Weddings are a defining moment of two people making a life-long commitment to one another. As a Non-Denominational Wedding Officiant, I provide custom ceremonies for traditional and non-traditional couples with unique and breathtaking additions that will truly help you to experience A Perfect Moment.
Here are a few of the many wedding options I can provide to you to make your wedding a unique and personal experience. No two couples are alike – why should your wedding be?
A Celtic tradition now gaining more popularity, a Handfasting includes 6 questions asked of the couple, each of which is accompanied by a ribbon or chord which is tied around the clasped hands of the couple, forming a bond. Once all the questions are completed, the ribbon is slipped off the hands of the couple and this visual reminder of their union is placed on their wall. A handfasting can be done in place of, or accompanied to, a ring ceremony or even individual vows.
Blessing of the Hands
A beautiful ceremony where the hands of the couple are blessed to aid one another along life’s path, to give them strength and remind the couple of the role their beloved’s hands will take in the coming years. Truly, a moving moment.
Oathing Stone Ceremony
The Oathing Stone is an old Scottish tradition where the Bride and Groom place their hands upon a stone while saying their wedding vows.
Called the Oathing Stone, it was thought to be the best way to express your solemn promise in physical form. Taken from the ancient Celtic custom of setting an oath in stone, inclusion of an oathing stone in the vows can be deeply moving. The addition of stones throughout your wedding, or as small favors, is a modern twist and solemn reminder of the foundation of loving marriage.
Unity Sand Ceremony
A Unity Sand Ceremony symbolizes the joining of the couple in each and every way. Couples add this ceremony to their weddings as an alternative to the unity candle ceremony. Each member of the couple chooses a color of sand, which is held in separate containers. Then the sand is poured into one vessel, creating a mixture of the sand in a unique design – a keepsake of that special day. This can be coupled with a reading by the Officiant, a special song being played or when reciting vows.
Unity Candle Ceremony
A bit more popular, especially for a formal, church-style wedding, two small candles are lit by the mothers of the couple. The couple then takes their candle and lights a center, larger Unity Candle, symbolizing the coming together of two families, two flames, as one. “The Two Shall Be One.” The Mothers can then take the smaller candles back to their homes to burn them in celebration of their child’s marriage.
A Rose Ceremony is a unique and beautiful way to incorporate the tradition of the Rose into your wedding. An offering of a single rose is first given to the mothers or representatives of the couple and then to one another as their first gift. It is very moving and meaningful.
Water or Wine Ceremony
Similar to the Sand Ceremony, Water from the homes (or parent’s homes) of each of the couple is taken and poured into a common vessel and consumed, or Wine from countries of origin are poured into a cup and each drink from it. There are many variations of this ceremony which can be personalized to meet the needs or traditions of the newly formed family.
Placing of Roots
When you are married, the roots of your union go far and wide. Planting a seed in a pot or a tree in the ground symbolizes the foundation you are making and the hope of flowering and fruitful beginnings. Small packets of seeds given as gifts to your wedding guests serve as a reminder of the roots laid on the day of your Wedding.
(Don’t worry – the couple doesn’t have to get dirty.)
San San Kudo (3-3-9)
San san kudo is a Japanese tradition found in most Shinto weddings. It involves three cups, or saucers rather, nestled into one another.
“San San Ku-Do” translated from Japanese means 3, 3, 9. In this ceremony, bride and groom will drink 3 times from 3 cups, equaling 9, which is the happiest number for a newly married couple. Each cup represents something different – heaven, earth and humanity – and to drink 3 times from each is to bring “ultimate happiness” to all. The couple are said to be blessed with purity, and since the number 3 cannot be divided, neither will the newlyweds.
Even though this ceremony can be done in silence, the use of a special song or even a special vocal performance can bring out a lovely essence to this Eastern Tradition.
Family and Children Vows
When a family is blended, not just the parents are married – the entire family is! There are many ways to incorporate your children, young and old, into the ceremony, whether it is by blessing, or vow, flower or prayer. Children are an important component to the marriage and can be shown how very important they are.
Jumping the Broom
The “Jumping the Broom” is a ceremony in which the couple, either at the ceremony or at the reception, signify their entrance into a new life and their creation of a new family by symbolically “sweeping away” their former single lives, former problems and concerns, and jumping over the broom to enter a new adventure.
Jumping the broom, or in some cases jumping over an imaginary line, is an African ritual or tradition still being practiced in some parts of West Africa. Enslaved Africans, as an affirmation of their cultural heritage, practiced it during slavery in North America. The straws of the broom represent family; the handle represents the Almighty; the ribbon represents the tie that binds the couple together. Couples celebrate this rich cultural heritage, irrespective of race, religion, and nationality. The most important thing is its significance; Honoring and respect of your ancestors, their legacy, and your rich family heritage. It represents strength, love, togetherness, loyalty, and respect which is essential for a successful marriage.
A wonderful way to end your ceremony, your guests are asked to join in a symbolic “I DO” as their way of lending their support to your marriage. It is a gesture that means as much to you as to your guests as you ask that they lend their hand to the strength of your marriage and their support in your new lives together.
Breaking of the Glass
At the conclusion of the ceremony, a glass (or lightbulb) is wrapped in cloth and the groom breaks it, crushing it with his right foot. This symbolizes that, even at the most joyous of moments, a Jewish person remembers the destruction of the Temple in Jersusalem. Some also see the significance of this act as the breaking apart of the old lives of the couple in order to rebuild a new life together, rebuilding the Temple in their own way in their own homes.
The guests yell “Mazel Tov” (Congratulations) after the breaking. This is found in both Jewish ceremonies and interfaith weddings.