RITUALS (CEREMONY ENHANCEMENTS)
RITUALS (Ceremony Enhancements)
and a sixpence for her shoe.
Today’s wedding heritage is rich and diverse, but many modern brides are turning their backs on many long-held traditions. The couple don't necessarily opt for the formal white church wedding. Many ceremonies are held in parks, gardens, beaches, country clubs, hotels, private residences, wedding chapels, etc.
The brides today can decide the tone of their ceremonies and how much or as little of the traditions they want to incorporate in their big day. Here are some ideas that you can incorporate into your wedding celebration. Of course, there is also an option of creating your own ritual, something that makes sense or is more in tune with you.
All photos posted here are from weddings that I have presided.
© 2017- Cecilia Johnson – All rights reserved
BEFORE THE BEGINNING OF THE CEREMONY
The Pebble Tradition – or well wishes rocks. Have everyone hold a rock and bless and place in a container prior to the ceremony. Variation: you may ask each guest to write their names or a message.
BEGINNING OF THE CEREMONY
The flower lei is a symbol of love for him (her) , it is also a symbol of things fragile and temporal. A flower lei will last for only a day or two and then it is gone. Our lives are like the lei within the span of eternity.
BEFORE THE DECLARATION OF INTENT
Hand Fasting is a traditional form of commitment, the origins of which are largely lost in the mists of time. It is from this ritual that the term “tying the knot” originated. You may invite the mothers to help with the ribbons
The washing of the hands at the beginning of the ceremony signifies that you start your marriage life with a clean slate – putting problems big and small behind you
Lazzo (Spanish tradition)
Lasso (also called “lazo”) or rope is placed around the bride and groom’s shoulders (groom’s shoulder first) in the form of 8 (the infinity symbol) after they exchanged their vows. It is the bounding of two people as a declaration that they are marrying of free will.
BEFORE THE EXCHANGE OF RINGS
Blessing of the Rings / Ring Warming
The wedding rings can be passed around on a pillow, box or bag. The officiant can explain a little about it right after “ May I have the rings, please”. If it is an intimate wedding all the guests may take a turn otherwise you may select only the parents and wedding party to hold the rings for a few seconds and say a little blessing for the couple.
AFTER THE EXCHANGE OF RINGS
Arras (Spanish Tradition)
The custom of wedding unity coins originated in Spain. The “madrina de arras” holds the thirteen gold unity coins (arras) are given to the bride by the groom, signifying he will support her. Often presented in ornate box or gift tray, this represents the bride’s dowry and holds good wishes for prosperity. These coins become part of their family heirloom.
Box, Wine and Love Letters or just Love Letters
It is a time capsule. The couple is asked to find a wooden box, a bottle of wine and they are asked to write a letter to one another, expressing their thoughts about the good qualities that they found in their partner and the reasons of falling in love. The box is sealed to be open on their 5th anniversary. They close or nail shut the box during the ceremony.
Just love letters
Breaking chocolate into small pieces and feeding to each other means that they will feed their bodies and their souls. One dark and one milk piece each.
Hour Glass Ceremony: A take on the sand ceremony but it can be turned on every anniversary. The idea is that when you put each color of sand in the glass they’re inseparable but not entwined. As time continues on the colors become so entwined they are impossible to part.
Red Wine / White Wine Ceremony
Red wine and white wine in a small container is placed next to an empty glass on a small table near the couple. If the ‘individual containers’ are carried in the Wedding Processional the Wine Glass is already sitting on the table and only the two individual filled containers are carried forth.
Rose/Flower/ Stones Ceremony for the guests
Each guest is invited to place a flower on a central vase to create a garden of love. The stones as the foundation of your marriage.
Rose /Flower Ceremony (first gift)
The Rose Ceremony is simple yet profoundly moving. The bride and groom exchange two red roses, symbolizing the giving and receiving of their love for each other throughout their entire married life. The Rose Ceremony also conveys how to use the rose and its symbolism in difficult times in order to forgive each other.
It is also an expression of union and love the exchange of a rose between the bride and groom. Other variations: The families exchange roses, the bride and the groom exchange roses with their parents, or just with the mothers.
Salt Unity Ceremony – may include the children
Similar to the Sand Ceremony - From earliest times, salt has been known as a preservative and purifier that prevents decay and corruption. It is eternal, enduring, never changing, and abiding forever. Very similar to the sand ceremony.
Sand Ceremony / Couple / with children
The different colors, of course, represent the individual lives of the bride and groom. Although combined into a single sand ceremony vase, the layers of color show that both the bride and groom have retained their unique identities and personalities.
Couples may bring dirt/soil from their home or where their grew up to be mix as a symbol of unity.
Couples add the Tea Ceremony to their weddings as an important part of their culture.
The Knot Ceremony
The couple can practice to tie the fisherman's knot . It is a true lover's knot, for it is the strongest there is; its bond will not break, becoming ever stronger under pressure.
Tree Planting Ceremony:
Plant a tree together with a little dirt from your childhood home. An option is to have the parents water it to symbolize the way they have been an influence in teaching and encouraging love. After the ceremony, take the potted tree, and transplant it at the newlywed’s home to symbolize putting down roots, longevity, and strength within this marriage.
It is sometimes performed to symbolize the joining together of the two families, and their love for the bride and the groom, into one united family that loves the new husband and wife. More often it is to symbolize the union of two individuals, becoming one in commitment. The popular explanation is that the taper candles are lit by representatives from each family to symbolize the love and allegiance that each family has for either the bride or the groom.
Unit Glass Ceremony
Instead of sand, you will be combining glass crystals at your unity ceremony instead of sand. The crystals will be sculptured by an artist and be displayed at your home. http://www.unityinglass.com/pages/how-it-works
The Unity Cross
The Unity Cross is a multi-piece sculpture that is assembled during the Unity Service of your Wedding Ceremony representing how the -Two become One
AFTER THE RITUALS
There are many ways to include children to the ceremony. Bride and groom may choose to affirm their love and devotion to the children as they start a new family.
Honoring the Parents (Variations: just mother, just fathers and include someone important like grandparents)
A brief reading is done and then the bride and/groom present their mothers usually with a flower. Some couples surprise their parents and it is very well accepted.
AFTER THE DECLARATION OF MARRIAGE
Breaking the Glass
Breaking of the glass at the end of the wedding ceremony is usually reserved for Jewish ceremonies. It is a beautiful ending as it remind us of two very important aspects of a marriage: The irrevocable act – just a permanent as the breaking of the glass as well as the frailty of marriage.
AT THE END OF THE CEREMONY
Jumping the Broom
There are many different version of this ritual, which involves jumping over the Broom. It symbolizes sweeping away of the old and welcoming the new.
Shell - (For beach weddings) – Stone for Lakes
Each guest receives a shell prior or after the ceremony. They hold the shell/stone and send a wish and throw the shell/stone into the ocean/lake where all your hopes and dreams will become one with the universe and join the well wishes of all of us gathered here today.
All pictures appearing in this page are ©2006-2017 Cecilia-Peter Johnson – All rights reserved.Do not use/copy without permission