How to modernise traditional wedding rituals

Modernise wedding rituals

So, ceremony rituals are a new thing right?

Well no. Wedding rituals, symbolic or not, have been with us for ever and a year. Weddings themselves are a ritual, a rite of passage, a culturally or religiously defined act. In most countries, weddings have a legal status. In the UK, the legal registration of a marriage is a slightly different matter to the ritual of the wedding ceremony. Hands up if you are not familiar with this wedding ritual;

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No prizes I’m afraid, but if you answered ‘the exchanging of rings’, then you can give yourself a pat on the back. Many people don’t realise that there is no legally binding need to exchange wedding rings. It is however, one of the oldest and most familiar wedding rituals. In Western culture the wedding rings symbolise the unbroken, everlasting circle of love. The rings are traditionally placed on the fourth finger of the left hand. This hails from the Romans who believed that the vein in the ring finger on the left hand ran directly to one’s heart. Because of this belief, they called that vein the “vena amoris” or vein of love.

So, what’s the new trend then?

Good question. What is new, is the rising awareness that we are not bound by the historical shackles of the legal registering of a wedding. With more couples exploring their options and choosing to legally register their marriage separately to their wedding ceremony, or celebrations, then the freedom to choose, define and create a ritual that is true to you as a couple has boomed. Anything goes is the only rule here, assuming it’s not illegal or unsafe of course! (that was the small print warning in case you missed it). In truth, we are limited only by our own imaginations. The joint components of your relationship are unique to you. It follows therefore, that what you feel symbolises your relationship, your hopes and aspirations as you journey into married life, are also unique to you. Wedding celebrants are perfectly placed to help you think about what rituals may be right for you and your loved one. We absolutely love to create ceremonies that include something special that truly reflects you as a couple.

Let’s create ritual!!

How’s this sound – like your whisky? How about a whisky blending ceremony?

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It doesn’t have to be whisky of course. Tea blending, wine blending and gin blending are all very popular. Whatever floats your boat, gets you drunk together, helps you laugh together, cry together or just enjoy being together is what matters.

The symbolic element of the ritual is the bringing together of two or more separate components and combing them into one, inseparable entity, just as you come together as two individuals and join as one. I’d suggest a modest amount of alcohol, or it will get very messy far earlier in the proceedings that you may have planned!

Of course, if you don’t fancy alcohol then sand ceremonies are becoming very popular. Coloured sand is ceremonially poured into one, decorative glass jar. This forms a beautiful, visual lasting reminder that, just as the separate coloured grains of sands are joined together and cannot be separated, neither can the couple now joined be. This is a great way to involve important people in your lives in your ceremony. You can have as many different coloured sands as you like, and as many people joining in as suits you. It is your day!

The lighting of a unity candle can be another lovely symbolic ritual. It’s a great way to involve extended family members. Typically, the respective mothers of the couple light a small candle for their son or daughter. During the ceremony, each of the couple take a taper and lights it from their personal candle. Together, they then light the ‘unity candle’ so that their individual flames become one.

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Of course, as with all walks of life, the ‘newest’ of trends often take from the past. Rituals such as ‘jumping the broom’ and ‘handfasting’ are having a renaissance. I am told by a fellow Celebrant (Michelle Taylor of The Funky Celebrant), that during a jumping the broom ceremony, whoever jumps the highest, rules the roost. My advice is, don’t tell your intended until after you have ‘done the deed’. You then have the upper hand. This is for life after all, so let’s get the power struggle out of the way on day one. 

So, the take away message

A Wedding Celebrant can help you create the ceremony of your dreams. A good wedding ritual is one that represents you as a couple. Remember, no rules, just go create your unique day. Have fun. Make it memorable. Make it yours. Let’s celebrate love!


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