Wedding Unity Rituals
Rituals are practices that are routinely done to bring about significant behavior, be it in religion, life ceremonies, family events, or any other occasion. A wisely planned and solemnly conducted wedding unity ritual prepares the ground, creates the atmosphere and suggests the mood for what is to come. A well-placed and executed ritual can turn an ordinary ceremony into an extraordinary one!
Any sentiment that a couple feels strongly about can be made into a beautiful and poetic ritual for their wedding!
Below outlines some of the more common wedding traditions and wedding unity rituals.
Opening and Closing Rituals
Music is usually used to mark the beginning and end of a wedding ceremony. You may wish to add an opening and closing ritual as well. These rituals provide another way to include special people in the ceremony as honoured assistants.
Opening rituals might include:
- lighting candles
- ringing of bells to indicate the beginning (or end) of the ceremony
- decorating the wedding platform or ‘aisle’ with flower petals
- ‘Welcome to Country’ ceremony (performed by Aboriginal elders)
Community vow of support
Some brides may prefer to have a community vow of support in place of being ‘given away’. The guests may be asked, early in the ceremony, to support the union of the partners, and continue to support them as they journey through the natural ups and downs of married life. After the celebrant asks the guests to promise their love and support, the guests respond appropriately by saying “We will” or “We do” (depending on how the question is phrased). This simple act can have a profound impact on the couple, who may realise for the first time, their union has become a welcomed part of the larger community.
Parents, grandparents, godparents or other close relatives are honored for their love and support by each partner during the ceremony. These special people can each be recognised with the gift of a flower, a corsage, a special poem or a simple hug and kiss. This is a touching ritual for the beginning of the wedding ceremony.
“Mum, Dad – you have spent the last (x) years raising me, protecting me, nurturing me, educating me, and sheltering me from harm. Although there are not enough words to thank you for everything, I present this rose to you as a token of my love and appreciation for all you have done for me. It is because of your love that I know how to love others today. Although the beauty of the rose will fade, my love for you will always be strong. ”
This could also be ‘tweaked’ so that the celebrant is addressing the parent(s) on the bride’s behalf (which may be necessary if you have a teary bride), for example:
“Bob and Mary, you have spent you have spent the last (x) years raising Jayne, protecting her, nurturing her, educating her, and sheltering her from harm….etc”
Honoring the Deceased/Not able to attend
The memory of a parent, grandparent, sibling, or other close person in the lives of the wedding couple can be remembered by placing a photo on a nearby table, or simply acknowledging that while they may not be physically present they are forever in the hearts and minds of the bride/groom. Some couples may like to light a candle in their memory or include a special reading or song. Limit this to immediate family members or significantly close friends or relatives.
From breaking the glass at a Jewish ceremony to covering a bride’s hands and feet with henna for an Indian wedding, there’s no shortage of wedding unity rituals and marriage customs that you can adapt to your own personal taste. Whether your ceremony is a religious or secular, to include children, including a wedding unity ritual is a sure way to imbue your nuptials with even more meaning.
To name but a few of the many offered for your selection should you chose to incorporate a Wedding Ritual (or even two, time permitting) into your ceremony.
The Big Release
The release of doves, butterflies or balloons as an ending ritual, signifies the release of each partner journeying through life alone. It is a visual statement about the release of emotion that follows marrying the one you love.
The Receiving Line
This is a very standard closing ritual after many American ceremonies. After the wedding ceremony is complete, the bridal party (the couple, their attendants and parents) stand in a line near the exit of the hall or church or synagogue, or at the entrance of the reception hall, to receive well-wishes. Waiting in line can take a very long time, yet allows for guests to assemble and share comments about the wedding ceremony.
Afterward, the couple usually leaves the site of the wedding while being showered with rice, bird seed, bubbles or flower petals. The “showering” is supposed to represent the showering of good wishes for their marriage.