9 OF OUR FAVOURITE SYMBOLIC AND ALTERNATIVE WEDDING CEREMONIES
We called our company Bespoke because we wanted to reflect each and every couple’s dreams for their future. And this can sometimes mean stepping away from tradition, or adding an extra symbolic touch somewhere throughout the day.
With the rise of spirituality and mindfulness people are starting to think outside the box when it comes to their wedding ceremonies, making from complete services to little details. A destination wedding is a perfect opportunity to tailor your day so that it reflects your own hopes for the future, and sometimes normal ceremonies can seem a little … well, normal.
And who wants that these days? Below you will find 8 of our favourite symbolic ceremonies but there are lots more. There’s no better way to be bespoke!
Hugely popular in Ireland and Scotland, Humanists celebrate all that is great and good but never mention of the word God. A really lovely alternative for those who believe in the universe but not necessarily the Trinity, Humanist weddings can be celebrated anywhere; in a wood, on a mountain, on a boat…
These types of ceremonies often appeal to free-spirited couples and are wonderfully individual. You write your own vows, building on the intimacy, honesty and future of the union.
Incredibly symbolic and emotional, the candle ceremony takes place just before the wedding vows are said. Three candles are placed on a small table in front of the bride and groom, and important family members (usually the parents but it could be children, siblings or even a friend) from each side are invited to light the two outside (smaller) candles.
The bride and groom then light the middle candle, called the Unity candle, from the flame of the two outside candles. All three candles then remain lit throughout the rest of the ceremony; one candle for each of them, one candle for the unity (and perhaps their new family). Add some significant music and you have a lovely moment of reflection before the “I do’s” Oh, we have goosebumps just thinking about it!
Friend or family member officiating
Yes, Joey did it for Monica and Chandler, Jonah Hill did it for Maroon-5 frontman Adam Levine, even Kris Jenner has a license to do it. Do what? Officiate a wedding of course.
Since the birth of online ordination, asking a friend or family member to officiate your wedding is a really simple and intimate way of including a loved one in your big day. Having your mum, dad, BFF, whatever, officiate means the focus is on your journey as a couple and is the perfect choice for people who want to keep their ceremonies personal.
Just one word of warning though – the celebrant has a lot of official tasks, so if they have never done it before, make sure your work with them going over all the details.
Tree planting ceremony
Ah – one that will appeal to both the bohemians and botanists amongst you. Much like the unity candle, a tree planting ceremony is where the couple uses an object to symbolise their union.
The clue is in the name here; the couple plant a sapling and, like their love, watch it grow over time (a symbolic bucket of earth is provided as we can’t quite see anyone getting green fingered in their wedding dress).
Usually, this is done in a big pot so the tree can be moved from place to place, only to be set in the ground once the couple has settled (a perfect metaphor for grounding).
Water ceremony / Sand Ceremony
The water or sand ceremony has the couple pouring coloured water (or sand) from two jugs or glasses into a large clear vase. As the colours blend, so do the lives of the happy couple.
Needless to say, there is no way that you could separate what’s in the vase once it has been mixed, so the idea is you’ll never be able to go back to how it was before. Just a word of advice; practice first with different colours.
We once went to a wedding (not a Bespoke one!) where the bride thought she was going to have lovely purple water to store on her mantlepiece and the colours weren’t compatible, so she ended up with a sort of murky grey. She loves it though, and they’re still together so whatevs…
Ah, now you’re talking! As Italians, there is nothing we like more than a little aperitivo, so when we heard about this addition to ceremonies (traditional or not), we loved it!
Couples blend two different wines together in a glass (maybe a white and a red?) and then drink from the glass. The glass is a symbol of unity while the wine is a symbol of togetherness. And the cheese and charcuterie that accompanies it? Well, that’s just for the guests!
Love letter ceremony
Much like the idea of creating a time capsule (another favourite!), this is where the bride and groom write down special memories, feelings, thoughts, hopes and aspirations and lock them away to be opened on a milestone anniversary.
Many couples look at having a bottle of wine professionally blended and store the letters in a case for say, their first, fifth or fiftieth anniversary.
Parents and friends quite often like to get in on the act too, so why not have pens and paper and a big urn at the reception, and guests can write down their emotions, ready for you to read at a later date.
Ring kissing ceremony
This is a lovely one, and one not many people do, so if you are looking for something really unique, then we think you have found it!
Not as much as a ceremony per se, more of a ritual during the ceremony, this is where the two rings are passed around the guests so that each person can kiss them and send the couple good vibes prior to them putting the rings on.
Only thing is, perhaps sew them onto a little cushion or something first? Imagine if someone’s sneezed and the rings went flying… Oh, and probably better for smaller weddings, unless you want to spend a couple of hours watching your wedding rings get passed from guest to guest.
Tie the knot – literally!
In this old Irish tradition, the bride and groom tie a fisherman’s knot (the strongest knot in the world) with two pieces of ribbon or rope. This symbolises a bond that, rather than break under pressure, becomes stronger.
The ribbons or rope represent the past lives you have led, tying the knot at the wedding symbolises the present and the finished knot symbolises the future. The origins of the saying are probably from the Celtic tradition of handfasting, where the hands of the bride and groom were tied together for a marriage “contract” of one year plus one day that the newlyweds promised to stay together prior to the marriage becoming “legal.”
If the husband and wife decided at that point they were not for each other they would part. If not, the marriage was then forever.
These are just a few of the new ceremonies and rituals that are gaining popularity, why not give us a call to let us know how best we can help you personalise your wedding? After all, we are Bespoke!
Hugs! The Bespoke Team xxx