Unique symbolic elements for your wedding ceremony

Unique symbolic elements for your wedding ceremony

How can you do the unexpected in your wedding, but still make sure it’s a celebration? I’ve had couples nervously tell me they don’t want a complete joke wedding. AS IF YOU NEED TO TELL ME! Despite wanting something light-hearted, unique and fun, I know the importance of symbolic moments too – after all, you’re choosing the celebrate the moment you and your partner say I DO to spending the rest of your lives together. It’s kinda a big deal!

So below are some ideas of how you can do something slightly different, so your wedding is unique, memorable for everyone, and totally heart-warming.

Elements that include all your guests

Ring warming

This is a lovely, simple element where your guests pass your rings around, each taking a brief moment to warm the rings with their love and well wishes for you, the marrying couple, before you exchange rings.

This works well if the ring-passing is done during a reading, a song or a musical interlude. It can also include a religious element if you wish, as the Celebrant can invite your guests to ‘warm the ring with your love and well-wishes for the fabulous couple and their married life together, or, if you’re religious, the couple would love it if you could bless their rings with a prayer’.

Sing a banger

Church weddings often include songs, but in my opinion, non-religious weddings don’t do this enough! If you choose to do this, it’s gotta be a banger where everyone knows the tune, you need some way playing the music to encourage any shy guests to sing (a sound system or musical friends), and you should supply the lyrics to avoid a muffled la la la in the verses!

11 songs that work well cross generations:

  1. That’s amore -Dean Martin
  2. Crazy Little Thing Called Love – Queen
  3. Walking On Sunshine – Katrina and the Waves
  4. I’m a Believer – The Monkees
  5. We Go Together – Olivia Newton John and John Travolta, Grease
  6. God Only Knows – The Beach Boys
  7. Wonderful World – Sam Cooke
  8. Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours – Stevie Wonder
  9. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye
  10. Everywhere – Fleetwood Mac
  11. Marry You – Bruno Mars

I actually did this at my own wedding. Following advice from my mum, I told my granny beforehand what songs we’d sing and she spent a few evenings practising.

A wish tree

Buy a potted tree (a tree that can be kept forever in a pot is good if you’re planning on moving!) and give a pen and wish tag to each guest (hey, the pen could be the favour!). Your guests then write a wish for the married couple on their tag and are then invited to hang it on the tree, probably at the end of the ceremony. I LOVE cherry trees for this, but think about when it flowers/has marvellous leaves, how big it gets, and how easy it is to maintain – you don’t want you wish tree dying in your first winter of marriage!

Group vows

My favourite way of ensuring there’s plenty of cheering and you feel all the love. I’ll ask your guests to voice their support at your decision to marry with a loud and jubilant ‘Yes, we do!’, such as:

Do you give the marriage of X and X your wholehearted approval?

ALL: Yes we do!

Do wish them a happy, prosperous and fulfilling married life together?

ALL: Yes we do!

And do you most definitely promise to raise a glass, after the ceremony, to their good health?

ALL: Yes we do!

Elements that are more about the couple

Sometimes a wedding is about uniting families, or simply your friends have supported you so much in your relationship, you’d like to celebrate and honour their support. The following elements can be done with the two marrying people, or can be adapted to include VIPs.

Sand Ceremony

This is particularly good for uniting families with children. Each person has a different coloured sand, which they take turns to pour into a small vase to create layers. At the end, everybody pours their sand together, creating a final layer of blended colour, symbolising the coming together of the families. The individual grains of sand represent that your individuality and uniqueness is never lost, but you are choosing to live a life together.

Unity Candle

With a taper each, the marrying couple lights a central pillar candle. This symbolises your promise to bring your separate lives and lights together, to become a brighter, shining light. If you wish to include more people, you can choose a pillar candle with several wicks.

Hand fasting

This is where you literally tie the knot! You can buy hand fasting cords (Etsy is a good place to look), or you can make your own with strips of fabric that hold sentimental value. If you want to include VIPs in this part of the ceremony, each VIP can add a ribbon/cord/strip of fabric before the Celebrant ties them (and you complete the knot). I really like it when there is a reading at the same time, which your Celebrant can read, or a guest. Two of my personal favourites are ‘These are the hands’ by Rev Daniel L Harris and ‘Elements of Love’ (author unknown, but it starts ‘My your love be like the earth’ if you want to google it).

Love shack, ba-aby

Ok, it’s more of a box. The idea is simple: A bottle of your favourite vino, 2 love letters that you’ve written to each other, and a copy of your vows. After saying your vows, we lock them up in a box and you decide on an occasion where you will open the box i.e. your first wedding anniversary. You could then drink a toast to each other and that moment in the future before you walk down the aisle to wild cheering!

A toast

A wonderful bonus of a Celebrant ceremony is that alcohol IS allowed! (Although do check with your venue!) Do you want to seal the deal with a shot? Do you want to toast whoever walked you down the aisle? Do you want all your guests to raise a glass to you after your first kiss? As your Celebrant, I would contact your venue to sort the logistic side, but this is one way to get the party started!o these

These are just a few ideas, but a Celebrant will work with you to create something that’s right for you. You may not want to include anything, and that’s totally fine! Equally, you might in the market for a marvellous piece of art to go above your fireplace that will forever remind you of your wedding. Whatever you want, it’s YOUR day! So don’t let a registrar, mother-in-law, or tradition stop you from doing what you want!

Disclaimer! If you wanted to include any of these elements in a registrar wedding ceremony, you should ask. They tend to be much more formulaic and inflexible, but if you don’t ask, you don’t get! (But what I really think is that Celebrant weddings are simply magical and if you’ve read this all the way to the end, you’re probably looking for that something extra!)

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