You may have seen or heard of a wedding ritual and gone ‘Hmmm… should I have a ritual in my ceremony?’
We’ve found couples can feel very strongly one way or another. Some love rituals, and want two or three in their ceremony, and others feel super-awkward at the mere suggestion of them. And that’s okay – after all, everyone is different, and is going to have their own opinion on them.
What we do know that though is that the best rituals are the ones the feel very authentic to the couple. For example, there’s no point having a hand-fasting if the thought of it makes you feel a bit weird.
We asked our fabulous community for some of the best rituals they’ve seen, and below are some examples.
I really love handfasting but always put a personal spin on it. Last year I conducted a very intimate home elopement where the video and photographers were witnesses, and the couple’s three children were the only guests. To seal the whole ceremony, each child placed a strand of fabric taken from the sarong which wrapped around the youngest when they were born. The strands were then tied into three knots – one for each party of the marriage and one for the union.
This is what I said: “And to make a final seal on the promises you have shared with each other and your children today, I will now tie your hands fast. Your hands work alongside each other, they work together to raise the children, they caress each other and comfort with the slightest of touch.
I did a twenty-year vow renewal centred around mixing a cocktail. Harry potter theme of course!
I am doing one in November very country. A piece of timber with their wedding date they brand it with their 2 family brands then their new brand as a couple. So excited for this – it feels very Texas, USA.
You can find branding kits on Etsy, like this one.
Bride’s instructions were to create:
- A “foresty, atheist (but with some nods to Amy’s remaining soft-spot for her pagan history)
- Non-spiritual, (but still magical)
- Celtic meets Nordic (but not cheesy please)” wedding
Groom walked down aisle with axes to amazing Norwegian drumming, he summonsed bride by playing horn, I got to sprinkle glitter over newlyweds, Groomsmen shared knowledge for marriage and at the end of each tip the entire bridal party yelled “Skol’ and skulled ale out of cow horns. It was magic.
Love completely personalising rituals…here’s a shot of a handfasting I did with a bandage because she was a nurse and he was a cop who had been injured multiple times in motorbike accidents – and yes I’m hanging onto their dog too!
I had the bride’s family sew in 13 gold coins into their handfasting to represent her South American heritage and then had a spiritual healer friend bless them. And we also had a wishing tree for their guests to represent his Dutch heritage.
This Hindu knot-tying was so special.
They explained what they wanted to do and why it was important to them. The groom’s mum sent me some information which I crafted into my script, and I got the groom to voice record the pronunciations so I could practise before the day. It was just so lovely.
This is how it unfolded.
Having exchanged vows, Megan and Alok will quite literally tie the knot. In traditional Hindu marriage, Thalikettu or mangalsutra is the most important ritual in the ceremony. “Thaali” is the pendant and ‘kettu’ means tying. It symbolises the union of two people and protects them from all evil in the world. Traditionally, the thaali is strung on a cotton threat dipped in turmeric. The groom ties three knots around the bride’s neck as a promise to stay together forever. Like a wedding ring, the thaali shows that they are married – and out of bounds to all others.
We followed this with the ring exchange (they had their dog as a surprise ring bearer) and the whole ceremony was just perfect.
I had a couple of keen anglers, so they tied an angler’s knot during their ceremony. Totally appropriate for them, and a keepsake as a memory of their day.
I did a ring-warming recently where I stood by the wedding bands as guests arrived, and asked them to place their love, blessings or wishes onto the rings. I’ve done this at weddings before, and some of the guests have looked a little… uncomfortable, I guess. However, at this one, every single guest really held onto those rings, and warmed them with so much joy in their eyes. A few even cried.
This couple knew their guests, and their guests knew how much this ritual would mean to the couple.
I learnt that one of my couple’s, Beck and Cemil, both appreciated good food. Food really is a love
language in their relationship, so with all this in mind, I surprised them with a little ritual involving
their favourite foods, pide, ramen and donuts.
There is a ritual that is sometimes performed in wedding ceremonies, called the Loving Cup. The Loving Cup represents the cup of life, filled with the possibilities of the future. The idea is that the couple share a drink from the same glass, symbolising their commitment to sharing the rest of their lives together. I had a portable blender, but I don’t want to force them to do anything that made them uncomfortable. So, to avoid feeling like I was emotionally blackmailing them, I decided that for their ritual, drinking from the cup doesn’t symbolise them committing to their future together.
The point of this brand-new ritual, that I created just for them, is that they make the choice together. Whether or not the chose to literally drink from this cup of mysteries, they were choosing marriage, and each other. They could also choose to share some of their favourite foods,
without them being blended. They chose blended.
Years ago I wrote a sand-timer piece into a ceremony – bride entered to meet groom at top of aisle, then together walked to the side to turn a sand timer before heading to arbour to get hitched.
There were lots of light-hearted references to me promising not to talk for longer that the timer because the beers were waiting on ice – but within the ceremony I reminded the couple to always make time for each other and their relationship. If harmony was tested within their marriage I suggested they could turn the timer to walk away and breathe before confronting their issues, plus it could be turned as a reminder to bring them back to the feelings/memories of ‘this moment’.