Your wedding your way

Thoughtful Humanist celebrations

Wedding craft

Here are some ideas to make your ceremony memorable. 

♥ Hand fasting
This ritual is based on an old English tradition in which you both offer and accept each other’s hands in marriage. A ribbon or ribbons are wound around your clasped hands and this is something which special guests can take part in. Each guest can tie a knot to represent the binding promises you make to each other. 

♥ Ring warming
This is a ritual which can involve all your guests. The wedding rings are passed round at the beginning of the ceremony and each guest is invited to hold them and warm them, and then send them on with their wishes. Someone needs to be appointed to watch the rings to make sure that they progress round everyone and are back when they are needed!

One couple joined the 2 rings with the ribbon – which was handy as the rings were less likely to be dropped! – and it also meant that they could involve the bride’s father who came up to symbolically cut the ribbon.

♥ Candle lighting
The mothers or other members of the two families can each light a candle, which are then used to light one wedding candle, sometimes called a unity candle.  This is a lovely way to symbolise the joining together, not only of the couple, but their families as well.  The flame of the candle represents light, spirit and fire – and is often said to symbolise inspiration, aspiration, power and passion.  

♥ Drinking from one cup
This is an ancient Scottish tradition, to share a drink from a two-handled drinking cup called a quaich. This ritual symbolises the love, trust and peace between two people and the life that they will share together. As the couple share the cup, in front of their family and friends, they undertake to share all that the future will bring. And the sweetness that life’s cup may hold, will be all the sweeter because you drink together.

♥ Planting
Planting something to symbolise hope for the future can be lovely for an outside ceremony.  You might want to plant a bush or tree. You could ask guests to tie a wish to the branches of the tree throughout the day. 

One couple I worked with chose 2 apple trees which they planted together in one planter. In years to come, where the branches of these two trees rub together, they will fuse to become one tree, but they will always bear two different types of apple. These two trees symbolised the two separate lives which are now joined together.

♥ Flowers
The couple can exchange flowers.  After the ring exchange, the first gift that you give to each other, as husband and wife, is a flower. This might be white heather which symbolises protection, good luck, or wishes coming true. Or, perhaps, a rose. Roses have always been a symbol of love, and a single red rose always says, “I love you.”

Cutting through an obstacle
You can cut your way through something to represent the power to overcome obstacles, or the setting out on a new life. German wedding ceremonies traditionally ended with couples sawing through a log placed across the door after the bride arrived.  The tradition has endured in quicker and less energetic forms! You could cut a ribbon or cut and step through a huge paper heart. 

♥ Food sharing
Food can feature in many traditional ceremonies, symbolising care and nurturing.  The food chosen can be symbolic and is often simple eg rice or bread; but can be special too eg honey.  In some Eastern European countries eating bread and salt is a welcome or greeting ceremony.