Because our wedding officiants create customized wedding ceremonies for each of our clients, we are often asked for our suggested wedding ceremony ideas. Below, we’ve provided information on some of our more popular ceremony elements. Brief descriptions of the rituals as well as any additional materials you would need to purchase are included.
In addition to this list of wedding ceremony ideas, a great list of ideas with pictures can be found at Emmaline Bride, and there is an older list over at Intimate Weddings. If you have additional suggestions for items we can add to this list, or if you would like to check our availability for your wedding date, please contact us today!
Sand Ceremony– During this ceremony the couple each has an individual container of sand. They join together to pour into one larger container. It is symbolic of the fact that just as the grains of sand could never again be separated, so will the union be, forever entwined and forever inseparable. This ceremony can be done with just the couple, or with other family members and/or children. You can watch a video of this on our video page. Materials: Sand, usually in two different colors. One container for each person participating filled with a little sand. One large empty container for the combined sand. Pre-made sets are available in stores, or couples can purchase a keepsake glass container and small bud vases for each individual.
Candle Lighting– Similarly symbolic to the sand ceremony. Two flames representing the individuals are joined to light a center candle. Each person lights a single taper candle. The couple then brings the flames together to light a larger middle candle. The tapers remain lit and are replaced in their holders to represent two coming together while maintaining individuality. Although this is frequently considered a Christian tradition, this is often chosen in interfaith ceremonies as well. Can be done with just the couple or including other family members. You can watch a video clip of this on our video page. Materials: One center candle (and hurricane cover if it’s outside), two side taper candles in holders, lighter or small votive candle to be pre-lit for lighting tapers.
Wine Ceremony– Partners share drinks from a single glass of wine. This symbolizes drinking from the cup of life and sharing all of its experiences together, both bitter and sweet. Materials: Glass of wine (a variety of the couple’s choosing) and table for it to sit on.
Love Letter Wine-Box Ceremony– Partners write each other a love letter before the ceremony. During the ceremony the officiant will talk about how the couple was asked to set aside the hustle and bustle of wedding preparations and spend some time considering how they are feeling as they are making this commitment to each other. The couple is instructed to write their partner a letter sharing this and to bring that letter to the ceremony. The officiant then explains that the box will become a time capsule that the letters will now be placed inside of. The couple is then invited to open this box on their 10-year anniversary, and drink the bottle of wine together as they read their love letters that have long been sealed in the box. Materials: Bottle of wine (a variety of the couple’s choosing), a love letter written by both partners, a wooden box with a lid that can hold the letters and the bottle of wine, and a table for it to sit on. You can search for wedding wine boxes on Etsy to see lots of examples of wine boxes.
Handfasting Ceremony– This is an ancient Celtic tradition. The officiant shares a reading while wrapping a cord over the couple’s hands and looping it in a “knot”. This ritual also provides the option for the attendants/bridal party to be included by passing the cord down the line as they offer blessings/words of wisdom. Materials: Handfasting cord or ribbon.
Ceremonies Involving Children– Parents and children can make vows to one another (dependent on the children’s ages). Parents may also choose to give children gifts during the ceremony, or conduct a family Sand Ceremony. Materials: Gift of parents’ choosing. Sand Ceremony props from above if that option is chosen.
Tree Planting– This symbolizes the need for both people to nurture the marriage and make it grow. The couple plants the tree or plant as the officiant shares the symbolism behind the ritual, personalized for each specific type of plant (i.e. lemon tree vs. bonsai tree, etc.). Materials: Plant in pot, cup of soil, cup of water, trowel.
Rose Ceremony– The couple exchanges two red roses, an act representing the first gift of love to one another. The wording asks that the couple pick a place in their home for roses so that you can take roses there to mark this most wonderful day. Also for those times when you need to reconnect it can act as the white flag of surrender or the reminder of the love that you are sharing on your wedding day that should matter most of all. Comes toward the end of the ceremony, after vows and rings. Materials: Two long stem red roses.
Smudging– More commonly done in nature/wiccan/pagan ceremonies. The officiant will light the sage or smudge stick, waving it around the couple from head to toe, front to back, to cleanse the area of negative energies. Materials: Wand of sage and lighter (preferably butane/torch types).
Jumping the Broom– Comes from an African American tradition. At the end of the ceremony a broom is placed down on the floor of in front of the couple. They join hands and jump over together, their first act together in marriage. Materials: Broom.
Breaking the Glass– A Jewish tradition that is now often seen in many interfaith ceremonies, as a non-denominational symbol. At the very end of the ceremony the groom breaks a glass. It symbolizes the shattering of the old and the bringing in of the new. Materials: Small drinking glass wrapped in a cloth napkin.
Signing the Ketubah/Marriage Promise– A Jewish tradition. The Ketubah is a marriage contract that is also decorative art. To see a sample go to modernketubah.com. The officiant will speak about the ketubah and the couple will sign it during the ceremony. Materials: Ketubah, thin tip permanent black marker.
Wedding Basket– The couple selects different guests to join them and place an item of significance in a basket placed on a nearby table. These items should symbolize something for the couple. For example: A grandmother might bring up a rosary to represent her wish for the marriage to be guided by faith. Materials: Basket/chest and items to go inside.
If you know of any other traditions we should include here, please contact us today and let us know! You can find more information on our other advice pages, including suggested wedding ceremony readings, advice on creating a wedding ceremony script, and popular wedding ceremony songs. Of course, if you are looking for a wedding officiant, please click here to contact us and check our availability for your wedding date!