25 Feb Our favourite Ceremony Enhancements
“When I saw you I fell in love, and you smiled because you knew.”~ Arrigo Boito
Ceremony enhancements are symbolic rituals adding richness and flavour to your ceremony. They are inclusive, grand gestures designed to honour your union, the renewal of your vows, or indeed your baby’s Naming Day. If your ceremony is the cake, then the ceremony enhancement is the sweet cherry on top. Some of the most popular ceremony enhancements we are asked about include Celtic Handfasting, Unity Candle Ceremony and the Sand Ceremony but there are lots more to consider. You can include these ceremony enhancements in ceremonies where it’s just the two of you or 250 guests and more. They are also great opportunities to include children or other guests particularly the sand ceremony and wishing stones.
We would love to chat to you about any of these and discuss ways to include them in to your ceremony. We have included details below about some of the most popular ceremony enhancements but this list is in no way a definitive list and all of these enhancements can be customized and personalized.
Hand Fasting dates back to ancient Celtic times, and is where we get the expression “Tying the knot”. It is one of the oldest forms of marriage under Brehon Law and dates back beyond 7,000 BC. It is becoming increasingly popular and we usually perform handfasting ceremonies after the vows and rings are exchanged. We can use chord or coloured ribbon and there are many ways we can perform this lovely ceremony enhancement by incorporating many different coloured ribbon, each colour representing a gift bestowed upon the marriage, or by including children or guests to present the ribbons used. The ties represent the bind of the vows made and the knot represents that which, like a good marriage, strengthens under pressure. We love including a Celtic Handfasting to our ceremonies and have used anything from ribbons to scarves to caving ropes.
The Sand Ceremony
A Sand Ceremony is a unique way to symbolize two lives becoming one and is also a great way to incorporate children or family into the wedding. A sand ceremony represents 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 person has different sand collected from their favourite beaches or different coloured sand and take turns pouring it into one clear vessel, forming a layered effect. Sometimes just the couple participates, and sometimes the couple’s children join in with their own sand.
The sand ceremony is popular because it is so visual. The couple can decorate their vases, colour their sand and forever smile at the unique blend that serves as a symbol of their love. The advantage of the sand ceremony is that there is a lasting memento to display in your home. Sand is also a better choice for an outdoor wedding since wind is less of a concern than it is with a candle. Being beside the coast, sand is also readily available from numerous fabulous beaches! The sand ceremony is typically performed before the rings and vows are exchanged.
Here is an example of what might be said during the sand ceremony:
“As these containers of sand are poured into the third container, the individual containers of sand will no longer exist, but will be joined together as one.
Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, may your love and bond remain inseparable”.
Wishing Stones/ Wishing Trees
If you are having a small number of guests at your ceremony, the Wishing Stone ceremony enhancement is a really lovely way to include your guests. The ritual of the Wishing Stones is a wonderful way to include everyone in your wedding ceremony. When guests arrive at the ceremony, they are given a Wishing Stone along with a permanent, fine-tipped marker to write their wish for you directly on the stone or a small note to write their wish for you on it. They then place the stones and note in to a jar which the couple will have forever and can often dip in and out to look at the wishes their guests bestowed on them. It’s also a really nice idea for a baby naming ceremony and something similar to a wishing tree where notes and wishes for the baby are pinned to a tree, or placed in a keepsake box for the child to open when they are 18.
This usually works best with a small number of guests. The rings are placed in a small bag or tied with a ribbon (for safe keeping) and passed around the guests before the ring exchange. The guests are asked to hold the rings and silently bestow good wishes to the couple. The rings eventually get passed back to the couple before the ring exchange. It’s a fabulous way to include all of your friends and family.
Wine Box Time Capsule
This is a really unique ceremony enhancement to include into your ceremony. A few weeks before your big day, you both write a letter to each other in private. You can include anything in your letter; your hopes and dreams for the future, the reasons you fell in love, funny or memorable stories of your time together up to now. Bring your letters on the day along with your favourite bottle of wine and place them in a box during the ceremony. The wine box should be opened on your 5 year anniversary where you will read each other’s letters while enjoying a glass of wine. However, if your marriage hits a stumbling box and you need to be reminded of your love for one another, open it some evening and all the reasons you are together will come back to you and it will remind you of the commitment you made to each other through good times and bad. We included this in a recent ceremony and it was a fabulous addition to the ceremony. We usually include this before the vows and rings are exchanged.
These Are The Hands
This ceremony enhancement is really lovely and is a slight deviation from the Celtic Handfasting. It is as meaningful as it is unique and is powerful in its simplicity and tenderness. The couples hold hands and face one another. Here is an example of what might be said during this ritual:
“These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you. These are the hands that are holding yours on your wedding day as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow and forever. These are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch”.
The Rose Ceremony
The couple exchange two roses, symbolizing the giving and receiving of their love for each other throughout their married life.
This ceremony enhancement brings a touch of elegance, romance and beauty. The Rose is seen as a universal symbol of love, of life, and of forgiveness.
Jumping The Broom
Jumping the broom is a ceremony in which the couple leap into a new life together, symbolically ‘sweeping away’ their former single lives, problems and concerns. This ritual celebrates rich, cultural heritage. It is significant as it represents strength, love, togetherness, loyalty and respect. Some couples invite their guests to tie ribbons to their broom to bestow good wishes to the couple, before the couple ‘jump the broom’.
The planting of a tree as a ceremony enhancement is especially significant as it serves as a visual symbol of the growth of your relationship. As the tree grows, so too does your love.
A beautiful message shines through with this enhancement, for just as the tree needs to be nurtured to keep it alive, so too does your love. This ceremony enhancement works well with the poem by Ilan Shamir, Advice From a Tree.
“Seek nourishment from the good things in life,
Earth, fresh air, light….
Drink plenty of water
Let your limbs sway and dance in the breeze
Remember your roots
Enjoy the view”
At Coastal Ceremonies, we would love to chat about your ceremony and work with you to make it personal, memorable and meaningful. Your Ceremony, Your Way.
Clara and Orla
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