10 Ways to Make Your Wedding Ceremony Unique

wedding ceremony
Handfasting wedding ceremony. Photo by Larissa Cleveland

While we love the wedding decor and wedding songs and bridesmaid dresses, to be honest our FAVORITE part of weddings has to be the wedding ceremony. Each one is unique based on the couple, their religion, the location and so many other details. Whether you’re incorporating ancient-old traditions or you’ve come up with your own idea to make the wedding ceremony feel special, it’s all about finding the right ideas that fit your personality as a couple. Here are some of our favorite heartfelt wedding ceremony traditions that we think you’ll absolutely love.

1. The Time Capsule

Even though your marriage technically signifies the beginning of your new life together, there have been so many wonderful times in your relationship that lead you to this moment in time. A great way to celebrate your relationship is to create a time capsule with significant pieces from your time dating. Whether it’s a movie stub, a favorite photo or a bottle of your favorite wine, when you open it in the future you’ll be sure to remember these great times. TIP: Buy the capsule before the ceremony and put most of the items in beforehand. At the ceremony you can add your vows or bottle of wine after the ring exchange then seal it shut, not to be opened for 5, 10, 15 years or more.

2. Handfasting

This old Irish tradition is a beautiful ceremony attribute. The couple clasps their hands together, holding opposite hands so their arms make the figure eight, representing infinity. Their hands are then fastened together using a ribbon (of any type), as a symbol of their commitment to spend their lives together. The ribbon can be a family heirloom, a string of flowers, or a fabric you choose at the local craft store to match your wedding theme…it’s really entirely up to you. Though there is no set rule of the amount of ribbon you can choose, some opt for the number three, symbolizing that two is stronger than one, and three is not quickly broken (how sweet!). The officiant would be the one to tie the ribbon at the ceremony, and the key is to try and slip out of the knot with as much of it preserved as possible. It can be kept in a keepsake box, and we love the idea of handing it to your children when they get married.

3. Tree Planting

During your ceremony, you can also choose to plant a tree together. We actually love this idea for brides and grooms because it’s truly symbolic and it’s something you can enjoy day after day at your own home. The couple uses a potted tree at the ceremony, everything from apple trees to lemon trees work. The bride and the groom both add soil to the tree, later to be planted in their yard together. This tradition symbolizes building roots together, and the continued burgeoning of their love.

4. The Sand Ceremony

In lieu of a unity candle, you can opt for a sand ceremony. The couple fills sand into a container first one at a time with different colors and then both at the same time. This symbolizes their combined lives, and how the two are joined together in a way that can’t easily be separated.

5. Circle the Groom

Traditional Jewish ceremonies call for the bride to circle the groom seven times representing the seven wedding blessings. Instead of the bride only circling the groom, couples can also choose for the groom to also circle the bride. This is a beautiful tradition that is used in most Jewish weddings, and is typically at the very beginning of the wedding ceremony.

6. The Lasso Ceremony

As with Mexican, Filipino and Spanish heritage, an officiant or family member places a lasso in a figure eight around the bride and groom. The couple wears the lasso until the same person takes the lasso off of them and gives it to them as a symbol of their commitment to each other.

7. The Reverse Unity Candle

We’re not totally eliminating the unity candle here, rather just also including an extra special component where all your guests are involved with candles of their own. The reverse unity candle ceremony includes lighting the main unity candle and then continuing on and lighting the best man and maid of honor’s candles as well, who then continue to light the next candle and so on to the next person. The result is beautifully romantic and everyone will truly feel a part of your ceremony.

8. Jumping the Broom

A centuries old African-American tradition, broom jumping is a wonderful way to sweep the past away and start your new life together. The broom is traditionally handmade, made of natural bristles and decorated with ribbons and flowers as well as mementos. During the wedding ceremony, the couple jumps over the broom to celebrate their union.

9. Tasting of Four Elements

Another African-American tradition, this ritual captures the essence of “for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health,” through a taste of elements that embody exactly that. Lemon represents sour, vinegar as bitter, cayenne pepper as hot and and honey as sweet. These four elements together represent the times of marriage.

10. The Fisherman’s Knot

The tradition of tying the fisherman’s knot symbolizes the union of two families. During the ceremony, after the vows are said, the bride ties the ends of her chords into a fisherman knot and the groom does the same. When the cords are pulled, the two knots move together to form one knot. The reason the bride and groom tie a fisherman’s knot is because it is the strongest knot known, representing the resilient bond of your marriage.

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