Wednesday, May 8, 2019

7 ceremony rituals and traditions, and their history

Unity ceremonies or traditions represent the unbreakable bond you are creating with your partner. Incorporating one into your ceremony is a great way to include family or religious traditions into your day. Not to mention, give your ceremony a personalized touch. You are probably familiar with some of the more common wedding ceremony rituals, such as lighting a unity candle or breaking a piece of glass, but you might not know the history behind them.

Photo Credit Menning Photographic

The Unity Candle

This classic tradition began about 35-40 years ago, representing the joining of two people. Before taking their seat, the mother (traditionally) of both sides light a taper candle that is seated at either side of a larger pillar candle. The candles remain untouched through the ceremony until the bride and the groom have exchanged vows. Together, the couple lights the center pillar candle using the flames of both candles that are already burning to represent both sides of their families.



Using ribbons or cords, this tradition -based on Medieval and Celtic customs- binds together couple’s hands to symbolize the declaration of intent that both sides of the couple are marrying at their own free will. It also symbolizes that you have formed an eternal bond with your significant other. Each colored cord has its own meaning, such as white for purity or red for passion.

Photo Credit L.A.R. Weddings

Sand Pouring

This recently popular ceremony ritual was popularized in the early 2000s. Two vases of sand, typically of different colors, are poured into the same vessel by the couple creating a unique design. By doing so, it becomes impossible to separate the colors, which symbolizes the blending of two people forever. You can personalize this ritual by choosing colors that match your style or by choosing sand from a significant location.

Photo Credit L.A.R. Weddings

Wine Drinking


In many cultures and religions, wine has been a symbol of life and prosperity. The wine drinking ceremony is a sharing of wine from the same cup –as Catholic and Jewish ceremonies have included. A popular way this is done is to have two small vessels of wine, one white and one red. After exchanging rings, the couple pours the wines into a third vessel, creating a blend. They each take a sip of the mixed wine to represent their union and (like the sand ceremony) the uniqueness of their bond.


Plant a Tree


This unique ritual is an opportunity to create new life. During this ritual, the bride and the groom take soil from two different containers and combine them in the process of planting a tree or plant. This symbolizes the merging of the families and growth.

Photo Credit Amanda Goodin Photography

Love Letters

Though this is a newer ceremony ritual, the romance behind it is something Shakespearian. As a way to seal away words of affection, the bride and the groom take time before the wedding to write a love letter to each other. In these letters, each partner writes about the other, why they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together, what they love about each other, etc.
During the ceremony, the letters are placed into a box (typically accompanied by a bottle of wine) and sealed. The box is then to be opened on an anniversary date or milestone, reading the letters in private and reflecting together over the bottle of wine.


Jumping the Broom

This tradition, dating back to the 1800s and is believed to have origins in Western African and Wiccan communities. Jumping the broom takes place at the very end of the wedding ceremony after the officiant pronounces the couple as officially married. The newlyweds jump over a broomstick before the recessional to symbolize sweeping away their old lives and welcoming their new life together.

There are many wedding ceremony rituals that you could choose to include in your day, with loads of history behind them. Which one will you choose? Talk to your wedding coordinator and officiant to help make your decision.

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