FAMILY AND OTHER RITUALS THAT CAN GO ANYWHERE IN THE CEREMONY: EXAMPLES
(SECULAR MODERN - SINGING WITH YOUR GUESTS)
1. [Sing a song with your guests at some point during the ceremony]
FAMILY AND OTHER RITUALS in PART 1 - THE OPENING OF THE CEREMONY: EXAMPLES
(SECULAR MODERN - SEATING OF THE VIPS)
2. [Instead of having ushers escort the mother's of the Bride and Groom down the aisle, have the Groom do it. After seating them, he can give them a kiss on the cheek]
(SECULAR ROMANTIC - IF BRIDE PROCESSES WITHOUT AN ESCORT)
3. [Instead of waiting for the Bride to come to him, the Groom can meet her half way up the aisle, and escort her the rest of the way]
(SECULAR MODERN - AS PART OF THE BRIDE'S PROCESSION)
4. [Have both parents walk the bride down the aisle]
(SECULAR ROMANTIC - IF BOTH PARENTS PRESENT THE BRIDE TO THE GROOM)
5. [Have the Bride turn to her parents and give them each a kiss along with a red rose]
(SECULAR MODERN - THANKING GUESTS)
6. [If there are only a few guests at your wedding, after you have both arrived at the front of the ceremony, go out to personally thank all of your guests for coming to your wedding. This would be done in lieu of a receiving line after the ceremony or at the reception]
(SPIRITUAL MODERN - RING WARMING)
7. [The Best Man starts the ring warming by handing the rings to the Mother of the Groom]
Celebrant: ____________ and ________________'s Wedding Rings are going to be passed to each of you as the ceremony takes place. When the rings are passed to you, "warm" them by holding them in your hands for a moment and offer a silent prayer, blessing, or spiritual sentiment, wishing _____________ and ____________ health, happiness, and a wonderful future together. Then pass the rings to the person next to you. Our goal is to for them to make it back up here to the Mother of The Bride. When returned, these rings will contain in their precious metals your love and pledge of support for their union. And _____________ and ____________ will from this day forward be wearing their rings knowing that their loved ones had prayed for their well being and the success of their marriage, and that those blessings are contained in their rings.
[Rings are passed around and end up in the hands of the Bride's Mother, who holds them until the Ring Exchange]
(SECULAR MODERN - SIGN OF PEACE)
8. [After the opening words, the Celebrant can suggest that everyone turn to the persons next to them and offer a sign of peace. (e.g. the words "Peace be with you" or some variation)]
And now, in the spirit of love that brings us here today, let us offer each other some sign of peace.
FAMILY AND OTHER RITUALS in PART 2 - SETTING THE STAGE: EXAMPLES
(SECULAR ROMANTIC - THE HANDS CEREMONY [IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE VOWS OR EXPRESSION OF INTENT])
9. Now ____________ and ______________ invite all of you to join hands with a loved one, as they join hands in preparation for their vows. As they do this, they are going to perform what's known as the Hands Ceremony or Blessing of the Hands.
[Bride & Groom join hands and alternate verses]:
Groom: These are the hands that will hold your hands for a lifetime.
Bride: The hands that will be at the end of every embrace.
Groom: They are the hands of your very best friend.
Bride: The hands that feel like none other.
Groom: They are the hands that will build a future together.
Bride: The hands that will tenderly hold your children.
Groom: And will encircle your family and make it one.
Bride: The hands that will wipe life's tears of both joy and sorrow.
Groom: And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged will still be reaching for yours.
Bride: Offering the same unspoken support and tenderness with just one touch.
FAMILY AND OTHER RITUALS in PART 3 - CONSUMMATING THE MARRIAGE: EXAMPLES
(SECULAR ROMANTIC - OTHER MARRIED COUPLES RECITE VOWS)
10. Immediately before or after you recite your vows, invite the married people at your ceremony to stand and reaffirm their own vows.
Celebrant: Please turn and face your partner. Choose the person who will start the vows. And now let's have that partner repeat after me: I love you and thank you again for the gift of your love. Thank you for being here to love me all these years, in every way you have, in all the ways you will. I pledge again to love you for the rest of our days.
And now let's have the other partner speak the same vows. Repeat after me...etc.
[Or, you can make up your own vows for the couples to speak. As a final possibility, and only after you have said your vows to each other, have them repeat the vows you spoke to each other. Hint: keep it short... no more than 3 or 4 sentences]
(SECULAR MODERN - INVOLVING YOUR PETS "Woof!" "Meow...")
11. [Include your pet(s) in the ceremony by having them precede the Bride down the isle. Or, if your dog is particularly obedient, tie the wedding rings around his/her neck and, just before the ring exchange, have him/her bring the rings to you]
(SECULAR MODERN - THE CARRICK BEND RITUAL)
12. (Also known as the Fisherman's Knot Ritual, this is an ideal activity for a seafaring town or a beach wedding)
To consecrate this ceremony, Bride and Groom have chosen to tie a Carrick Bend. The Carrick Bend is a knot that has been used by fishermen for centuries to join two lines together. Although the Carrick Bend is one of the simplest knots to tie, it is also one of the sturdiest. It will never jam or break, even after carrying a significant load or being soaked in water. In fact, as stress is applied, the knot becomes ever stronger. In addition to its strength, the knot is beautifully interwoven, much like the intertwining of love between the unity of these two families.
[A designated VIP or the Celebrant hands the couple the ropes to tie the knot]
These two cords represent your past - each of you as individuals and the unique and special gifts you bring to your marriage.
As you fasten your cords together, your actions represent the present - this moment when you join your two lives into one common purpose.
[Bride and Groom tie ropes together]
The completed knot represents your future - secure in the knowledge your relationship will continue to be strong despite the inevitable changes life brings.
It is the goal of marriage to achieve a blending of hearts and lives, but like the spaces between these cords formed by the knot, let there also be spaces in your new life together, so that you may encourage and nurture each other's individual growth.
I ask that you now pull on this rope to see it strengthen under pressure while still allowing us to see the individual cords - just as your support of one another as beautiful and blessed individuals strengthens your union.
[Bride and Groom pull on the rope together]
As you hold one another in mutual concern and shared respect, may you continue holding each other tightly in your hearts and form a strong bond, now and forever. Let this knot indicate the strength of your love and be a symbol of your unity from this day forward.
(SPIRITUAL TRADITIONAL - A WINE AND BREAD RITUAL INVOLVING GUESTS)
13. Wine is the spirit and celebration of life; bread is the staff of life. Sharing wine and breaking bread together creates a community of caring and belonging. ________________ and _________________ now invite you to partake of this bread and wine in celebration of their union.
[Bread and wine are passed to the guests. They break pieces form the loaf, and dip them in the wine]
FAMILY AND OTHER RITUALS in PART 4 - THE CLOSING OF THE CEREMONY: EXAMPLES
(SPIRITUAL TRADITIONAL - BREAKING OF THE GLASS COMBINED WITH PRONOUNCEMENT OF MARRIAGE AND PERMISSION TO KISS)
14. The breaking of the glass at the end of a wedding ceremony serves to remind of two very important aspects of a marriage. The bride and groom - and everyone - should consider these marriage vows as an irrevocable act - just as permanent and final as the breaking of this glass is unchangeable. There have been many different explanations for the breaking of the glass. Today, the fragility of the glass suggests the frailty of human relationships. The glass is broken to protect this marriage with the implied prayer... "May your bond of love be as difficult to break as it would be to put together the pieces of this glass." After ________ breaks the glass, I invite everyone to shout the Hebrew words "Mazel Tov," meaning "Good Luck" and "Congratulations."
[The best man places the glass in front of the groom. However, it is not broken at this point]
The Celebrant says: By the power vested in me by God and the State, I now pronounce you husband and wife. Congratulations, you may kiss your bride!
The groom then smashes the glass with his foot and kisses the bride.
The guests say: Mazel Tov!
(SECULAR TRADITIONAL - BREAKING OF THE BOTTLE OR GLASS AT THE END OF THE CEREMONY AFTER THE PRESENTATION OF THE NEW COUPLE)
15. The breaking of the glass at the end of a wedding ceremony serves to remind us of two very important aspects of a marriage. The Bride and Groom, and everyone, should consider these marriage vows as an irrevocable act - just as permanent and final as the breaking of this glass is unchangeable. But, the breaking of the glass also is a warning of the frailty of a marriage. That sometimes a single thoughtless act, breech of trust, or infidelity can damage a marriage in ways that are very difficult to undo - just as it would be very difficult to undo the breaking of this glass. Knowing that this marriage is permanent, the Bride and Groom should strive to show each other the love and respect befitting their spouse and love of their life.
[The best man wraps the glass in a napkin or puts it in a special cloth bag, and the Groom crushes the glass under his heel]
(SECULAR MODERN - AS PART OF THE RECESSIONAL)
16. [Have guests blow bubbles at the newlywed couple as they walk down the aisle after being married]
(SECULAR MODERN FOR THE RECESSIONAL)
17. [Give each guest at your wedding ceremony a small bell. Have everyone ring the bell as you walk back down the aisle after you've been married. The bells can be adorned with a ribbon or ribbons that match the wedding colors]
FAMILY AND OTHER RITUALS: FROM AROUND THE WEB
(scroll down about 1/3 of the page for Family Sand Ceremonies)
VIDEOS - FAMILY AND OTHER RITUALS: FROM AROUND THE WEB