my passion! So when I met with a couple who had an idea of their own, I was excited to learn all about it. Having children from previous marriages, they were looking for a family unity ritual, and they found something that was new to me.

I’ve always been a big fan of the Sand Ceremony, but this bride discovered a similar ritual using spices. She shared the gist of the idea, and I immediately loved it. In fact, I wondered why didn’t I already know about this? It seemed so obvious as things sometimes do once you know about them!

Pouring the spices.

When I read up on it I knew I could give it my own twist. I never just take something verbatim, I always need to think through it and give me my own interpretation.  And perhaps more importantly strive to infuse it with the meaning that reflects the couple’s worldview. After more than ten years, I’ve found my voice as a celebrant, but I have to be mindful that I speak for the couple.

The spice ritual is pretty easy to understand – you simply choose different spices to represent the different people participating – in this case the bride and groom and their children. Learning something about each person and finding the herb or spice that related those traits is the key. Poetic license is required, of course.

As with any ritualistic act in a ceremony, I explain it to the guests and also want to be sure the participants are focused on it as well. They need to feel it as in unfolds so it can be a transformative experience, or at least meaningful or just fun.

Examples of spices and their symbolism would be paprika or chile for a person who is passionate and energetic. Lavender is known for it’s fragrance and calming quality and would be perfect for someone who is calm in the face of difficulty.  You could also delve into herbal medicine, historic context, or any way that connects the spice or herb. And this ritual ties in beautifully for a gardener or a cook!

The keepsake!

Expanding upon layering the spices this couple used not only a spice for each of them, but incorporated salt, evoking the Salt Covenant of the bible and the rich history and symbolism of salt. The salt was poured first and last – to seal the layers, and perhaps to seal the deal.

Together they created a beautiful experience and a keepsake jar of spices to be displayed as a remembrance of their wedding day showing the importance of blending their families.

Spices certainly bring out flavor and that is what we do in our own families by combining our personalities, our strengths and gifts. This family certainly had an abundance of taste!


Thank you David Coulter for the beautiful photos. I always enjoy working with David! 

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