Rituals / Sub-ceremonies

Incorporating a ritual/custom from another culture can be a beautiful way to add a unique touch to your ceremony and provide your guests with some visual magic.

Hand fasting

“Handfasting” was the word used throughout the once-Celtic lands of Scotland and Ireland to refer to a legal commitment of betrothal or engagement. It was essentially a pre-Christian custom  in which the couple publicly declared their intention to marry one year and a day in the future, similar to a formal betrothal. Since the advent of Christianity, handfasting was no longer considered a legally binding contract, although the custom did continue for many years. In modern times elements of the handfasting custom are popular, especially for those with Celtic origins.  The expression “tying the knot” originates from this custom and literally a couples hands are tied together by a ribbon or cord, symbolising their unity.

Sand Ceremonies

Can be used to symbolically represent the joining of the couple. Three containers of sand are poured into a central container – one neutral and two colours representing the bride and groom. The couple pour individually representing their individual qualities and then simultaneously, blending the colours.
The ceremony can also be extended to include children and blended families.


Wine Drinking Ceremony

This custom often followed the handfasting ceremony and had similar origins. It is a way to personalise your wedding ceremony is by sharing a drink of wine immediately after the ceremony  and toasting your love.  Guests can optionally join in the toast.

Unity candles

Again a tradition from pre-Christian times.  Candle lighting is a popular part of the wedding ceremony and can be used to symbolise many relationships, including the partner’s relationship with each other, their families and their parents. For the couple 3 candles are used, the taper candles representing the couple and their unique qualities, they then use these taper candles to light the central pillar candle and all 3 candles remain lit for the balance of the ceremony – symbolically representing that they still retain their individuality while choosing to come together in marriage.  Parents/other family can participate by lighting the taper candles with appropriate wording.

Butterfly Release

As an expression of joy, some couples choose to have a Butterfly Release following their ceremony.  There are a few specialist providers who provide live butterflies for this purpose. A Google search will find these.  The tradition follows an old Indian legend where it was believed that by whispering a wish to a butterfly, it would be taken straight to the Gods. The butterfly release provides some beautiful photo opportunities, although it can be problematic in high wind conditions.
There are many more ritual options – there are more ideas to see by clicking on Guest Log In and selecting Rituals/Sub-ceremonies.