Special Ritual Options

by Steve Pritchard-Jones

There are many things associated with traditional weddings that everyone knows about and include without even having to think about it. For example, wedding flowers, wedding dress and veil, top hat and tails, bridesmaid dresses, exchange of vows, kiss the bride etc. Some of these wedding traditions date back centuries but many other elements can be included in a wedding officiated by a celebrant.

When planning your wedding ceremony, it can be interesting and poignant to add other less traditional elements between the traditional vows and rings exchange and the traditional end of the ceremony ‘kiss’. 

 Make your special day more personalised by integrating a ritual because it signifies your love for each other and unity. There are main to choose from and it would be impossible to list them all, but here are some ways you can demonstrate your love for each other and create a long-lasting memory for you, and your friends and family.

Traditional Celtic hand tying, ‘tying the knot’ comes from an old Irish tradition that symbolizes the bond of marriage in the same way that the exchanging of rings does in most ceremonies today


This beautiful Celtic ritual represents the joining of two people. While the couple both hold each other’s opposing hands, the celebrant will bind the hands together with coloured ribbons to signify everlasting love and unity. The ribbons are tied in a knot to represent ‘tying the knot’.

Sand Ritual

This is a lovely ritual when you combine the contents of 2 or more bottles containing sand in different colours in one bottle. This is a fantastic way to involve children or other family members. This ritual represents unity and harmony. 

Table holding bottles of sand with bride standing behind.1/2500 sec at f/2.8

Jumping a Broom

Jumping the broom may seem like an odd ritual. This ritual is mainly carried out in the USA, newlyweds perform this ritual to happily greet their new married life. The broom will be placed flat on the floor and at the end of the ceremony the couple jump over the broom. 

Planting a Tree

Planting a tree is another wedding ritual normally carried out after the exchange of vows. The tree represents the relationship and its roots signify love and attachment.

The lighting of a Unity Candle

The parents will each light a candle and then place it beside an unlighted pillar candle. Once the couple have both exchanged vows, they will light the pillar candle. The lighting of the unity candle represents the couple’s obligation to each other.

Wedding ceremony candles in church to be lit

Serving of Tea

This is a Chinese ritual and brides and grooms serve their respective parent’s tea to represent respect and gratitude. It can also be done the other way around to signify the unity of two families that are joined together by the bride and the groom

 Breaking the Glass

Breaking the glass is a Jewish wedding tradition. Breaking a glass covered in fabric symbolises a lifelong marriage. The groom should be the one to step on the glass with one foot at the end of the ceremony.

Ring Warming 

The wedding ring is passed around the guests and in turn, they quietly give their blessings to the couple. The passing of the ring usually occurs before or during the wedding ceremony.

Water Blending

The water Blending Ceremony involves the couple pouring coloured water together to create a mixture. The different colours s will represent something significant in the couple’s relationship e.g. red can represent everlasting love etc.

Lasso Ceremony

Also known as El Lazo ceremony, this ritual is done by Filipinos, Mexicans, and Spaniards during their weddings. In this ritual, a floral rope in the form of a figure of 8 will be wrapped around the couple to present unity.

Drinking Wine

One glass of red wine and one glass of white wine is needed to fulfil this ritual. After the rings have been exchanged, the couple will mix and then drink the wine to signify unceasing togetherness.

Love Box

The couple will place nostalgic and memorable items, including a letter to each other, inside a box that will then be locked. The box will be opened on a significant anniversary.

Placing of Hands on a Stone

The coupe will hold one stone together during the exchange of vows. This is a Scottish custom that is meant to his Scottish custom that suggests togetherness.

Releasing of Doves

A pair of white doves are released during the ceremony to signify peace and the new life of the couple together. 

Washing of Hands

During the ceremony, the celebrant will give the couple the instruction to wash their hands together and after which, they will wipe each other’s hands.

Giving of Roses

The couple will give their respective mothers a rose as a sign of their endless love.

Washing of Spouse’s Feet

During the ceremony, the celebrant will give the couple the instruction to wash each other’s feet. This custom signifies previous misunderstandings in the past. 

Sharing with Friends and Family

To perform this wedding ritual friends and family will gather together to do a sharing of their feelings about the happy couple. It is a simple yet heartening custom that can be done at a wedding with a small number of guests.

Encircling each other

Encircling each other during the wedding is a Jewish custom that a lot of couples still continue to carry out during their special day. Happily walking and going around each other in circles, represents that the couple does not have any barriers around each other.

Tug of War

This is a fun ritual and one that some couples do to further enhance the bond between their families. 

Handing Over of the Rope

Passing a short fisherman’s rope among the guests represents the guest’s approval and blessing to the couple.

Lighting of Fire

Lighting a fire during a wedding symbolises the couple’s binding together as one.

Touching of Fingers through the Sundial’s Hole

This Celtic wedding custom requires the couple’s fingers to touch each other through the hole of a sundial. Just like the other wedding customs mentioned above, the ritual signifies togetherness and unity as a married couple. Close family and friends may give their blessings by putting a scarf inside the hole three times.


Top Note Ceremonies

‘at your service’



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Steve Pritchard-Jones

Steve Pritchard-Jones

I am an independent civil celebrant conducting weddings, celebration of life/funerals, commitment, civil partnership, renewal of vows, adoption welcoming, naming, pet funerals, internment or scatter of ashes, memorials service, and even divorce ceremonies in Shropshire, West Midlands, Mid and North Wales, Derbyshire, Staffordshire & throughout the UK.

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