Alternative Wedding Customs

A wedding is a wonderful and special occasion; and more often than not, the couple, want to not only celebrate a special day when they exchange vows of commitments in front of their nearest and dearest, but they want the day to acknowledge their friends and families and to celebrate the joining of two families, and quite often, two cultures or traditions.

Humanism is a life-stance based on freedom of choice and thought. It holds that we have one life and the duty to make the most of it, while respecting the beliefs of others. Humanism also celebrates and embraces the joining of families and customs.

Every couple, relationship and consequently wedding is different and unique to the Bride and Groom. A perfect example of this was a Humanist Marriage ceremony I conducted in July of this year at the Dalmahoy Hotel in Edinburgh.

The idyllic hotel gardens, just on the outskirts of the Scottish Capital, were the perfect venue and setting for a wedding ceremony that would celebrate not only a Marriage, but also two families and two cultures coming together. The Groom was from Scotland and the Bride had Sri Lankan roots.

For this reason, the Bride and Groom knew a Humanist Marriage Ceremony was perfect for them. Not only did it reflect the way they live their lives, but it allowed them to celebrate in a way unique and special to them.

The Bride made a traditional Sri Lankan entrance when she followed a troop of dancers and drummers who signified her arrival at the ceremony. When the bride reached the end of the aisle and took the hand of her husband to be, we began the ceremony.

After introducing the ceremony, and talking a little on the importance of Marriage and telling the couples story so far, the Bride and Groom asked me to to include a Sri Lankan custom called a ‘Poruwa Cermony’.

This is where the couple are lead by their fathers to a small platform or stage called a Poruwa. The Poruwa is highly decorated and has a scattering of leaves, money, rice and lentils; this makes sure that the couple have a plentiful supply of everything they may ever need.

The next part of the ceremony is a series of symbolic gestures from Sri Lanka.
The Bride and Groom give betel leaves to their mothers as a thank you to them for being their mothers. The Bride and Groom feed each other with milk rice and then their pinkies are tied together.

The couple then exchanged their personal and legal vows of commitment, and as tradition dictates, they can not not step from the Poruwa until they are officially married, so after my declaration and a quick kiss, the couple, now Husband and Wife, stepped from the stage to a massive cheer and round of applause.

After signing the schedule with their nominated witnesses, it was time to close the ceremony with a Scottish Celtic blessing and introduce the new Mr & Mrs, who were again greeted with applause and cheering as they walked back up the aisle to the sound of the bagpipes, and walked back to the hotel for a well deserved celebratory drink.

As always, it was a real pleasure and privilege to be involved in this ceremony, but what made it a little different for me was not only did I get to learn a lot about some wonderful people, I also was able learn a lot about another culture and their customs.

So, if you have ever considered embracing your roots within your ceremony, we can help with all aspects and help fine and make suggestions. After all, it’s your special day and should be celebrated with a special ceremony.

If you’re thinking about having a unique Humanist marriage ceremony in Scotland why not get in touch today.


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