Begone boring wedding ceremonies! While the majority of wedding guests will be looking forward to a day of celebration, socialising and champagne quaffing, there’s absolutely no reason why the wedding ceremony should be considered the boring, official part. Here at Fuze, we believe that the wedding ceremony should be electrifying, engaging, inventive and jampacked with L.O.V.E! Furthermore, a good wedding ceremony should set the tone for what’s to come throughout the rest of the day.
By getting to know couples and learning their story, your Celebrant will tailor-make the perfect ceremony script, but within the script, many couples opt to incorporate symbolic gestures as a physical way of expressing their union.
From jumping over a broom to releasing doves, symbolic gestures add an extra dimension to any wedding ceremony making it more personal and memorable for both couples and guests alike. On top of that, the lineage of most symbolic gestures is deeply rooted in history; therefore, by spinning these gestures into a wedding ceremony, couples can also pay homage to their heritage.
This blog will take a close look at ten of our favourite symbolic gestures, so grab yourself a cup of tea and consider including one of the following into your big day:
Jumping over the Broom
In times gone by, setting up home and getting officially married often took place months apart. This could be due to not having a resident Notary to perform the ceremony or to having a trial period before committing to the legal marriage.
To give the union a standing in the community the couples would declare their intention to “Live over the Brush” and would in front of family, friends and neighbours literally jump over a broom. The broom was then kept in the shared home as a symbol of the union and to encourage good luck. The broom also symbolises the sweeping away of the past and the fact that the happy couple are now starting a new life together.
*Why not ask wedding guests to write their names and well wishes on ribbons and then tie them to the broom?
Wedding Band Warming
The wedding band warming is a great way to include friends and family in the ceremony. Before the vow exchange, the Celebrant will ask an appointed person to pass the rings (tied together with a ribbon) to the front row from where they will be passed around all of the guests to hold and to add their own silent wishes and hopes for the marriage.
*Rather than ribbons, we have seen sport-mad couples tie their wedding rings together with laces from their trainers or parents use their baby’s hospital wrist band.
Planting a Tree
If you’re having your wedding ceremony in your own home, that of a relative or a park/gardens (you’ll need to get permission) then incorporating a tree planting ceremony as part of your celebrations will leave you with a gorgeous visual reminder that will blossom and grow. Planting a tree on your wedding day symbolises the laying of roots as well as longevity and strength in marriage.
*Why not collect soil from your favourite place or invite close family and friends to add soil during the planting ceremony whilst making a blessing for your future together. You could also ask guests to write messages and tie these to the tree before the planting and then save these in a memory book.
During a sand ceremony, a marriage is symbolised by the pouring together of two individual containers of different coloured sand, representing the couple and all that they were, all that they are, and all that they will ever be. As these two containers of sand are poured into the third container, the grains of sand can never again be separated.
*How about collecting sand from your favourite beach or for parents, the sand ceremony is a wonderful way of incorporating children into the ceremony.
Hand fasting is an ancient tradition that has been traced back to Celtic and Druid ceremonies and is where the phrases ‘tying the knot’ and ‘bound for life’ originate. In Scotland, the couples family tartans would be intertwined together in a braid and then wrapped around their hands to symbolise the joining of two families.
*We’ve known couples tie the knot with their dog’s leads, from excess fabric from the bride’s wedding dress and from climbing ropes. The world is your oyster!
Drinking from the Quaich
This is another ancient Scottish symbolic gesture of trust, love and peace between two people where couples drink to the past, the present and the future from a two-handled quaich.
*Why not engrave your names and wedding date onto your quaich as a keepsake or switch the traditional whisky with your favourite tipple or mix your favourite drinks?
The Oathing Stone
This is an old Scottish tradition where the Bride and Groom place their hands upon a stone while saying their wedding vows.
*Couples have been known to select a stone from their favourite place and have it engraved with messages of love.
The couple each light a candle, to symbolise their separate lives before their formal union as a married couple. They then go onto light a third candle symbolising the joining together of their lives in marriage. The three candles will shine forth as symbols of both their togetherness and of their continuing individuality.
*Why not make your own candles ahead of the big day? For parents, how about incorporating children into the ceremony by giving them a candle to light too?
Gathering of Flowers
As your guests arrive, present them with a flower. Each one of these flowers is different, each one is beautiful and each one will add its own unique qualities to the bouquet that will be made when they are gathered together. The bunch of flowers represents the colour and the beauty that each and every person brings into your lives, and with the placing of each flower, the bouquet changes, each flower playing its own part in influencing how the final bouquet will look and feel. The bouquet can then be used as the centrepiece throughout the day and then dried thereafter.
*Rather than supplying the flowers, how about asking guests to bring their favourite flower or foliage with them? This will make the bouquet all the more unique!
There are a whole world of symbolic gestures that you can incorporate into your wedding ceremony. From walking through a floral arch at the end of your ceremony to lighting a ceremonial fire or releasing butterflies, but why not get really inventive and create your own symbolic gesture? The beauty of Humanist wedding ceremonies is that they are centred around the couple and their personalities. Have a good think about what is most important to you and what will best reﬂect you, your love and your life together.
*When Gordon and Magda were married at Traigh Beach in September last year, they stripped off and swam out to sea, before hopping on a tandem bike and cycling together to their wedding reception!