Top Ten Wedding Rituals to Incorporate Into Your Ceremony – Part 2 of 2

Thank you for joining us for part two, of this two-part article about worldwide wedding rituals and ceremonies. The union of two souls into one pathway is paved with love, commitment and respect. Just as no two snowflakes are alike, so too, no two wedding ceremonies are alike.

Your ceremony should be a direct reflection of yourselves and your personalities. Sit back, relax and enjoy reading about some interesting customs and rituals that we have performed and maybe think about incorporating one or two into your nuptials.

Beautiful sterling silver quaich and tartan. Photo credit: Lisa Forehand


For centuries, the Scottish have celebrated the rite of marriage with the ceremonial drinking from the quaich. The quaich is a two-handed drinking vessel, more often than not, made of silver, and is a gift to the bride from the family of the groom. The quaich is filled with a dram of… what else… Scotch whiskey. The bride, taking the quaich in both hands, brings it to her lips for a sip and then hands it to her partner to a bit, as well. While it may seem like a fun and interesting tradition, it has much darker roots.

When the marriage sought to join together two different clans, the chances were good that not everyone was on speaking terms. By the groom taking the quaich in both hands and drinking the scotch, he was unable to hold a weapon or to defend himself from attack. This show of good faith and vulnerability would be highly regarded in a room full of warriors. The quaich was then passed around among the clan leaders to celebrate and share in the occasion.

Things you will need to have on hand:  Of course, first and foremost you will need a quaich. Next is a good bottle of scotch – bottles are often selected based on their geographic location of origin or barrel year. 


The wedding ritual that we are perhaps most familiar with is the lighting of the unity candle. It is popular in many Christian ceremonies and signifies two becoming one. This is a rite best planned for an indoor ceremony, as the wind can be a fickle beast to contend with. When the couple arrive at the front of the aisle, the celebrant will invite them over to light the two smaller candles, representing their individual lives until this point. After vows are exchanged, the couple will again be invited forward where they use the smaller candles to simultaneously light the larger single candle, representing the two lives becoming one. 

 Things you will need to have on hand: You will require a lighter, one or two small tea lights, two tall, tapered candles and candle holders and one large pillar candle with a candle holder optional.


A wonderful tradition that comes to us from the Yorùbá people of Africa. In western culture, we have traditionally shared the vows of, “for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health…” The Four Elements is a bit of a twist on that tradition, in which the bride and the groom taste four different flavors, symbolizing the road throughout marriage. These typically include lemon for sourness, cayenne for heat, vinegar for bitterness and honey for sweetness, however, you can always change things up a bit to better fit your personalities. An added bonus, this ritual is great for wonderful facial expressions. The photos captured of the couple trying not to break character for the photographer are priceless.

Things you will need to have on hand: You will need four different kinds of vessels or shallow bowls, each containing two slices of lemon, two cayenne peppers, a bit of vinegar and two small spoons for honey. 


 Because we are here in Tuscany, we couldn’t close out this list without including one of our favorite Italian traditions. Though not exclusive to Italy, this Mediterranean rite includes gifting your guests a decorative bag or box full of five candy-coated or “Jordan” almonds. The candy themselves are representative of the bitterness and sweetness that comes with marriage and the number five is said to represent health, happiness, fertility, wealth, and a long life. 

Things you will need to have on hand:  For this ritual, you will need a supply of good, candied almonds and a fancy box or bag for each guest to put them in. (Make sure you get enough for each guest to have at least fine candies per person.


 The ancient art of skin and nail henna dates back over 6,000 years. While many associate a henna ritual with Indian and Hindu culture, it is far more prevalent that you might think. It crosses religious barriers into Hindu, Sikh, Muslim and Jewish, Romani and certain Christian sects and geographically can be found on every corner of the globe. The vast majority of practitioners are found in central and south Asia, the Middle East and Northern Africa.  

Henna represents positive spirits and good luck. The day before the wedding (and sometimes starting up to a week before), the bride is the recipient of a Mehndi ceremony. Friends and relatives participate in the festivities that are meant to wish the bride good health and prosperity as she begins her new, married life. Nowadays, brides across numerous cultures incorporate henna into their wedding rituals. 

Things you will need to have on hand: Obviously, if you are hosting a Mehndi, you will need lots and lots of henna! Consider a brightly colored sahri or other equally colorful clothes, but make sure it is comfortable as you will likely bes pending the day sitting on the floor, jewelry, bangles an empty stomach.

While this brings to a close our two-part article on our top ten favorite ceremonies that we have had the honor to participate in. We know that these are just a few of the many, many wedding traditions out there. You do not need to be a “card-carrying member” to incorporate any of these ideas into your wedding ceremony. We encourage you to use this as a starting point to planning your ceremony. Your celebration should be a direct reflection of you and your beliefs as a couple. There is no wrong or right way to celebrate your union and we encourage you to explore some of the different options before you. 

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.


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