Ideas for your wedding ceremony. Alexandra Weddings is a boutique marriage celebrant service in Sydney and the Southern Highlands of NSW, run by Alexandra Lollback, an energetic and open-minded young marriage celebrant who understands couples want their wedding to truly reflect their personalities both as individuals and as a couple.
You may wish to add something historic or symbolic to add colour, interest and meaning to your ceremony. Here are just a few ideas:
Gold Fish Ritual
The gold fish ceremony is designed to show the unification of the bride and groom, but more importantly it is designed to involve family and children. It is a fantastic symbol of unity, and consists of several components:
- An empty glass bowl is placed at the head of the ceremony
- Several smaller glass containers are also positioned at the head of the ceremony, filled with water, and each containing a fish
When the ritual commences, each participant takes their smaller glass container, and pours their fish into the awaiting larger (central) glass bowl. The bride and groom eventually pour their fish into the bowl, so as to complete the school, thus creating a family of fish.
The glass bowl is then taken home by the wedding couple, and placed in a prominent position as a reminder of their commitment.
Celebrant: _________ and _________, today you are making a life-long commitment to share the rest of your lives with each other. Your relationship is symbolised through the pouring of these two individual containers of sand; one, representing you, _________ and all that you were, all that you are, and all that you will ever be, and the other representing you, _________, and all that you were and all that you are, and all that you will ever be.
As you each hold your sand the separate containers of sand represent your lives to this moment; individual and unique. As you now combine your sand together, your lives also join together as one.
You may now blend the sand together symbolising the uniting of the bride and groom into one.
Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so will your marriage be.
Hand Fasting Ceremony
B___________, please hold G___________ hands palms up, so you may see the gift that they are to you.
These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and vibrant with love, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as he promises to love you all the days of his life.
These are the hands that will work along side yours, as together you build your future, as you laugh and cry, as you share your innermost secrets and dreams.
These are that hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, for a lifetime of happiness.
These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes: tears of sorrow and tears of joy.
These are the hands that will comfort you in illness, and hold you when fear or grief engulfs your heart.
These are the hands that will tenderly lift your chin and brush your cheek as they raise your face to look into his eyes: eyes that are filled completely with his overwhelming love and desire for you.
G___________, please hold B_____________ hands palms up, so you may see the gift that they are to you.
These are the hands of your best friend, smooth, young and carefree, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as she pledges her love and commitment to you all the days of her life.
These are the hands that will massage tension from you neck and back in the evenings after you’ve both had a long hard day.
These are the hands that will hold you tight as you struggle through difficult times.
These are the hands that will comfort you when you are sick, or console you when you are grieving.
These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, for a lifetime of happiness.
These are the hands that will give you support as she encourages you to chase down your dreams. Together as a team, everything you wish for can be realised.
The unity candle symbolises the very essence of the wedding ceremony. Two taper candles, representing the couple as individuals, are used to light a single centre candle as a visible symbol of their commitment to each other. There are many variations on the ceremony and the individual tails are completely up to you. Here are some ideas to help you as you plan your ceremony.
Before the ceremony begins, place the unity candle on a small table. To prepare for the ceremony, it is a good idea to light the wicks for a moment.
There are several popular options for lighting your taper candles. You can have your parents come forward to light the side tapers as a symbol of your two families coming together as one. At this point, some couples choose to present their mothers with a rose. If you wish, the celebrant or best man and the maid of honor can light the tapers. Or, you may light the tapers yourselves from a candle on the table.
As (Name) and (name) together light the centre candle, they will extinguish their own candles, thus letting the centre candle symbolise the union of their lives. As this one light cannot be divided, neither will their lives be divided.
If you'd prefer to leave your tapers lit …
(Name) and (name) come into their marriage relationship as individuals and they do not lose their identity, rather they use their individuality to create and strengthen the relationship of marriage. Therefore, the three candles remain lit, one for each of them and one for their marriage.
This represents your commitment to each other and to a lasting and loving marriage. The Unity Candle symbolises the new family you are now forming from your past lives. The flames you light it with both burn brighter when joined together. Now you both are charged with keeping this flame bright for the rest of your days.
Unity Bowl Ritual
This tradition is a way to honor multiple generations of the bride‘s and groom’s families, and/or a way to include any children that the couple may have.
The couple selects a glass bowl they would enjoy having in their new home. Each grandparent, parent, stepparent, godparent and so on is given a bud vase filled with a different color of flat colored marbles, with the separate colors signifying the individuality of each family member.
The grandparents pour their separate colors into the Unity Bowl as the foundation of the wedding of the bride and groom. Each set of parents does the same. After each set of grandparents, parents and so on have added their marbles to the mix, the celebrant stirs the colors with her hand, creating new mosaics each time.
Siblings and other special friends may be invited to participate, as well.
Then the bride and groom add their two colors, and I mix the Unity Bowl contents again. If there are children, they add theirs after the bride and groom, as we are honoring each generation.
Ultimately, the family members are reminded that each of them, in their own way, has colored the lives of the bride and groom. Therefore, each has developed specific tastes, goals, morals, choices...and thus the bride knows she has found her perfect groom, and the groom knows he has found his perfect bride.
Finally, it is noted that, just as the mosaic has continually changed, so is change the most dependable constant in the couple’s married life. They are called on to embrace change, find what can be learned from each change, and to put their own hands in and stir up the design in the bowl with every change they encounter.
Thus they get to keep a memento placed in their Unity Bowl by all the family members and other loved ones who were present at their wedding–an emotional value that always grows with time–and also a reminder that change is always beautiful, as long as we keep the right perspective that we can always learn from change.