What symbolic rituals can be included in a wedding ceremony? The simple answer: any that you can conjure up…though I prefer the term symbolic gesture as ritual can imply that the act is something done by rote rather than by heart-felt design.
Increasingly couples are choosing to include one or more element in their wedding ceremony to symbolise joining together in marriage.
The ones I most commonly hear talked about seem to be:
- Hand-Fasting: an ancient tradition which is still one of the central components in Pagan ceremonies; also used by Hindus as part of the Kanyadan. This sees a thread (sometimes several) tied to the couples’ wrists to mark their union and literally joining them together during the ceremony.
- Candle Lighting: using separate flames to light a single candle to symbolise the coming together of two individuals to make a new family. This is a great way to include your parents or other significant members of family.
- Jumping the Broom: claimed by several different groups, the couple literally jump over the broom to signify a new beginning and a sweeping away of the past.
But there are so many others to choose – or to get inspiration from.
Here’s a few to get your creative juices flowing:
- Ring Warming: passing your wedding bands around your guests for each to impart a little positive energy into them before you exchange them as part of the ceremony.
- Sand Jar: same concept as Candle Lighting but using different coloured sand instead of candles. This is a wonderful way of incorporating children, especially if your new family will include children on both sides.
- Fingerprint Tree: invite all guests to place their fingerprint on a pre drawn tree. This is great idea for before you make your entrance or to accompany a piece of music.
- Formal Greetings: several nominated guests (perhaps to signify different parts of the couple’s life) or all guests, if numbers and time permits, are called forward to formally wish the couple well. In the Hindu tradition the greeting is standard: “Akhand Sau Bhagyavati” and roughly translates as, “may you always be happily married and may your bond be unbroken”.
- Wishes Box: invite all guests to write a word or wish for you (along with their name) and place it in a special box for you to read at a later date. Again, this is great for before you make your entrance or to accompany a piece of music.