Your wedding ceremony is most certainly one of the most memorable moments of your wedding day. Exchanging your vows, making a commitment in front of your loved ones. But more and more, couples are choosing unique and alternative unity ceremonies. An alternative wedding ceremony can be personalized to match your individual personalities. Whether you are not religious, or if you just want to do something different; this is your wedding day! The wedding ceremony ideas below all symbolize unity. Two people or two families coming together as one.
1. The Sand Ceremony
The first option for alternative wedding ceremony ideas is the sand ceremony. The sand ceremony expresses the coming together of two people or two families into one new family. It is a very simple idea that can be incredibly powerful. Typically, each participant of the sand ceremony will have different colour sand, this represents individualism. However, as the ceremony proceeds, participants are required to pour their sand into one clear vessel, forming a layered effect. Visually, this is a beautiful way of expressing the harmony of the entire family. Symbolically, as the two different sands are now nearly impossible to separate, so will be the relationship of the couple.
Photo by ZaraZoo Wedding Photography
How to Perform a Sand Ceremony – Step by Step
- First, the officiant will say a few words about the ceremony and its meaning. Then he or she hands each person a vase of coloured sand.
- The first person starts by pouring his sand into the central vase.
- The second person will pour her sand into the central vase, forming a second layer.
- If other family members are participating, they each pour their sand into the central vase. If it’s just the couple participating, they typically each add another layer to the vase.
- To finish, everyone pours at the same time, forming a mix of colors at the top that represents the united family.
Image Source: Way Fair
2. Unity Candle
The Unity Candle Ceremony is a popular choice for alternative wedding ceremony ideas. This is because it is non-denominational and has no religious significance. The two outer candles represent your individual lives before the wedding day. They represent all that you are from your past experiences. They also represent your individual families. As you each take a single candle and light the center candle, you will extinguish your individual candles. This represents the closing of the chapters in your individual lives and the beginning of a new chapter!
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However, if you want, you can allow the two individual candles to continue burning. This represents that the bride and groom accept the individuality of each other as a means of fulfilling their commitment to one another. If you would like to have your families participate in the ceremony, ensure that everyone receives a candle as they enter the ceremony area.
While the bride and groom light the Unity Candle, let the guests share the flame from their own small candle with the person sitting next to them until all the candles are aglow and you are pronounced wife and husband. The minister can suggest that everyone makes a special wish for the bride and groom and blow out the candles.
3. Handfasting Ceremony
A handfasting ceremony has its roots in ancient Celtic tradition, symbolizing the binding together of two people. Fun fact – this is also the origin of the phrase “tying the knot!”. While it is most often included in Pagan ceremonies, today, it has become more mainstream and pops up alongside both religious and non-religious ceremonies.
Image: Philly Inlove
How the Handfasting Ceremony Works:
During the ceremony, the officiant begins by explaining the ritual and what it means to the couple. This statement often includes the notion of the couple binding their lives together and the union of their hopes and dreams for the future. The officiant then invites the couple to join hands, which symbolizes their free will to enter into the marriage. Many opt to cross hands, taking your fiancé’s right hand in your right hand and his left hand in your left hand.
You could also opt to stand next to one another, joining one of your right hands with the other’s left. The hands are tied together with a rope, cord or anything similar. Often vines are used in ceremonies that focus on the “natural” side of things. Once the couple has tied the proverbial knot, the ceremony is sealed with a kiss.
4. Tree Planting Ceremony
We love the idea of a tree planting ceremony. Plant a tree sapling on the day that you get married, and as your love grows over the years, so will the tree! Make it even more special by incorporating your family members. Your mothers can contribute soil from their homes in glass containers. The soil used to plant the tree in represent a blending of your families and lives. This is a unique and special ceremony that also benefits the environment. How awesome!
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A good idea would be to add soil at the ceremony and then take the tree home after the wedding and plant it in your own home. This allows you to save some time on your wedding day. What you could also do is to plant a smaller and more delicate plant at your wedding. Once you get home, you can plant your tree. It’s totally up to you. Our tip – plant a Pomegranate Tree, they have ancient roots as a universal symbol of life and love.
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5. Stone Ceremony
Our final wedding ceremony idea is the Stone Ceremony. The Stone Ceremony is a great way of involving all your wedding guests. This is perfect if you are planning to have an intimate wedding ceremony with the most important people in your live. Small stones or pebbles are handed to the wedding guests as they arrive at the ceremony. During the wedding ceremony, the wedding guests hold these stones and make a loving wish for the couple’s life and future together.
Image Source: Moon River Rituals
Each stone represents a special wish that the couple can take with them to reflect on during their married life together. A good idea is to ask your wedding guests to write a word signifying their wish on the stone. Examples include love, happiness, health, strength, wealth, success, family, luck, patience etc.
The stones are then collected during the wedding ceremony by a bridal party member and placed in a jar or vase as a memento. A good time to collect the stones is during the Signing of the Register or as everyone files out of the wedding ceremony venue.
Image Source: My Day
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