Wedding Traditions

Brief Explanations of Traditions You May Want To Add To Your Ceremony

(Please check your choices)



___Commemorative Candle

In memory of your loved ones who have passed to spirit that normally would have been at this happy event – a parent, grandparent, a close relative or friend – and/or those who could not travel to with us today.  This is done with reverence and respect in no way detracts from the joyful event of the day. If the wedding is outdoors, we can simply pause for moment of silence.


___Thanking Parents

At an appropriate time in the ceremony, I would make mention of how you love and appreciate the support of your parents.  We could also mention your siblings and their spouses if they are married.  I would remind them that is their blood that is joined as well.  This is a good way to include the families. I usually do this as part of my address.


___Children’s Vows

If you are creating a new family you may want to include the children in the exchange of vows as well, especially if they are younger. This gives them an extra sense of security as the two families are blended into one. I have several ideas for you to look at as we design your ceremony.


___Unity Candle Ceremony

The unity candle lighting ceremony is becoming more and more common in today’s weddings. The ceremony symbolizes the pledge of unity between the bride and groom and the merging of two families. It usually occurs after the exchanging of rings and before the couple is pronounced husband and wife. Usually the mothers light their tapers before taking their seats, usually to a special piece of music. When the bride and groom light the center candle, a song is sung or played. They either take a few minutes up by the altar to exchange a few words or they can take a flower that was placed by the candle and present it to their mothers.


If you are creating a new family you may want to include the children in the lighting of the Unity Candle. Often this is done by having the bride and groom light the taper for the children and then everyone lighting the center candle together. This is a good way to involve children from a previous marriage.


___Unity Sand Ceremony

If you choose not to use a Unity Candle during your ceremony, the sand ceremony can be a beautiful and meaningful addition to your vows. Simply find three containers, one for you and your fiancé to pour the sand into, two for each of you to pour the sand from. You can find colored sand at most craft stores.


___Rose Ceremony

The Rose Ceremony is simple yet profoundly moving.  The bride and groom exchange two red roses, symbolizing the giving and receiving of their love for each other throughout their entire married life.  The Rose Ceremony also conveys how to use the rose and its symbolism in difficult times in order to forgive each other. Your mothers may also be included as a sign of respect and gratitude.


___Blessing Cup/Wine Ceremony/Unity Cup

Similar in concept to a Unity Candle in the Christian Tradition, or the Kiddush Cup in the Jewish Tradition, the Wine Ceremony is common to many faiths and traditions and will be customized according to your wishes. In general: The Wine Ceremony can be divided into two parts. The presenting of the two individual carafes filled with red and white wine to be placed on the table near the larger empty carafe during the processional. Then part two the pouring of the two separate wines into the empty carafe and drinking the combined wine by the wedding couple. Part two follows the exchange of vows. The ceremony can be one part with the wine already sitting on the table and the couple just combining the wines before drinking them.


Part One can take place during the Wedding Processional with one of the attendants on both sides carrying the red or white carafe and placing it on the table. Or a bit earlier the parents of the couples come forward with a bottle of wine and fill the smaller carafes already on the table just before they are seated and then the wedding processional starts.


___Breaking of Glass

A ceremony incorporating the stepping on a goblet at the end of the ceremony and breaking it. The guests all shout “Mozel Tov” which mean “Good Luck”, when the groom breaks the glass. Traditionally a Jewish practice.


___Jumping Broom

A typically African-American tradition in which the couple, when about to leave the ceremony, jump over a decorated broom which in placed on the floor in front to them as they leave. This symbolizes “sweeping away the old” and entering into their new lives together.


___Hand Fasting

This is a typically Celtic tradition and where the term “tying the knot” came from. After your vows, I loosely wrap cords or ribbons, which you provide, around your hands, which are held in left hand to left hand and right hand to right hand (forming the symbol of eternity) and talk about how you are now bound and this knot shall never be undone.

____Hand Blessing

Many cultures have different ways of blessing the hands of the bride and groom. Hands are considered to be a connection to the heart, and a hand blessing symbolically brings two hearts together.

In Thai ceremonies, for example, the couple kneels as elder, married relatives pour blessed water from a conch shell onto their hands and offer words of blessing. In the ancient Celtic tradition of hand-fasting, as described above, the couple’s hands are literally tied together to symbolize spiritual and physical unity as prayers and blessings are recited.

In any tradition, a hand blessing is a ritual that is meant to draw you closer to one another…

___Congregational Envisionment

This is done at the end of the ceremony when I have you face your guests and family and ask that they support you and your marriage. It is a nice way to include everyone.


___Vow Renewals for Couples in the Congregation

This is a nice way to include those who are married who are attending your wedding and have them share in a deeper way in your joy.


Any Other Rituals/Special Traditions Not Included Above:

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