What are they?
Handfasting is another popular choice for non-religious ceremonies. The word “handfasting” comes from the ancient Celtic practice of binding couples’ hands together with a braided cord or piece of ribbon to represent a year-long “marriage contract” or engagement. The ceremony where handfasting took place dates back to around 7000 BCE and is also the origin of the modern phrase ‘tying the knot’. The symbolic idea of handfasting or being bound together with a ribbon or cord can be found in many cultures across the globe
For example some traditional weddings in the found in many cultures across the globe. For example, some traditional weddings in the Philippines involve a shawl or veil draped around the couple’s shoulders. At the same time, in Mexico, the el Lazo refers to a garland of flowers or beads wrapped around the duo’s shoulders or hands.
In your ceremony, you can create the binding cord using material that is significant to you– cloth from the clothing they wore on their first date or their favourite colours for the ribbon.
If the ceremony is specifically Pagan or Wiccan, an appropriate Blessing of the Hands is as follows:
This cord of ribbons symbolises so much. It is your life, love, and the eternal connection that the two of you have found. The ties of this handfasting are not formed by these ribbons or the knots connecting them. They are formed instead by your vows, pledge, souls, and two hearts, now bound together as one.
- Source: For This Joyous Occasion
The lighting of the Unity Candle
Lighting a Unity Candle is one of the most popular choices of unity rituals, from Christian services to Wiccan ceremonies. However, before agreeing to this, you must ensure that the wedding venue’s fire regulations don’t prohibit the use or presence of open flames.
Usually, a unity candle ceremony will be based around two white taper candles with a large white pillar candle in the centre. Of course, different colours can be chosen.
White is typical, however, as it symbolises goodness, purity and truth and is often associated with insight, knowledge and learning. The base of the candles can be decorated with other elements chosen by and relevant to the couple. At the beginning of the service, a member of each of the two wedding parties will come and light the taper candles. This marks the start of the ceremony. Later, the couple will usually use the two taper candles to light the central one after exchanging vows.
Food & Drink
Most weddings involve food and drink, such as champagne and wedding cake. But bringing food and drink into the ceremony can be a nice ritual for a couple, particularly if the food and drink represent elements of their different cultures. The couples could exchange a bite-sized offering of typical food from their homelands to symbolise the cultures they are now entwining.
Of course, sharing food and drink doesn’t have to have cultural relevance. Foodies might like to include these two elements purely because it means something important to their relationship.
This can highlight how the food or drink reflects the couple’s commitment to nourishing each other throughout their union.
Wedding celebrations on the beach often involve a sand ceremony, which enables the couple to bring a symbol of their surroundings into their ceremony. Simply put, the sand ceremony symbolises the coming together of two individuals to create a unique and blended whole.
Typically, each partner has a small glass vase of different coloured craft sand (rather than actual beach sand). At a specific time in the ceremony, they pour their sand into a larger vase, alternating the colours so that the result is a beautiful, wavy or striped sand creation that folds both colours together.
If you have children, or other members within your family are significant to your coming together. In that case, it can be a nice idea for each family member to have their coloured sand and for all the colours to be mingled in one vase. You then takes the vase home as a lasting memory of their special ceremony.
The coin ceremony is a traditional ritual that originated in Spain and Latin America and involves giving thirteen gold coins from one partner to the other (often the bridegroom to the bride, if this is not a same-sex wedding). Traditionally, this symbolised the groom’s ability – and willingness – to financially support his bride. Of course, the idea of a man financially supporting his wife is pretty old-fashioned today, but a coin ceremony can be used to represent any kind of support each partner gives the other. Each gold coin given by both individuals can symbolise an element of support that would be treasured by the other and could be called out by the officiant as the coins are exchanged. It is also possible that the coins could represent the joining together of two incomes, two homes, and all material aspects of the romantic partnership.
The tradition of jumping over a broom can be found in many African and European traditions. Records of broom-jumping as a wedding ritual can be traced back to 18 century Wales. At this time, a broom was placed over a newlyweds’ doorway, and the couple had to jump over it as a symbol of sweeping away the past and beginning a new life together.
In a modern-day ceremony, a broom could be placed in front of the couple; after that, they jump over it to indicate their own “clean start” together. Broom jumping can also note the fusing of two families and acknowledge the coming together of traditions or a nod to the ancestors of both individuals.
Four Directions Ritual
The Four Directions Ritual is a popular unity ritual at nature-based spiritual wedding ceremonies. The ritual is founded on the belief that nature is the embodiment of the divine and that human beings are directly tied to natural life. It thus calls on the Four Directions (East, North, West & South) to bless a couple's journey in life