When planning your wedding, you’ll want to think about some special ways to personalize your wedding ceremony. While we tend to spend the vast majority of our wedding planning hours thinking about the reception, the ceremony is the main event, and you want to make sure it doesn’t feel generic. Yep, there’s more to the story than just saying your vows and exchanging your wedding rings, at least if you want there to be! Here are some unique wedding ceremony rituals to consider for a more personalized service.
- Warming of the Rings – The warming of the rings is an old-school Irish or Gaelic tradition that involves passing around your wedding ring so it can be “warmed” by family, friends and wedding guests. This warming practice may involve bestowing the ring with a prayer or well wishes, in addition to physically warming it in the hand. If you don’t love the idea of using your actual rings, you can invest in a pair of more affordable wedding rings and pass them around throughout the ceremony.
- Sand Unity Ceremony – This is one of the most popular wedding ceremony rituals, especially at beach weddings. It involves taking two separate vials of sand and pouring them into one to signify two separate entities unifying as one. This is a great option if you want a special souvenir to keep after the big day.
- Time Capsule Ceremony – This fun ritual involves gathering essentials from the ceremony, reception and your life in general to create a day-of capsule that will help you remember all the special little details of your big day. Add things like your wedding wine, your personalized napkins or matchbooks, a newspaper from the day you got married, notes from family and friends and anything else that might help you memorialize this moment in time forever. Invest in a special box for the occasion. After the reception, you might even include your favorite piece of bridal jewelry or a special accessory.
- Sundial Ceremony – The sundial ceremony is an age-old Celtic wedding tradition that comes from the Aran Islands. It involves standing on either side of a sundial — typically a carved stone with a hole in it featuring a circular dial — and passing your hands through the hole. In some versions, the couple passes a silk scarf through the sundial and makes a wish. This ceremony is meant to encourage a long, healthy marriage that will grow and develop throughout life.
- Poetry Readings –Poetry readings are a wonderful way to give depth and meaning to your exchange of vows, but you want to make sure they signify the commitment of both of you to one another. This is an excellent way to involve loved ones or family members who may not be official members of the bridal party. Parents, cousins, aunts, uncles and childhood friends are usually honored to read.
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- Lighting a Unity Candle –Along with the sand ceremony, the unity candle ceremony has to be one of the most popular ceremony additions among today’s brides and grooms. This ceremony involves the bride and groom each holding their own candle and lighting a larger candle in the center, symbolizing two entities becoming one. Make sure your wedding ceremony venue allows live candles before going this route!
- Sage Smudge Ceremony – As you might already know, it’s customary to burn sage to cleanse the aura in your home. This rite is closely linked to centuries-old Native American traditions and is believed to better the lives of people and bridge the gap between the mortal and spiritual.
But did you know that burning sage is also a common wedding custom? The sage smudging ceremony involves burning a bundle of dried sage (also known as a smudge stick) either during or in between ceremony elements. Not only does this practice theoretically help cleanse the aura in the venue, but it also makes the space smell amazing.
- Tree Planting Ceremony – Want to give your wedding ceremony an earthy feel while giving back to the environment? Consider making a tree-planting ceremony a part of your big day. This is the ideal choice for couples who are getting hitched in the backyard or at a private location where they’ll be able to visit for years to come. Over time, you can watch the tree grow and even commemorate it with a plaque or an engraved garden stone honoring your nuptials.
- Sky Lantern Ceremony – If you’re planning on tying the knot as the sun goes down or in the evening, consider incorporating lighted sky lanterns into your ceremony. How does it work? You and your partner — or you, your partner, your bridal party and/or wedding guests — light paper lanterns and let them float into the sky.
Often, brides and grooms will include wedding wishes, prayers or notes to the lantern to attach a special meaning. It’s important to note that you should always choose eco-friendly, 100 percent biodegradable and wire-free sky lanterns to ensure that your lanterns don’t wind up littering the natural environment.
- Jumping the Broom – Have you ever heard the phrase “jumping the broom” to refer to getting married? The phrase is related to an old-fashioned tradition widespread among African Americans. Though its origin is hotly debated, many believe the ritual grew out of slavery, when enslaved couples were forced to use jumping over a broom as a stand-in for a wedding, since the ceremony would have been illegal.
Now, jumping over a broom is a fun way to signify that the knot has officially been tied. Often, the couple hops over a broom laid on the ground after the officiant officially declares them legally wed.
You and your spouse-to-be are no average couple, so why would your ceremony be average? Make sure to work some personalized elements into your wedding day to celebrate your unique marriage and make your wedding day a genuine one-of-a-kind event!