Ceremony Rituals and What They Symbolize

Whether you're researching for religious or cultural reasons, or you're simply looking for ideas to personalize your vows, there are a handful of wedding ceremony rituals that you can consider incorporating into your big day. Some of these popular wedding rituals have religious origins, while other ceremony traditions are easily adaptable for secular and non-denominational weddings. You might already be familiar with some of the more common options—such as lighting a unity candle, sand ceremony, or breaking a piece of glass—but this list will ultimately help you choose the best one for your day.

Tree Planting

A unity tree ceremony is when a couple plants a tree together during their wedding ceremony to symbolize their marriage. The sapling is planted in fertile soil, given light and water and encouraged it to develop deep roots. You then allow it to grow and bear fruit, pruning when necessary. The same goes for growing a healthy marriage.

Sand Pouring

A unity sand ceremony is a tradition in which a couple pours sand from separate vessels into a unified, central one. The act represents the joining of two individuals and the creation of a new union and family. The joined vessel symbolizes the marriage of both partners’ hopes, dreams, and values.

Candle Lighting

A candle lighting ceremony is an alternative to the unity candle. Instead of just the two of you, include all your guests in lighting a candle. It symbolizes that everyone is committed to helping the marriage. Just make sure to check that your location allows open flames.

Wine Box

A wine box ceremony is a non-religious wedding ritual in which a bottle of wine is enclosed in a box so that it can be opened by the couple at a later date. Some couples opt to add an extra layer of meaning by including love letters to each other and sealing them in the box alongside the wine. You can even choose a box that has a lock and key for safe-keeping.

Ring Warming

A ring warming is when you give your loved ones the opportunity to hold the couple's wedding bands with a wish, blessing or prayer for your marriage. By the time your rings make it on to the fingers of the couple they will be saturated with the love of their friends and family. This is great for non-religious ceremony's that want to include their religious loved-ones. The rings can be warmed before the guests are seated or they can be passed by the guests while they are seated.

Sage Smudging

A smudging ceremony is the ritual of burning plant resins and herbs in a shell or a clay bowl while intentions and prayers are called forth. The ritual can be worked into both religious and secular ceremonies, so you can take part no matter what your faith.

Sky Lantern

A sky lantern ceremony symbolizes good luck and prosperity. You can perform this as a group release or couple's only release. You can choose to decorate your lantern or even write your own wishes and affirmations for your marriage. Sky lanterns also come in different colors.

Tie the Knot

Tie the Knot is a ceremony where the Bride and Groom will tie a fisherman's knot into 2 colored ropes. This represents the joining of their lives and the strength of their marriage. Tying the knot generally takes place after the vows have been said and the rings have been exchanged.

Unity Water

A unity water ceremony incorporates two small glasses of different coloured water and a larger glass into which the smaller glasses are emptied creating a third colour and sealed by cork or leak-proof lid. This is another variation of the sand ceremony.

Unity Candle

A unity candle ceremony generally symbolizes the joining of two individuals or families into the marriage bond. This tradition would require a large pillar candle to be lit by two taper candles. These are usually lit by the couple or the mothers of the Bride and Groom as a representation of the new union of lives or families.

Broom Jumping

Jumping the broom (or jumping the besom) is a phrase and custom relating to a wedding ceremony where the couple jumps over a broom. Jumping the broom symbolizes the couple’s entrance into a new life of their own creation by symbolically “sweeping away” their former lives, issues, and concerns.

Time Capsule

The time capsule ceremony is a reminder of the durability of your love and the lifetime commitment of marriage. You select important mementos of your courtship and usually write letters to your spouse for the time capsule.

Picture Painting

A unity canvas painting ceremony let's the couple celebrate a unity ceremony in an artistic way that truly represents themselves. The couple will choose the colored paints they would like and a large canvas. You can also as a stencil or painters tape to create a design. 

Do you have a tradition in mind that you do not see?

Here at LIFE we want to make sure your ceremony goes as planned. If there is a ritual or tradition that you would like to incorporate that you did not see above, please reach out to us to help us learn more so we can be the best for you!

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To get the FULL VALUE of joy

you must have someone to DIVIDE it with

Mark Twain