In the last few years there has been an explicit movement towards personalising ceremonies to suit couples.
As people are looking for a bespoke service with a theme or ritual which is unique to them, weddings are changing. There has been a rise in use of Celebrants for a completely distinctive or unique service
There are many personal reasons why couples may choose to include a ritual or a theme:
- They may wish to blend different cultural backgrounds
- They are inclusive – you can include families and children in such rituals as a sand ceremony
- They add personal meaning
- They may be a way to add a family tradition to your ceremony
- They are a way to include a spiritual or religious element to your ceremony which may have been lacking at the registry office
- They are a great way to include who you are as a couple
In the UK, the legal registration of a marriage is a slightly different matter to the ritual of the wedding ceremony. The most important part of your wedding day is, without a doubt, the wedding ceremony itself: when two become one. However, there is a rising awareness that we are not bound by the historical shackles of the legal registering of a wedding.
With more couples exploring their options and choosing to legally register their marriage separately to their wedding ceremony, or the celebration party, the freedom to choose, define and create a ritual that is true to you as a couple has become hugely popular.
So what types of rituals are there
There really is no limit on what you can do if you want to personalise your wedding. The point is that it’s personal. But I’ve detailed below some more common rituals that may be inspiring.
It doesn’t have to be whisky of course. Tea blending, wine blending and gin blending are all very popular. We can include whichever drink suits you best, whether it’s your favourite or the one you drank on your first date. The symbolic element of the ritual is the bringing together of two or more separate components and combining them into one entity, just as you come together as two individuals and join as one.
These are becoming increasingly popular as couples are finding great ways to add a modern twist on a traditional ceremony. Coloured sand is ceremonially poured into a decorative glass jar. This forms a beautiful, visual lasting reminder that, just as the separate coloured grains of sand are joined together and cannot be separated, neither can the couple now be.
The lighting of a unity candle is a great way to involve extended family members. Typically, the respective mothers of the couple light a small candle for their son or daughter. Then, during the ceremony, the bride and groom take a taper and light it from their personal candle before together lighting the unity candle, making their individual flames become one.
Traditional Wedding Elements
Another way in which people personalise their ceremony is by tying in relevant traditions or cultural points. It could be a Jewish glass smash or Chinese tea ceremony, or something more personal that has been passed through the family. You could even create a totally new tradition that you want to set for future generations!
Wine itself has been used throughout millennia in many and varied rituals and celebrations. As with most other rituals, it is open to interpretation, and can greatly differ between Celebrants as well as between couples who like to add their own touches
Symbolically, wine represents the sweet and bitter elements of life. Wine rituals, like all the parts of a wedding ceremony, are about the couple acknowledging and celebrating their future together, and by taking sips from the glass together, they are promising to face and deal with the challenges of life as a united team.
The Loving Cup
This one is familiar to most of us, whereby the bride and groom interlock arms and drink from one another’s glass. A special wineglass with two handles is also often used and can be passed around the guests for a sip or two! It can also be fabulous fun combined with a Handfasting.
Handfasting signifies a couple coming together as ‘one’. Lovers are united as they “Tie the Knot” in the tradition of Celtic Handfasting. Whatever its original intention, it has now become a popular tradition for today’s couples seeking a new and spiritual way to honour their love
The most popular theme of today seems to be Harry Potter, and I know my friend and colleague Susan is a massive fan and has incorporated the theme whole heartedly. But you can choose any theme to suit you. Perhaps you like Disney and want to incorporate Alice in Wonderland, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid or Cinderella; or any Disney Princess. Another lovely film is Wizard of Oz, which is what a couple I worked with chose a few years ago
It’s Your Day
Celebrants are open, inventive and creative. They love to incorporate symbolic elements into your ceremony. After all, we are limited only by our own imaginations.
The joint elements of your relationship are unique to you. Whatever you feel symbolises your relationship and your hopes and aspirations as you journey into married life, is also unique to you. The most important thing is that you have the day you want, whatever that may be.
Please contact me if you would like to chat about your ideas …