Tag Archives | Alternative ceremonies

Personalising your wedding ceremony

We are often asked what elements couples could add to their ceremony plans to make it a little unique and also to add some personal elements to it and this is something that we wanted to bring you some ideas for in this blog.

So, to get us started you may have heard of the Unity Candle Ceremony which as long been a tradition seen in marriages of all types and has a very simple yet symbolic meaning.  Traditionally in this kind of ceremony there would be a single candle (the unity candle) which would be lit by the bride and groom from their own single candles and it so symbolise the joining of the two lives together as one.  Family and friends can also be invited to join in the lighting ceremony although its quite a personal thing and involving the bride and groom seems to be  a really beautiful idea.  Words can be said at this time by the person who is conducting your ceremony.

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Couple lighting a unity candle during a candle ceremony

A more recent unity ceremony has developed with the use of sand rather than candles.  This ceremony is seen as a celebration that is usually two to three minutes in length and is a meaningful symbolic joining of two lives.  The couple will ceremoniously pour various colours of sand from separate containers into one which is known as the unity vase thus joining the sand together as one.  We think this would work perfectly as part of a Beach Wedding here on Bournemouth Beach – what better way to celebrate the fact that you are getting married on the beach – the sand could be so symbolic as part of your day especially if you have a love of the sea and the beach.

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Couple during their sand ceremony placing sand into the unity vase

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Sand from a sand ceremony – beautiful to keep

Another ceremony you could incorporate is a handfasting ceremony whereby a the right hands of the bride and groom are bound together with cord or ribbon or a ceremonial shawl worn by the celebrant during the ceremony.  The wedding guests can also join in with this ceremony and be invited to tie a knot / ribbon around the clasped hands of the couple.  The ceremony is to symbolise the binding together which the couple will do when making their vows together.  Handfasting is often done a year beforehand at the engagement of the couple or when the couple agree to marry.   There are many different types of handfasting ceremony and these alternatives should be discussed with the person who is conducting your ceremony for you. There are differing thoughts as to the history of this ceremony – people believe that it may have Pagan beginnings but there are now many thoughts and ways to incorporate this into your ceremony and can also be accompanied with bespoke words written for you to complement  your ceremony.  It holds much significance and there are special verses which the celebrant speaks at this point in the ceremony.

“Tying  the knot” with a handfasting ceremony

Image courtesy of www.persimmonimages.com

And what about adding in “jumping of the broom” during the recessional.  This is a ritual from African culture but quite widely used in the USA at wedding ceremonies and now spanning all cultures.  The belief is that you are starting a new beginning with your partner (similar to the carrying of the bride over the threshold) and your problems are literally “swept away” as you jump over the broom into your new life as husband and wife.  Simple to incorporate into your ceremony but steeped in history and very symbolic.  This tradition calls for the jumping of the bride and groom together, hand in hand.  It is also a good way of involving all the guests as the Celebrant will usually call out to everyone to count “1, 2, 3….jump together. Jump!”  so that way it calls for the support of all the guests representing community and a sign of unity.  It can be used in same sex marriages and mixed race marriage to symbolise the sweeping away of prejudices and old traditions.  This could be a really appropriate ceremony to incorporate for second marriages.

Jumping the broom on the exit of the bride and groom from the ceremony

Image courtesy of www.itasabrideslife.com

There are also many others way you can symbolise your wedding ceremony including a wine ceremony (the sharing of a wine goblet by the bride and groom to symbolise the “cup of life” ), exchange or roses (romantic ceremony and roses can be dried and preserved for future memories) , joining of flowers to make a family bouquet and many more.  Whilst your legal wedding ceremony must be performed at Beach Weddings Bournemouth by a Registrar from Bournemouth Registry Office you can also make some further choices for a further ceremony after this performed by a civil celebrant and we recommend the services of and work closely with Diana Saxby of www.gracetheday.com who is a fully trained Celebrant and can provide you with a very personal service and discuss incorporating some special elements into your very special day to make it exactly as you would like it to be.

Diana comments that “the sand ceremony is one of my favourites as it symbolises the uniting of two souls and two lives.  Its especially good if families are combining and there are children involved as they can participate with the pouring of sand and they feel involved and the reminder of their involvement each time they look at the sand vessel afterwards.  Coloured sands are particularly good for this as are beautifully shaped vessels which can be sealed and kept as lasting momentos.  The vessel can be engraved with the date of the wedding and names of the Bride and Groom.  This ceremony would work particularly well at Beach Weddings Bournemouth.  The candle unity ceremony may prove difficult with candles blowing out on occasions especially for beach weddings.  I can also recommend a Tasting The Four Elements Ceremony.  This refers to “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, in health” and four different tasting elements are used usually in different wine goblets.  Lemon, vinegar, cayenne pepper and honey and can hold great importance within a wedding ceremony”

Diana Saxby can be contacted at diana@dianagrace.com and thank you to Diana for her contribution to this article

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