Are you trying to make your ceremony unforgettable? Want to do something besides the most traditional?
Here are some ideas for you. Every one of these can be found on Pinterest or Google.
Unity Sand Ceremony - the most common unity ceremony I do.
It’s the blending of two or more different-colored sands into a single container. It symbolizes the joining of the couple (and their children) into one union or family. I do it slight different than many officiants because I have you use 3 color of sands at least. It makes it more beautiful and it causes your two sands to stand out more.
Love Letter and Wine Box Ceremony, Time Capsule or 1st Fight Box
The bride and groom each puts a sealed letter expressing what you love in each other and why you fell in love into a wine box that contains a bottle of wine and usually two glasses. Other keepsakes could also be included: photos of the couple, some flower petals thrown by the flower girl during the actual ceremony, etc. The box is to be opened on a milestone anniversary or earlier if you feel your marriage has reached a hardship and you need to reflect upon the reasons you fell in love and chose to marry each other.
Wine, Beer or Cocktail Ceremony
The bride and groom each take a carafe of wine (1 red and 1 white) or beer (dark and pale; couple who have done this in the past have a hard time finding two beers that mixed together taste all right) and pour it into a single glass, which they both drink from. You have various designs and containers that you can pick from.
Very similar to the unity sand except you use two colors of water. Here is an example of the words you can use: “as you pour your yellow water into the container you bring sunshine and wisdom to your marriage…as you pour your blue water into the marriage vessel, you bring confidence, trust and loyalty to your marriage. And together you will be a perfect blend that will change the world.”
“Science” Water Ceremony - clear to pink with phenolphthalein
I had a couple who thought about doing this a science-based ceremony: They were both chemists. So to make the ceremony reflect who they are they thought about doing this experiment. They each would poured a vase what looked like plain water into a large pitcher, causing an instant color change from clear to pink. The audience will be wowed!
Tree Planting or Unity Sapling Ceremony
Plant a tree sapling together with a little dirt (could be 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.
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. The Groom places the outer Cross in the beautiful wood base as the Pastor explains how God created man- Bold, Strong, the Defender of the Family yet how he is empty and incomplete without the woman. The Bride then places the more delicate cross inside of the Grooms cross as the Pastor explains how God created Woman- Delicate, multi-faceted, taking care of all of the little things that completes the man, and the -Two become One. The Bride and Groom then use the 3 golden pegs to lock the union (cross) together in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit as the pastor exclaims that: What God has brought together let no man take apart. Then the Unity Cross is taken home and displayed as a Daily Reminder of your Wedding Day and the Covenant that you both have made.
Cord of Three Strands
The cord of three strands symbolizes the joining of one man, one woman, and God into a marriage relationship.
Actually “Tying the Knot”
This is a variation to the 3 Cords. Both the groom’s mom and the bride’s mom can present the couple with a long piece of thick ribbon or cord (2 different colors, maybe your wedding colors) which you will tie in a knot to symbolize the union of the two families.
You can also plan to “tie the knot” every year on your anniversary with the same piece of ribbon/cord.
Do it slow for the photographer.
- practice tying a sailors knot
- The groom first takes his piece of rope and makes a knot on one end of the brides’ piece of rope. Then, the bride makes a knot on her end of the rope.
- Then you both pull one of your ends, and the knots will slide together and “kiss” creating the knot.
- The fisherman’s knot is the strongest knot known – your love is its strongest when tied together.
Feet Washing Ceremony
A beautiful idea for a Christian wedding. A sign of being humble, thoughtful, and willing to serve. Have a beautiful pitcher with just a little water in it, a bowl, and a sponge. The bride and groom take their shoes off, placed the sponge in the bowl, poured the water on top of the sponge, lightly washed each other’s feet with the sponge, the dried their feet off with a towel, and placed their shoes back on once they were done. You can get special monogrammed towels to go with it.
Handfasting is a simple and traditional ceremony used in Irish, Scottish, and Welsh weddings, which goes back to the medieval and renaissance period. It involves the tying of hands together to symbolize the coming together and remain tied together.
A simple unity ceremony where the bride and groom exchange roses as their first gifts to one another. Other variations: the families exchange roses, the bride and groom exchange roses with their families, the bride and groom exchange roses, then present their mothers with the roses.
Celtic Oathing Stone
“The couple holds or puts their hands on a stone during their vows to “set them in stone”
And can be combined with the Pebble tradition below
The Pebble Tradition
Or well wishes rocks. Have everyone hold a rock and bless it during the ceremony. After the ceremony they place it in a vase or other container for the newlyweds to display in their home.
Ring Warming Ceremony
Rings can be passed around the room on a pillow or in a bag. I would explain a little about it right at the beginning of the ceremony. Everyone holds the rings for a few seconds and says a little blessing/prayer for the couple. Then by the time you do your vows the rings have made their way all the way around the room and all your loved ones have given their blessings. An alternative is to have them displayed at the ceremony entrance, and have people give their blessings before they sit down.
In the Bible, salt is mentioned in the expression “covenant of salt” in reference to the substance’s binding nature. By pouring the two separate jars of salt together, the couple are totally mixing the grains. It would be impossible to ever distinguish the salt as coming from one person or the others again, much as their commitment to each other before God can never be broken. (Don’t color your salt, then you can distinguish the grains.)
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 all the colors become so entwined they are impossible to part.
German Wedding Cup
Centuries ago, in old Nuermberg, the nobel mistress Kunigunde fell in love with a young and ambitious goldsmith. Although Kunigunde’s wealthy father did not approve of this pair, it was clear that she only wanted the goldsmith to be her husband as she refused many titled and rich suitors who asked for her hand in marriage. Her father became so enraged that he had the young goldsmith thrown into the darkest dungeon. It did not end their love, and the father created what he thought to be an impossible task: “If your goldsmith can make a chalice from which two people can drink at the same time without spilling one single drop, I will free him and you shall become his bride.” The young goldsmith created a girl whose skirt was hollowed to serve as a cup and her raised arms held a ‘much smaller cup’ that swivels so that it could be filled and then swung towards a second drinker. The “Bridal” or “Wedding Cup” remains a symbol; love, faithfulness and good luck await the couple who drink from this cup.
1,000 Origami Cranes
Since the elegant bird mates for life, it is a popular motif in weddings. An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane. Some stories believe you are granted eternal good luck, instead of just one wish, such as long life of happiness or recovery from illness or injury. The duty of folding 1,000 cranes was initially assigned to the father of the bride who was wishing a thousand years of happiness and prosperity upon the couple. The meaning and task of folding 1,000 cranes is now assigned to the bride; symbolic of showing the groom’s family what a patient woman the groom will be marrying. Couples can also do it together to practice patience, determination, and cooperation. If you wish to do this, know that on average, brides report investing more than 100 hours over six months.
Mason Jar of Cookie Dough
One of my favorites! A bride I married thought up this one herself. She is a baker and she wanted that trait reflected in her ceremony. So she had each element of their families pour into the Mason jar an element of the making of chocolate chip cookie dough. She involved their aunts, uncles, cousin, grandparents, siblings and parents. Then the couple put in the most important ingredient – the chocolate chips. Then I mentioned that they would bake the cookies on their 1st anniversary to remind them of the warmth of their families and friend’s love on this important day.