Top Ten Wedding Rituals to Incorporate Into Your Ceremony – Part 1 of 2
Wedding ceremonies are the ultimate commitment of love and respect, bringing two people together to form a single new life together. Just as every person is unique, so too is every celebration. Your wedding ceremony should be a direct reflection of yourselves and your personalities. In this two-part article, we are looking at the top ten rituals that we have helped our couples incorporate into their ceremonies.
The hand-fasting ceremony is an ancient Celtic ritual that dates back over two thousand years. It is a symbolic unity ritual is quite literally where the phrase, “tying the knot” originated. While this rite is a particular favorite among the Irish and Scottish, many couples from every possible background have chosen to adopt it.
It is performed by first having the couple face each other holding hands while either listening to or reciting words of love. The celebrant or members of the family take an ornate cord or sash and begin to loosely wrap the couple’s hands, symbolizing binding together of their lives as one couple moving forward. The sash or cord is usually a keepsake borrowed from one of the families or a tradition that the couple will keep moving forward. There are many different vows or exchanges, but our favorite goes a little something like this.
“These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, for a lifetime of happiness.”
“These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes: tears of sorrow and tears of joy.”
“These are the hands that will comfort you in illness and hold you when fear or grief racks your mind.”
“These are the hands that will hold you tight as you struggle through difficult times.”
“These are the hands that will give you support and encourage you to chase your dreams. Together, everything you wish for can be realized.”
What you need to have on hand: You will need a sash of some kind. It can be old, new, borrowed, blue, or whatever you brings you joy.
Wine ceremonies have become immensely popular, especially here in the Tuscan wine countryside. Wine is incredibly complex indulgence that many regard as more of an art than a science. For millennia it has been associated with life, vitality, love and transformation. Just as a couple begins their new life together, they will grow, develop and mature with time – just as a fine wine.
The wine ritual can take a couple of different forms:
The idea of incorporating wine into a religious ceremony date back thousands of years. In this ritual, each family brings a culturally symbolic bottle of with to the ceremony. (It can be a bottle from their personal vineyard, a bottle from their country of origin or perhaps a bottle from the year the couple was born.) The celebrant will ask each family, generally the parents, to step forward, open the bottle of wine and pour a bit into a carafe. The blending of these two wines represents the sweet and the bitter parts of life that surely every couple faces along the way. The couple share a few sips of wine and then proceed with the rest of the ceremony.
What you need to have on hand: You will need two bottles of wine, a wine opener, a carafe and at least one glass to drink from. If the parents or bridal party will participate, consider having a few extra glasses on hand.
WINE BOX CEREMONY
The wine box ceremony is a much newer concept and one gaining traction quite rapidly. The couple selects or is gifted a noteworthy bottle of wine. It could be from a place with cultural significance, from the year they met, and so forth. Prior to the wedding ceremony, guests will be encouraged to write advice to the couple and the couple is also encouraged to write love letters to their partner. During the ceremony, after all the papers have been collected, the couple then together nail the box shut, only to be opened on a specific date in the future. In this way, it is a bit of a time capsule from their most special of days.
What you need to have on hand: You will need “advice cards” and pens distributed prior to the ceremony. You will also need to invite everyone to put their card in the box themselves or enlist the help of the bridal party to collect them in baskets. Of course, you will need your chosen bottle of wine in a sturdy wooden box, a hammer, and some nails. If you are including notes to one another, make sure you have either your best man/ maid of honor or celebrant hold onto them until it is time to seal the box.
A sand ceremony is especially significant if you are blending families. This simple rite is performed during the ceremony and includes taking several different colored sands and pouring them into a larger vessel to signify the mixing and melding of families. It is especially wonderful to incorporate if you have children. The couple each has sand of two different colors which is then poured into a larger, sealable vessel. Children can also participate with sand of their own color, creating a wonderful piece of artwork to represent and remind you of this special day.
Things you will need to have on hand: You will need a medium size vessel with a lid that is able to be secured tightly. You will need several smaller bottles full of different colored sand to be used during the ceremony.
For millennia, red has been viewed as an auspicious color in all Asian culture. While not considered exactly a ‘ritual’ in itself, the color red is intrinsically intertwined in nearly every significant Asian celebration. Red has many different meanings and connotations; however, it is more often synonymous with love, happiness, luck and prosperity. And the more red, the better! The bride will normally wear a red wedding dress, red veil and red accessories. Gifts for the new couple are enclosed in red envelopes. The reception is awash in red, from flowers to tableware, to candles and linens. It seems there is no such saying as “too much of a good thing”, with regards to red at Asian wedding celebrations.
These are just a few of the many, many wedding traditions out there. As our worlds become smaller and smaller, we would like to encourage you broaden your mind and consider incorporating a long-forgotten heritage or a newfound connection. Any of these rituals can easily be adapted for your ceremony. Whether you share heritage with the rites or have always been fascinated by the different cultures, it is a fascinating, creative way to pay homage to different cultures and promote awareness about your personal beliefs.
Do you have your own rituals that we may have missed and would like to share them? If so, please drop a note in the comments and we will work on a “Part 3” for this series.
Are you interested in learning more about how Tuscany Wedding Celebrants can create the perfect custom ceremony for you and incorporate a meaningful ritual? Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information.