Options for Alternative Rituals and Special Ceremonies for Weddings:
Unity Candle: Lighting the Unity Candle symbolizes the joining together or blending of separate lives. It is the coming together of two families and the
merging of two individuals into one married couple, a love that burns jointly.
Handfasting (Celtic): Have you ever wondered where the words "tying the knot" come from? The expression "tying the knot" refers to the traditional Celtic
marriage ritual of Handfasting. Handfasting is an ancient Celtic word for wedding, and was recognized as a binding contract of marriage between a man and a woman before weddings became
a legal function of the government or a papal responsibility of the church.
Blending of the Sands: This is a beautiful and meaningful unifying ceremony from Hawaii that symbolizes the joining together of the Bride and Groom or
the blending together of their families. There are two versions offered - one for the couple and one for the family.
Ceremony of the Rose (The First Gift): The Ceremony of the Rose symbolizes the merging of the Bride's and Groom's families. When the Bride enters, she
has in her possession two roses, unually red. As she approaches the altar, the Bride will stop and offer a rose and a kiss to her mother or significant mother figure. In doing so she is
expressing her gratitude for preparing her for this moment and for receiving the man she is about to marry into her family. When the wedding ceremony has ended and she and the Groom exit, the
Bride will stop and offer a rose and a kiss to the Groom's mother or significant mother figure. In doing this, she is expressing her gratitude for preparing her new husband for this moment and
for receiving her into the Groom's family. A variation you may consider is to present both roses either upon the entrance or upon the exit.
Breaking of the Glass: A Jewish Tradition, the Breaking of the Glass has many meanings as follows:
- a symbol of the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
- a reminder of the tragic losses the Jewish people have suffered.
- a reminder that, even amidst joy, a broken world still needs our attention and people less fortunate still require our
- a reminder not only of sorrow, but also an expression of hope for a future free from all violence and hatred.
- a representatiion of the fragility of human relationships.
- a reminder that marriage changes the lives of individuals forever.
- Jumping the Broom: The tradition of "jumping the Broom" symbolizes sweeping away the old and welcoming the new - a symbol of a new beginning. The couple
picks up the broom and begins to sweep around in a circle while the officiant explains the symbolism. The couple then place the broom on the floor, join hands and jump together over the broom. This
custom may take place during the ceremony after the couple is pronounced "husband and wife", or at the beginning of the reception.
- Blessing Stones: The ritual of the Blessing Stones, or Wishing Stones, is a wonderful way to include everyone in the wedding by way of offering
blessings and good wishes to the newlyweds. It also is a good way to ensure that everyone will make contact with the Bride and Groom at some point during the day. This ritual may be performed at the
actual ceremony itself (before the final blessing), or at the conclusion of the service (in a receiving line manner), or later at the reception. When guests arrive at the ceremony, they are given a
Blessing Stone along with a note card with words printed on it such as: "My wish for you is ..." or "May you be blessed with ..." or "May God bless you with ..." At some point during the ceremony the
guests will share their blessing or wish for the couple and toss the stone into a Blessing Bowl, Wishing Well, a fountain (or whatever is chosen to hold the stones. The notes with the blessings may
be placed into a basket or decorative box for the couple to reflect on later. Many couples keep their Blessing Stones in a special place in thier home to remind them of all the love, good wishes, and
blessings shared at their ceremony.