Traditions + Customs

Wedding traditions + customs - handfsting
Image by Dust + Salt Photography

Where marriage ceremonies are concerned, there are so many different wedding traditions + customs from all over the world. No matter what your nationality, race or life choice, in almost all cultures, there are traditions, customs, or symbolic elements that you can relate to.

I have provided some links below to help guide you in the right direction.
They may even help explain what symbolism in wedding ceremonies mean, or may simply inspire you to create that extra special moment within your own marriage ceremony.
Alternatively, I am totally open to discuss a new tradition you would like to start yourselves!

Wedding traditions + customs are extremely popular in that they not only add another personal element to a “standard” ceremony, but that they are also a great way to include close family members, or other special people in your lives.

Here are a few examples:

The Unity Candle

One of the most common symbolic elements.
A member from each family, usually a parent, will light a single candle each. The couple then use those candles to simultaneously light a third larger “unity candle.”
They may blow out their individual lights, or leave them lit, symbolising that they have not lost their individuality in their unity. You may also have your unity candle personalised with your names and the date, allowing it to be a keepsake from your wedding.

Rose Ceremony

A sweet act where the couple exchange roses as their first gift to each other as husband + wife.
Other variations can involve the couple presenting the roses to their new inlaws, as a token of respect and as a visual sign that they are embracing their new extended family.

Wine Ceremony

The couple each take a carafe of wine and pour it into a single glass, which they both drink from.
Variation: Parents fill two seperate carafes before blending them into a unity cup which the couple both drink from.

Wine Box/Love letter Ceremony

The couple place love letters in a box with a bottle of wine and seal it during the ceremony with the intent that they will open it on a significant anniversary, drink the wine and read the letters.
Variation: This can be done as a Time Capsule, without the wine if preferred, and with as many guests as you choose placing letters/notes inside.

Ring Warming Ceremony

The wedding rings are passed from guest to guest during the ceremony and as each person holds the rings in their hands, they “warm” them by bestowing a special wish or prayer upon the bride and groom . Can also be done with just the immediate family or parents only.

Hand Fasting

Handfasting is an ancient Celtic tradition, and one of the earliest forms of a recognised marriage.
It involves a ritual where the Marriage Celebrant, or family member, physically bind the couples’ hands together with ribbon or cords, symbolising the blending of their two families through marriage, and as a declaration of their love and commitment to each other.

Crowning (Stefana)

An ancient Orthodox wedding tradition where the couple are “crowned” with either traditional crowns, or circlets joined with ribbon, establishing the bride & groom as King and Queen of the new home they are creating together.

Las Aras

The Spanish custom of giving wedding coins, signifying the groom’s recognition of his responsibility as a provider and the bride’s acceptance, trust and unconditional confidence in her husband to be.

Sand Ceremony

The bride and groom (and any other family members/guests) take turns pouring different coloured sand into a glass, creating a layered effect. Each colour represents a quality which is deemed important in the relationship.

Blending Essential Oils

You can create your own blend of essential oils to create a unique scent that will always remind you of your special day.

Holding Hands Ritual

This symbolic ritual represents that in giving each other their hands, the couple are also giving each other their hearts. The couple simply hold each others hands while the Marriage Celebrant/ or guest recites a ‘Blessing of the Hands” reading.

German Wedding Toast

Originating from a centuries old story, a couple drinks from a traditional, double-sided chalice, bestowing good luck upon any bride & groom who can drink from this cup without spilling a drop.

Butterfly , Dove, or Balloon release

The release of Butterflies, Doves, or Balloons symbolises new beginnings, or the union of families (and can look really spectacular in photos!)

Do it your way

Regardless of your choice of unity ceremony, you are free to put your own personal spin on it, to show your personality as a couple. As an experienced Wedding Celebrant, all I need is an idea, and I’ll help you to incorporate that idea into your wedding ceremony and make it meaningful to you.

The more you put into your ceremony, the more it will reflect in your memories as the years go by.

 

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