Ceremonies within Ceremonies: Rituals to include in your wedding

These days, weddings are so much more fun than they used to be. Gone are the days of having to go through a long and boring ceremony for the bride, groom and guests.
Couples have a lot more input now with as little or as much personal aspects they would like. Another benefit of the modern-day wedding is the innovation of some different ceremonials and rituals such as “The Heart Lock”, where couples use the lock as a symbol of their lifetime love for one another and “Rose Ceremony” with the rose representing the words “I love you”, the bride and groom each present the other with one during the ceremony. While most of these rituals do come from much earlier days than these, they have adapted to modern times and even shortened to be just a short little ceremony within a ceremony. For example, a Handfasting ceremony comes from the Celtic weddings but is now often adapted to suit any contemporary service. But undoubtedly, the most popular of these ceremonies are Sand, Ring Warming and Unity Candles.
Sand ceremony (Image Pinterest)A wedding sand ceremony is very popular. Two vessels of sand are poured together either into a third keepsake vessel, or into the wind to represent the coming together of your lives. It can also be a wonderful way to unite two families if either party has children already from a previous relationship. Each member of the family is represented by different colour sand, and as each is poured into the container, the individual portions of sand will no longer exist on their own, but will instead be joined together as one. Just as every individual grain of sand has its own unique beauty, strength and character…when blended together, they form an entirely new and extraordinary more intricate whole. So marriage also respects the individuality of each person but unites them as one.

The Ring Warming Ceremony is one that can include all of your guests or just a handful of them. During a ring warming, the couple’s wedding rings are passed among their guests, who are asked to say a prayer, blessing, or make a special wish for the couple over the rings while holding them. This intimate exchange injects all of the loving energy of the couple’s friends and family into the rings that they’ll be wearing for a lifetime. The rings are visible sign of a commitment to one another. As the ceremony proceeds, we invite family and friends to take part in the warming of the rings. We ask that everyone wish them health and happiness, or may have their own personal wish for the couple. Each guest holds them for a moment, warms them with their hands and makes a silent wish for the couple, and their future together. When they come back the warmth of these precious rings represents all the hopes and dreams from their family and friends.

But my favourite is the Unity Candle Ceremony, although not recommended to be done outside as the candles will not stay lit. The flames from the candles represent the “light” and “souls” of the bride and groom. The two smaller candles on either side of the unity candle symbolize the separate lives, families and experiences before the wedding day and these candles are lit early in the ceremony by a member from each family, usually the mother. After the exchange of vows, but before the exchange of rings the bride and groom take each side candle and light the unity candle together, uniting the families and experiences into one.
The beauty of all of these types of ceremonies is that they can be adapted to suit anybody in any way. Changing the core of the ceremony does not necessarily make the service right or wrong but more individual. And by adding one of these rituals, the wedding can be far more entertaining and personal and not tiresome or uninteresting.

Robyn Rodda
Civil/Marriage Celebrant


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