Marriage isn’t just about being wed to your spouse; it also unites two families into one. Wedding ceremony rituals have been around since matrimony was recorded and many are still performed today. Depending on your ethnic, cultural, and religious backgrounds, you and your partner’s wedding ceremony customs can be tailored to your tastes. Just like how no two couples are alike, no two weddings are alike.
Putting Together a Unity Cross
To symbolize becoming one in the body of Christ, the bride and groom can work together to build a Unity Cross. Three pins hold the cross. Usually you, your spouse, and the officiant each place a pin to lock the cross together.
Blending Different Colored Sand
If the ceremony is on a beach (or if the beach is significant to you and your future spouse), a sand ceremony is a good way to blend two families together. It combines two different color sands to symbolize both families.
Jumping a Broom
“Jumping the broom” was brought to America during the enslavement of African-Americans. Nowadays, broom jumping signifies brushing away the past to start a new life together.
Planting a Tree
Planting a tree or potting a plant for the ceremony ritual is a great gesture to symbolize the growth you and your spouse will experience in your marriage.
Associated with Native American culture, blanket-wrapping a couple symbolizes warmth, happiness, and intimacy. The blanket can be or even become a family heirloom.
Circling Each Other
The bride circling around her partner is a traditional Jewish custom. In modern weddings, the groom will also circle the bride. The circling represents creating a circle of protection around each other.
Going Underneath an Arch of Swords
The arch of swords is typically for members of the military to represent giving protection to the newlyweds. The bride and groom will pass underneath the saluted swords leaving the ceremony.
Pouring Glass Crystals
An alternative to pouring sand to symbolize unity is pouring glass crystals into a container. You can send it to Unity in Glass, where they’ll make it into a work of art and send it back to you to display in your home.
Sending off a Paper Lantern
Paper lanterns are tokens for good luck in Asian culture. You and your partner can write down your love for each other and wishes on the lantern before sending it into the sky.
Tying a Fisherman’s Knot
Intertwining two pieces of rope together into a fisherman’s knot illustrates two lives joining into one. The fisherman’s knot is the strongest knot and won’t come undone if pulled. This symbolizes strength under pressure.
Cleansing Feet with Water
Washing your spouse’s feet with water is symbolic of releasing emotional blockage before getting married. It’s an act of purity and humility.
Sealing Away Love Letters
Celebrate your first anniversary by reading love notes you and your spouse wrote to each other. During the ceremony, put the love notes in a box to be stored away and opened at a later date.
Wearing a Lasso Rosary
Mexican, Filipino, and Spanish communities incorporate the lasso rosary tradition. An oversized rosary is placed around the couple in a figure eight shape to signify joining together for infinity.
Sharing communion as newlyweds is a way to symbolize combining your marriage and God together. For religious couples, sharing communion sets a foundation for the relationship.
Lighting the Unity Candle
Two families become one when the unity candle is lit. Usually, the matrons of the households light their respective family candle, and then you and your spouse each hold your family candle and light the middle candle.
Tying Hands Together
For a handfasting ceremony, the couple’s hands are joined and bound together with fabric or ribbon as a sign of commitment.
Catholic and Jewish weddings typically have wine ceremonies. Two types of wine are poured individually and combined into one glass before drinking from it.
Making Art Together
A blank canvas stands for a brand-new start to a marriage. Artsy couples can paint the canvas together to combine ideas and unify experiences.
Passing the Rings Around
Get the attendants involved by passing the wedding rings around. Your guests can bless them before giving them back to you.
To represent embracing the storm together, the newlyweds are seated underneath an umbrella in this Indonesian ritual. Your guests can “shower” you with rice, coins, and candy for love and wealth.