A winery can make an unforgettable wedding venue and here in Kent where I am lucky to live and work in the UK, we have plenty to choose from.
As a celebrant, vineyards are my favourite venue, because they offer me the chance to craft some amazing ceremonies for couples who wish to do something a little different for their special day.
Vineyards vary hugely in size and facilities. Some are well experienced and have dedicated event space and teams of planners, others are more intimate and rustic, which offers scope to create something really original.
Wine itself has been used throughout millennia in many and varied rituals and celebrations, in both religious and non-religious ceremonies, and as with most other rituals, are open to interpretation, and can greatly differ between celebrants as well as between couples who like to add their own touches.
I would like to explain a bit about the symbolism – essentially that wine represents the sweet and bitter elements of life. Wine rituals, like all the parts of a wedding ceremony are about the couple acknowledging and celebrating their future together, and by taking sips from the glass together, they are promising to face and deal with the challenges of life as a united team.
This ceremony celebrates the blending of two lives into one. Two carafes, one of white and one of red wine are placed beside a larger empty carafe. Each one of the wedding couple pours from one of the carafes into the larger one. One then takes the blended wine and pours some into a glass for their partner to drink. This is then reciprocated. As they each drink, a personalised toast or blessing is given by the celebrant.
Wine blending can also signify the joining of two families. Parents or other family representatives from each side can bring their own special wines and blend them in the same way, each drinking from a glass of the combined wine to signify the strength of their new unity.
The wedding couple each select a special wine for the other and lay them down in boxes with a love note, to be opened on a milestone anniversary. The celebrant gives a blessing for the wine, and the couple's future. Some couples add special mementos such as their vow booklet to remind them of their day. As a wine lover, this one is my personal favourite, there's nothing like opening a good bottle you've really been waiting for!
In this ceremony, a single glass of rosé wine is placed on a table to signify the fruits of Creation, Mankind and Mother Earth, from which both of the wedding couple will drink after the reading. They are then asked what they taste in the wine. This is a reminder that they may perceive things differently throughout their lives, but that being right is never more important than being happy.
Wine can be used to symbolize the bond that lasts throught times of both joy and sorrow. Two goblets of wine, one sweet and one dry are placed on a table. The Bride and Groom each drink from the sweet wine, followed by the dry, while they are reminded by the celebrant of the changing fortunes of life.
This one is familiar to most of us, whereby the Bride and Groom interlock arms and drink from one another's glass. A special goblet with two handles is also often used and can also be passed around the guests for a sup! The Loving Cup ceremony dates back to Saxon times when it was used at banquets for ceremonial drinking and is called the coupe de mariage in France. This can be great fun combined with Celtic Handfasting. White wine tends to be safer around the dress though!
Lastly, whatever ritual you choose, it doesn't have to be in a glass! If you're a Harry Potter fan, the Goblet of Fire may be for you, or Couples with Scottish heritage can use a quaich (I can't pronounce it!). Neither does it have to be wine – you may be teetotal or you may prefer another type of alcohol – your day, your way!
So there you have a few ideas for incorporating wine into your wedding, and perhaps you can see yourself having a creative tipple be it at a vineyard or not. I'd love to hear about any of your twists on it!
Nicki is a professional family celebrant specialising in wedding ceremonies, vow renewals, funerals, and naming ceremonies and much more. Based in Kent, she also covers East Sussex and London.See Nicki's profile here
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