There is soooo much on this page. Over 200 Celebrants regularly come to my webpage for information that you now have at your fingertips and on your screen.

I have included some old samples of ceremonies, though the final choice of ceremony can look very different from what is on this page.

Most of the samples here were created prior to the introduction of marriage equality in Australia and these samples don’t include my fantastic, latest work. These are just a guide

The final ceremony content and format is almost entirely your choice.


After the WEDDING CHECKLISTS, and the samples of CEREMONY CHOICES,  look for the Contents List for WEDDINGS CEREMONY IDEAS & SUGGESTIONS

But if you still don’t find what you need her, you might find it on another tab on my webpage:

I have sooo much more to add but I am running out of room.



WEDDING CHECKLISTS

If I have left anything out, or there is an improvement or change needed to be made, just let me know.

SCROLL DOWN FOR LOTS OF INFORMATION & IDEAS


 Hi there, this is me.  Here are my contact details, or keep scrolling for more information and ideas

 +61 (0) 457 00 1922
lou@alifecelebrant.com.au

A celebrant for all special occasions in your journey of life.

Your Life Events: Weddings, Unions & Commitments; Naming Ceremonies; Funerals, & More


CEREMONY CHOICES

There are some samples below, just to give you some idea. They are a start only as I write each ceremony from scratch, designing it to your wishes.

There are just a few bits necessary in each ceremony to satisfy but once that is covered, we can make add-in soo much more to make it wonderful, FUN, and totally yours.

Let’s make your Ceremony a reflection of you, and the celebration you truly want to be a part of… and let’s have some FUN

Here are the starting point choices:


TRADITIONAL ORDER OF SERVICE

For hundreds of years in the western world, couples comprising of a bride and a groom, married in Churches and so the Traditional Wedding is based on what was included in such Church services that date back hundreds of years.

In the 1960’s over 90% of weddings occurred in Churches but in 2022, over 70% of weddings are conducted by Civil Celebrants and of course, since 2017, the gender of couples became irrelevant in marriage law.

The traditional format though is still largely unchanged and includes some outdated terminology. Just remember that these are old samples only.

The bits in green are the legal bits

  • Introduction
    • Celebrant welcomes all. Groom and Groomsmen take their places.
  • Procession – the Bridal walk
    • The bridal party enters ahead of the Bride who is escorted down the aisle to her waiting groom.
  • Giving Away
    • The bride is given away, (but you are not property)
  • Monitum
    • Some legal wording from the Marriage Act 1961, said by the celebrant.
  • Welcoming
    •  Acknowledgements of loved ones who are present, and honouring or mentioning those who are absent
  • Reading
    • A verse or two, setting a theme, read by the celebrant, a guest, a family member, or one of the bridal party.
  • Rituals/Blessings
    • A ritual or blessings. (See the list below).
  • The Asking
    • The celebrant asks the couple to confirm their intentions to marry and the couple responds with “I do!” Necessary in a church but just fun in a Civil Ceremony.
  • Vows
    • The couple make their legal but we can add personalised vows.
  • Ring Exchange
    • The couple usually exchange rings.
  • The Declaration/Unveiling/Kiss
    • The celebrant announces the couple as husband and wife. In old traditions, this is when the veil is lifted and the couple kiss for the first time as husband & wife.
  • Signing of the Register
    • – The couple sign their wedding documents as do the celebrant and two witnesses.
  • Presentation
    • The celebrant presents the now-married couple, usually as “Mr and Mrs…” or the “newly married couple”.
    • release doves
  • Recessional
    • The couple go down the aisle to exciting music, followed by the bridal party.

click here for a Marriage Ceremony – TRADITIONAL Sample


TOP OF THIS PAGE                                                 HOME


MODERN, OR NON-TRADITIONAL ORDER OF SERVICE

A Modern Wedding, can look a lot like the Traditional one but has a bit more fun.

We don’t have to stick to tradition at all, but just need to satisfy the Marriage Act 1961 (a couple of announcements and legal vows said to each other); beyond that we can change or create as we please.

The things that must be, are the bits in green which are the legal bits, but apart from that,  the extras can be pretty much mixed around, expanded, added to or even excluded. Almost everything is optional. It is all your choice!

  • Introduction (Optional)
    • – Celebrant welcomes all and get the crowd cheering
  • Procession (Optional)
    • if there is one;
      • the couple might just gather at the front; or
      • they might walk, ride, dance, or drop-in
      • they are escorted (or carried) by a collection of family and/or friends., or
      • the couple might enter individually to applause and/or music.
      • The Celebrant might process instead of the couple
  • Blessing the Couple (Optional)
    • –  the parents and/or family & friends are asked to offer their blessing, answering serious or fun questions with an ‘I Do’ or ‘We Do’ or ‘You betchya’.
  • Monitum 
    • Some legal wording from the Marriage Act 1961, said by the celebrant.
  • Welcoming & Memorial (Optional)
    • Acknowledgments of loved ones who are present, and honouring or mentioning those who are absent with a ritual of choice
  • Reading or an activity (Optional)
    •  A verse of two setting a theme, read by the celebrant, or a guest, or family member, or one of the wedding party, or maybe even the couple.
    • maybe add in a ritual such as Bread, Wine & Salt, or feet washing etc..
  • The Love Story (Optional)
    • The Celebrant (or a guest) tells the couple’s love story filling it with a bit of fun and romance
  • Rituals/Blessings/Activity (Optional)
    • A ritual or blessings. (See the list below).
  • Vows & Ring Exchange
    • The couple make their legal and personalised vows to each other for all to hear, while also exchanging gifts which may be rings.
  • The Asking or I Do’s (Optional)
    • Using the love story as inspiration, the celebrant asks the couple to confirm their intentions with a bit of fun to which the couple responds with “I do!” or “hell yeah”
  • Signing of the Register
    • The couple signs their wedding documents as do the celebrant and two witnesses.
    • Note that this does not necessarily have to be part of the actual ‘Ceremony’ as such, and by this, I mean that it still must be done but can take place immediately following the Ceremony while the couple, witnesses, and Celebrant are still together.
  • Activity
    • take part in a fun or romantic ritual such as a sand ceremony, hand blessing, handfasting, jumping the broom etc.
  • The Declaration/Pronouncement (Optional)
    • the celebrant announces the couple as married, using whatever terminology you like e.g. “Mr and Mrs…” , “the newly married couple” etc; while the couple enjoys a passionate first kiss as a married couple with the crowd cheering or invite everyone to have a kiss
  • The Exit
    • – with exciting music playing (if you want music), everyone rushes forward for hugs and for photos or dancing or the couple dance/run/process down the aisle.

Click on the link for a basic CEREMONY DRAFT WITH SOME OPTIONS


LEGALS ONLY SERVICE

This is for the couple that just ‘want to be married‘, but not spend time at a soppy Ceremony. It is similar to the ceremony that you might get at a Registry and so satisfies the legal bits but has no extras or embellishments. It can take just 5-10 minutes and only the minimum words are said.

Click here for a sample of a Legals Only ceremony 


TOP OF THIS PAGE                                                          HOME


More ideas coming up

WEDDINGS CEREMONY IDEAS & SUGGESTIONS


Rituals or symbolic gestures also add to the ceremony and might include readings or poetry, lighting of a family or naming candles, blessings, the planting of a seed or tree, and more.

I am comfortable in all environments so feel free to call me any time.
We will meet, usually via zoom because it is quick and easy for all, and we will discuss and plan. I am at your service and will travel as needed.
I’ll offer guidance where I can but more importantly, I will ask lots of questions.
Here are some ideas with brief descriptions but there are lots more. Just ask me.


TOP OF THIS PAGE                                                                            HOME


CONTENTS


TOP OF THIS PAGE                                                                            HOME


Aboriginal Weddings & Customs

First Nation Wedding

As with all First Nation history, I had difficulty finding accurate information about First Nation marriage practices but this not uncommon as tragically many customs have been lost or forgotten through the severe impact of colonisation, urbanisation, and generational dislocation.

What is known is that as with almost any First Nation ceremony there should be a ‘Smoking; to purify the area and remove all sins, evil or disturbed spirits as well as any grievances. It is a new beginning.

Bright, creative body painting is also a traditional custom that dates back millennia of Indigenous culture. The ornamentation reflects a person’s family, ancestors, social grouping and territory, and is a deeply spiritual practice, particularly around marriage ceremonies. The style of art varies greatly around the different nations that inhabit the Australian continent.

It is important to secure the advice and assistance of a local elder to determine what other rituals might be performed and of course, to conduct a Welcome to Country.

The Elder may even be able to recommend appropriate music and musicians.

Beyond that the ceremony would satisfy the Marriage Act and so be similar to other modern ceremonies.

Indigenous Marriage History

To understand culture, let’s look at known history.

In Australian First Nation cultures, marriage was more than a relationship between two persons as it linked two families or groups of kin, which, even before the union was confirmed and most certainly afterward, had mutual obligations and responsibilities.

Historically, reciprocity was a fundamental rule in Aboriginal kinship systems and also in marriage.

Generally, those who received a wife had to make repayment either at the time of marriage or at some future time.

In the simplest form of reciprocity, men exchanged sisters, and women exchanged brothers. Such exchanges took place between different moieties, clans, or families. Most kinship-and-marriage systems provided for the possible replacement of spouses and for parent surrogates.

Infant betrothal was common.

If arranged before the birth of one or both of the prospective spouses, it was a tentative arrangement subject to later ratification, mainly through continued gift giving to the girl’s parents.

Generally, a long-standing betrothal, that was cemented by gift giving and the rendering of services, had a good chance of fostering a genuine attachment between a couple.

For a marriage to be recognized, it was usually enough that a couple should live together publicly and assume certain responsibilities in relation to each other and toward their respective families, but it might be considered binding only after a child was born.

All persons were expected to marry.

A girl’s marriage should be settled before she reached puberty, and, ideally, a husband should be older than his wife, although in some cases a man would receive an older widow in marriage.

Apart from formal betrothal, there were other ways of contracting marriages, such as:

Elopement: capture during feuding or fighting, often supported by love magic, which emphasized romantic love, as well as by the oblique or direct approval of extramarital relations.

Elopement via the Levirate: redistribution of widows through compulsory marriage of a widow to her deceased husband’s brother.

Although most men had only one wife at a time, polygyny was considered both legitimate and good. The average number of wives in polygynous unions was 2 or 3. The maximum in the Great Sandy Desert was 5 or 6; among the Tiwi, 29; among the Yolngu, 20 to 25, with many men having 10 to 12. In such circumstances, women had a scarcity value. Having more than one wife was usually a matter of personal inclination, but economic considerations were important; so were prestige and political advantage. Some women pressed their husbands to take an additional wife (or wives), since this meant more food coming into the family circle and more help with child care.

To terminate a marriage, a woman might try elopement. A man could bestow an unsatisfactory wife on someone else or divorce her. A formal declaration or some symbolic gesture on his part might be all that was necessary. In broad terms, a husband had more rights over his wife than she had over him. But, taking into account the overall relations between men and women and their separate and complementary arenas of activity in marriage and in other aspects of social living, women in Aboriginal societies were not markedly oppressed.

Ref: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Australian-Aboriginal/Aboriginal-peoples-in-Australian-society

Ref: https://theculturetrip.com/pacific/australia/articles/11-facts-about-aboriginal-australian-ceremonies/

Smoking Ceremony (Indigenous)

This is one of the most significant ancient ceremonies in the culture of Australia’s First nation.
In a smoking ceremony, an Elder burns specific plants, usually eucalyptus leaves, to produce a fragrant smoke that is fanned over the couple and perhaps the guests.
The smoke is believed to ward of ill will and evil spirits and so offers cleansing and healing properties.
Once a smoking ceremony is performed, any past wrongs are forgiven and/or forgotten
If you wish this to take place, either ask the Celebrant to facilitate contact with an Elder, or contact the local Indigenous community.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY

 Only an Elder from the locality can offer a ‘Welcome to Country’ but others may offer an Acknowledgment of Country. The following four samples are a guide:

  1. Before we begin proceedings, I would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which we meet today (Include the name of the People and their Nation here). I would like to pay my respects to the Elders past, present and future and pay my respects to all Aboriginal People here today, wherever you may come from
  2. I would like to acknowledge the _________________________ people, who are the traditional custodians of this land. I would also like to pay my respects to Elders past and present of the ___________________ nation, and I extend that respect to other indigenous people who are present.
  3. I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet today and pay my respects to the Elders past and present.
  4. I would like to acknowledge that we meet on Aboriginal land, the land of the  ____________________ people of the ___________________ nation. I like to pay respect to their Elders past and present.
  5. For use in the Nepean and Blacktown areas:
  • I would like to acknowledge that the Darug people were the original custodians of the land on which we meet today. We pay our respects to elders past and present, and acknowledge the aboriginal people for their custodianship of this land.
  • Before we begin proceedings, I would like to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we meet today, the Darug people. I would like to pay my respects to the Elders past, present and future and pay my respects to all Aboriginal People here today, wherever you may come from.

TOP OF THIS PAGE                                                                            HOME


WELCOME TO COUNTRY

Only an Elder from the locality can offer a ‘Welcome to Country’ but others may offer an ‘Acknowledgement of Country.

The Elder will, of course, have their own words of welcome which will usually be similar to the ‘Acknowledgement of Country

Baby (inclusion in Ceremony)

You can include very young children in your Ceremony?

There are many ways children can be included in your Ceremony.

You will find this same, or an updated general version, of this information in Wedding Ideas on my web page, or click the link to go directly to the section on Children, but the following is about the very young.

Go to Children, if you are looking for ideas for more so for teenage children.

Read on if you are looking for ideas for including babies.

For your own children who are articulate and over 6 in particular, your including them in the ceremony can remove anxiety about the Ceremony, as they are of course, a very important part of your marriage and of the ‘new’ family it creates, so it is always preferable to include them in some way in the wedding ceremony.

Sp this section is about the very young and of course about the recognition of the partner in marriage as that partner will now also  be a partner in parenting.

Where a child is old enough to recognise his/her own name, inclusion for them  can be as simple as mentioning their names during key parts of the ceremony such as the vows, or including them in a unifying ritual.

The Celebrant can also mention and introduce them early in the Ceremony.

A child of that age will of course require:

    • a carer/minder a
    • a change of clothes
    • nappies
    • rest
    • food/drink
    • reassurance
    • a retreat when needed
    • lots of practice to provide confidence

The minder is very important as you will be busy with the Ceremony and so it is best you are not distracted.

The minder can have the change of clothes and other needs on hand and can offer reassurance and guidance.

Depending on ages and ability of a the young child, you can assign set tasks and responsibilities such as:

    • Bridal escort (with minder)
    • Junior Bridesmaid/Groomsman (with minder)
    • Page boy (with minder)
    • Flower girl/boy (with minder)
    • Ring bearer/s (rings can be pinned to baby’s garment)
    • Announcer (if of speaking age)
    • and lots more….

It is really up to the imagination, but many choose ‘unity’ rituals which create inclusiveness.

With a baby though, it is also about parental inclusion, ie setting the base for family bonding and future parenting

Follow the links to find out more.

If you are choosing to take on a new name, you may even wish to include a Naming Ceremony for your children (though an official Change of Name, would still have to be lodged with the Registry of Births Deaths and marriages – for more information on changing names, see NAME CHANGE IN NSW: How do I change my name in NSW after marriage?. )

You might enjoy this video:


TOP OF THIS PAGE                                                                            HOME


Balloon or Bubble Release

A symbol of freedom and aspiration to encourage the couple’s spirit to bloom and grow, but there are legal restrictions on the type and number (20) of balloons as well as environmental concerns.

In NSW, it is illegal to release 20 or more gas-inflated balloons at or about the same time.

If less than 20 balloons are released, they should not have any attachments but can cause environmental damage.

If you do want balloons, best to tether them with fishing line so that they can be released to a specified height in a formation such as an arch, and afterwards can be recollected and taken home as memorials.

If, however the balloons are released inside a hall, they can be captured after the event and kept as mementos without environmental harm.

Environmentally safe options are:

    • securely tether the balloons so that they fly upward to form a floating arch that will stay for the entire event and can later be retrieved.
    • the use of dancing inflatables.
    • battery-operated bubble blowing machine that releases bubbles made from harmless detergents and water and disappear on impact, leaving nothing behind. Machines are available cheaply from online stores.

The NSW government has a fact sheet: NSW balloons(link is external) WA Balloons(link is external)

Bible as a Wedding Gift

Presenting a Family Bible, a treasured family heirloom, as a wedding gift is a very old tradition.

The family tree is entered with dates of family events such as births, deaths, marriages, and Baptisms.

This bible was usually handed down from generation to generations and this can be incorporated into the wedding Ceremony.

Big Cheer

    • Give your guests something to wave other than confetti for when you are pronounced as ‘husband and wife’ can be flags, ribbon wands, bells.

TOP OF THIS PAGE                                                                            HOME


Blessing to the Four Directions

In many ancient religious traditions, particularly American Indian, it is customary to bring a service of worship or celebration by calling upon the four directions, North, East, South & West

This is a way of symbolically inviting all of creation to be present and take part in the festivities.

Blessings 

I like to have all stand for a Blessing of the happy couple, using words such as these:

As you step over the threshold into married life together, may understanding and tolerance guide your steps, may forgiveness steady your footing, and may the constant glow of true love light your pathway throughout the joined lifetime which lies ahead of you all that you are, always be in love;
and may all that is love, always be in you.
May your love be as beautiful on each day you share as it is on this day of celebration.
And may each day you share be as precious to you as the day you first fell in love.
May you always see and encourage the best in each other.
May the challenges life brings your way make your marriage even stronger.
And may you always be each other’s best friend and greatest love.

Blessings – Irish Blessing

You will find a huge list of readings and poetry on  my Wedding Poetry & Readings page but the Irish have a poetry of their own.

Follow this link to a  bundle of Irish Blessings.

Here is a small sample:

Irish Marriage or Wedding Prayer

May the raindrops fall lightly on your brow
May the soft winds freshen your spirit
May the sunshine brighten your heart
May the burdens of the day rest lightly upon you
And may God enfold you in the mantle of His love.


Box of delights

To keep guests busy while you are signing the marriage register, your guest can be engaged by signing petals, shells or post-it notes with their wishes for your future together.

They can be used to make a collage or framework for wedding photos. Have an ornamental case or a chest for their collection.


Bread & Salt Tradition – Polish

In the Polish tradition, bread is a symbol for health, long life and wealth.

In Poland, a central part of the wedding ceremony is the presentation of bread and salt to the newly-married couple.

The parents of the couple present them with rye bread sprinkled with salt and a drink; the bread represents the symbolic hope that they will never go hungry; the salt reminds them that their joint life will have its difficulties and the drink represents the parents’ wishes for health and happiness for the couple.

The bride’s mother holds the tray with bread and salt, and asks her daughter: “Which do you choose: bread, salt or the groom?”

The bride answers: ‘Bread, salt and the groom to earn money for it”.

Afterwards they drink from two small glasses bound together with a ribbon. The couple empty the glasses and then throw them over their shoulders onto the floor.

For there to be happiness in the marriage, the glasses should break.

However in an additional dimension: one glass contains vodka, and the other only water. The couple cannot tell which is which and the one who gets vodka will play a leading role in the new marriage.

When important, respected, or admired guests arrive, they are presented with a loaf of bread placed on a tray as a sign of hospitality.

The “Bread and Salt” is a form of specially baked round bread with a salt shaker placed on top of the bread. You can find this custom being practiced during official events and even in restaurants when you go with a group of tourists.

Usually the “Bread and Salt” on a round tray is covered with an embroidered towel and is presented by a young woman dressed in a national costume (e.g., “sarafan” with “kokoshnik”).

If you are presented with a “Bread and Salt”, you should help yourself for sure: you need to break off a piece of bread, dip it in salt and eat it with a smile. You should not refuse, or the host would get greatly offended.

Bread Bite or “Bread and Salt”- Russian

The Russians have a unique way to determine who the head of the household is to be.

During the wedding ceremony or at the reception, the bride and groom are given a loaf of karavay (a small round loaf of bread). Someone holds the bread for them as they each take a bite from the loaf. Whoever takes the bigger bite is considered to be the head of the family.

Bread in many cultures is a very revered product. Bread in Russia symbolizes abandon and wealth. Since ancient times salt has been valued a lot in Russia, and people believed that salt offered protection from evil forces.

The “Bread and Salt” tradition appeared in Russia a long time ago. In one of the written sources – a collection of rules and precepts of the 15th century – “Domostroy” we can read that this custom is very old and the “Bread and Salt” is presented during celebratory events and at the time of mourning as well.

In the Middle Ages, Russian people also believed that if enemies shared “Bread and Salt” with each other they would become close friends.

Even today a good host in Russia is a person who treats his guests very well and follows the “Bread and Salt” tradition.

Bridal or Wedding Procession – see Procession

Bride Abduction (Wales)

In Wales, a mock abduction game is played before the ceremony.

The Best Man will kidnap the Bride and take her to the pub before the wedding. The Groom must find them and pick up the tab.

There are similar Bride-napping traditions throughout Europe, including in Russia, Germany and Romania.

Ref: http://goliveitblog.com/experiences/10-wedding-traditions-around-the-world/

Burying the Bourbon

In the southern states of the USA where bourbon is made, there is a wedding tradition that is the ritual of “Burying the Bourbon”.

The belief is that you can prevent rain on the wedding day by burying a full bottle of bourbon, top-down, at the ceremony site either a month before but some say it will work if done on the day, or on a perfect day anytime within the month.

Butterfly Release

A symbol of change and beauty. Everyone loves a beautiful; butterfly.

Having gone from caterpillar to larvae and finally through struggle to become a beautiful butterfly, everyone loves to see them fly or just rest with wings spread.

The bride and groom release butterflies as a symbol of the change in their lives and the celebrant invites guests to make a wish for the couple.

“We have gathered to grant this couple all our best wishes and are about to set these butterflies free in trust that all these wishes will be granted”.

One history is that this is purported to be an old American Indian legend. If anyone desires a wish to come true they must first capture a butterfly and whisper that wish to it. Since a butterfly can make no sound, the butterfly cannot reveal the wish to anyone but the Great Spirit who hears and sees all. In gratitude for giving the beautiful butterfly its freedom, the Great Spirit always grants the wish. So, according to legend, by making a wish and giving the butterfly its freedom, the wish will be taken to the heavens and be granted.

If it works, it can be beautiful and the butterfly suppliers can advise on how to get the best out of the little creatures. See Butterflies & Doves for suppliers and cost.

If it doesn’t work, well …..the downside is that they are not always available as they are subject to seasonal & weather conditions. You need to give at least 5 weeks notice for the butterflies to be grown.  As Butterflies hibernate when cold, they may not be available for release during winter. Their wings are fragile and can be easily damaged, including in transport or upon release. For transport, they are cooled and placed into a small container and so must then be warmed before release otherwise they will wake from hibernation and will not fly. If the temperature and timing is not right, they will not move or may simply die.

 


TOP OF THIS PAGE                                                                            HOME


Cake Slice For Single Ladies

Legend had it that if a single lady slept with a wedding cake slice under her pillow, she would dream of her future husband.

Cakes – Wedding Cake Charms

Like Christmas puddings, there was a custom of baking charms into wedding cakes, but guests need to be warned of this to avoid choking or injury. Probably for both hygiene and safety, this was replaced with a ribbon surrounding the cake so that the charms can readily and easily be removed without risk. There are ten traditional:

      1. Anchor, airplane, car or carriage, for hope, travel & adventure
      2. Clover or Horseshoe for good luck
      3. Flower or a fleur de Lis, for new love
      4. Heart for true love
      5. Highchair for the arrival of children
      6. Purse for wealth
      7. Ring for an engagement or the next to marry
      8. Rocking Chair for long life
      9. Wedding bells for the marriage
      10. Wishing Well so that all dreams & wishes may come true

Cake: Wedding Cake Traditions

In Roman and Medieval times, a stack of buns was used and the groom would break bread over his bride’s head and then share the crumbs with their guests as a sign of sustenance and good fortune.

A Yorkshire tradition was for the bride to eat a small piece of bridal cake and then, throw the remainder over her head to ensure a life of wanting for nothing

Over the centuries the cake has evolved to multi-tiered cakes and more recently to combination cakes or different shapes, sizes and even components.

The Bride and Groom are guaranteed a prosperous life together if they can kiss over the three to seven tiers.

Although wedding cakes can be any colour, commonly the base colour should be white to represent purity (virginity) and so the ‘wedding cake’ was traditionally referred to as the “bride’s cake.” In Victorian times, white icing was very expensive and so a white cake was also highly desired as a symbol of social standing, importance and wealth. Rather than ‘virginity’, these days the white has come symbolise the new beginning and the purity of love.

A more modern fashion, is for wedding cakes to match the bridal dress and/or bouquet, in colour and design.

Historically the bride cut the cake to symbolize the loss of her virginity but now Bride & Groom cut the cake together as one of their first acts as Husband & wife.

The bride holds the knife and the groom places his hand gently over hers as a symbol of support and guidance. They then cut and remove the cake slices before the groom tenderly feeds a slice to his bride to demonstrate his commitment to providing for her. The Bride then reciprocates to demonstrate her commitment to nourish him.  This tender and the romantic act of affection and symbolic promise to forever assist & care for one another has however evolved as a ‘fun’ fashion for some couples to shove the cut slice cake into the partner’s face and might result in the couple first argument as husband and wife.

Once the bride and groom have fed each other, they then share their wedding cake with their guests as a gesture of good luck and affection.

Note that the lower level only is cut, and that others, such as the caterer or family members, commonly slice the remained & distribute the cake, with the exception of the top layer which is preserved for the couples’ first anniversary or their first child’s Christening, whichever comes first.

The cake cutting is commonly followed by the first dance.

A forgotten tradition in the United Kingdom, in early USA, around the time of the Civil War, there was also a Groom’s Cake, a tradition which is still practiced in the southern states of the USA but not commonly elsewhere. The Groom’s Cake is usually chocolate, but can be other flavours, and is decorated or designed to represent the groom’s hobbies, interest, pastimes, or individual tastes and these days is often representative of his favourite sports teams.

The wedding cake is traditionally a fruit cake which includes alcohol in its ingredients as a preservative. Properly sealed in a cake tin or airproof wrappings, the cake can be frozen and will last for a considerable time unless of course it contains creams which will not last.

One tradition that dates back about 300 years, is that after the wedding cake is sliced, it is often distributed in decorative waxed paper bags. This is so guests can take a slice home and it is claimed that a person sleeping with a piece of wedding cake under their pillow will dream of their future partner that night.


Candles

You will find candles can be used in a variety of ways because:

    • A candle represents love which can light your partner’s world.
    • A candle overcomes darkness and shows you how love can brighten your life.
    • A candle, provides warmth, just as you feel warmth from the love.
    • A candle can offer direction and can draw people together, reminding you of how your love is also a unifying and guiding force.
    • The melting wax represents the risk and element of pain that can challenge a relationship.
    • If a candle is never lit, it never fulfills its purpose just as if love is not nurtured, it is lost.

More information at the following links:

Candle Lighting – Memorial Candle

Commemorate a beloved family member who is no longer with us, the ritual lighting of a candle or candles and its display, can offer that presence and memory.

  • Other family members can each light a candle for each lost one, and the couple then use those candles to light the prominent, or a single memorial candle can be introduced.  (see also ‘Remembering’ for other ideas).

Sample Candle Lighting (memorial): 
Celebrant:           Your family is a warmed by strength and love.

With every birth and every union, your family grows.
The sharing of every joy,  and working together in the face adversity or any crisis overcome, makes that love and family even stronger.
We have gathered today in this family’s love
As memories are made, they fill our lives with colour, as do the people with whom we share our lives. These people, we call our extended family. They are those whose arms are open wide to hold and to hug you, whose minds are also open to listen.
Love grows and is strengthened when it is nurtured.
The lighting of these candles is a symbol of the light of love brought into our lives by those we have loved who remain in our hearts but are not with us in physical form today. We cherish the special place in our hearts that will always be reserved for those who have gone before us.
Its light and its warmth are shared by all who share in its dancing flame.
This flame represents the burning love within us all and reminds us of the depth of our love we have for those who are unable tol be with us hear today except in our hearts and minds.
There are two candles. One each to represent the respective families of this couple.
<name> will light this candle in Memory of ___ and ___ and ___,
<name> will light this candle in Memory of ___ and ___ and ___,
They will now bring those flames together in unity and light the third larger candle.
The smaller candles may now be extinguished, because the new flame, the unified flame is the focus of our memories, and it will burn throughout this ceremony.

Candle Lighting – Naming Day Candle

    • Naming Day Candles or Christening Candles, are ceremonial candles retained from the ceremony when a name was formally announced and these candles are traditionally kept for the use at important life changing ceremonies of which this is one..
    • The parents, grandparents or sponsors (Godparents) can once again light the candles, making wishes and promises for the once child, now adult.

Ceremony type – Traditional or Not

There are just a few legal bits to satisfy in the Ceremony, including the Monitum and minimum legal vows but beyond that we can change things around, by including or excluding all sorts of rituals, fun, romance and more.

I’ll start here with a sample of what an Order of Service of a Traditional Wedding, looks like but this page includes all sorts of possible inclusion, and remember, we don’t have to stick to tradition, we just need to satisfy the Marriage Act 1961. I like to mix things up a bit to improve the flow  and make it more fun and original so that it is uniquely your ceremony.

Traditional Order Of Service

  • Introduction – Celebrant welcomes all,  and sets out any requirements e.g. turn off phones. Groom and Groomsmen take their places.
  • Procession – the Bridal walk – The bridal party enters ahead of the Bride who is escorted down the isle to her waiting groom.
  • Giving Away – The bride is given away, or presented, usually by the father but a family blessing/acknowledgement, can replace or enhance this part.
  • Monitum- Some legal wording from the Marriage Act 1961, said by the celebrant.
  • Welcoming –  Acknowledgements of loved ones who are present, and honouring or mentioning those who are absent
  • Reading – A verse of two setting a theme, read by the celebrant, a guest, a family member, or one of the bridal party.
  • Rituals/Blessings- A ritual or blessings. (See the list below).
  • The Asking –The celebrant asks the couple to confirm their intentions to marry. A non-legal part which has the couple saying “I do!”
  • Vows –The couple make their legal and personalised vows to each other for all to hear (includes the minimum legal vows from the Marriage Act 1961).
  • Ring Exchange – The couple usually exchange rings.
  • The Declaration/Unveiling/Kiss- The celebrant announces the couple as husband and wife. In old traditions, this is when the veil is lifted and the couple kiss for the first time as husband & wife.
  • Signing of the Register – The couple sign their wedding documents as do the celebrant and two witnesses.
  • Presentation – The celebrant presents the now married couple, usually as “Mr and Mrs…” or the “newly married couple”.
  • Recessional – The couple go down the aisle to exciting music, followed by the bridal party.

Modern or Non-Traditional Order Of Service

  • The first thing that must be said is that the bits in green are the legal bits and apart from that, all the extras can be pretty much mixed around, expanded, added to or even excluded. It is your choice!
    • Introduction – Celebrant welcomes all,  and sets out any requirements e.g. turn off phones, No Social media until afterwards etc.
    • Procession – if there is one;
      • the bride & groom might just gather at the front; or
      • they might walk down together; or
      • be escorted (or carried) by a collection of family and/or friends., or
      • the Groom might enter first to applause and/or music.
    • Blessing the Bride (&Groom) –  the parents and/or family & friends are asked to offer their blessing, answering question with an ‘I Do’ or ‘We Do’ or ‘You betchya’.
    • Monitum- Some legal wording from the Marriage Act 1961, said by the celebrant.
    • Welcoming – Acknowledgements of loved ones who are present, and honouring or mentioning those who are absent
    • Reading – A verse of two setting a theme, read by the celebrant, or a guest, or family member, or one of the bridal party, or maybe even the bride or groom.
    • Rituals/Blessings- A ritual or blessings. (See the list below).
    • Vows & Ring Exchange –The couple make their legal and personalised vows to each other for all to hear (includes the minimum legal vows from the Marriage Act 1961) and while doing so exchange rings.
    • The Asking –The celebrant asks the couple to confirm their intentions to honour their vows. A non-legal part which has the couple saying “I do!”
    • Signing of the Register – The couple sign their wedding documents as do the celebrant and two witnesses.
    • The Declaration/Pronouncement – the celebrant announces the couple as husband and wife, “Mr and Mrs…” , “newly married couple” or however you wish to be introduced;while enjoying a passionate first kiss as a married couple while the crowd cheers.
    • Recessional – with exciting music playing (if you want music), everyone rushes forward for hugs and for photos.

Legals Only

This is the absolute minimum to satisfy the Marriage Act 1961, and is very rarely performed.

  • Introduction & Welcome – Celebrant sets out any requirements
  • Monitum- Some legal wording from the Marriage Act 1961, said by the celebrant.
  • Vows  –The couple make their legal vows to each other for all to hear 
  • Signing of the Register – The couple sign their wedding documents as do the celebrant and two witnesses.
  • The Declaration/Pronouncement – the celebrant announces the couple as husband and wife.

Checklist

There are lots of checklists available online and I don’t want to confuse you or reinvent the wheel, I just want to make it easier for you.
I will eventually (as soon as I find the time) convert the attached alphabetical list to a chronological  (time based) To Do list.
Feel free to let me know if I have left anything out, and your suggestions for improvement or change to make it more useful, would be most welcome.

I do hope it helps you

Click on the links below to download the free pdf or Spreadsheet
WEDDING CHECK LIST
WEDDING CHECKLIST for event planner.docx


TOP OF THIS PAGE                                                                            HOME


Children

There are many ways children can be included in your Ceremony and including children in the ceremony can remove anxiety about the marriage for your own children, as they are of course, a very important part of your marriage and the ‘new’ family it creates, so it is always preferable to include them in some way in the ceremony.

This can be as simple as mentioning their names during key parts of the ceremony such as the vows, or including them in a unifying ritual.

A child under 18 cannot however be a legal witness/signatory to the Ceremony i.e. only two people over 18 can act as witnesses and sign the Marriage Certificates but if they are over 18, of course they cam.

Depending on their ages and ability, assign set tasks and responsibilities such:

      • Bridal escort
      • Junior Bridesmaid/Groomsman
      • Page boy
      • Flower girl/boy
      • Ring bearer/s
      • Ushers
      • Bouquet holder
      • Announcer
      • Reader
      • Welcomer
      • and lots more….

It is really up to the imagination but  many choose  ‘unity’ rituals which create  inclusiveness. Follow the links to find out more.

If you are choosing to take on a new name, you may even wish to include a Naming Ceremony for your children (though an official Change of Name, would still have to be lodged with the Registry of Births Deaths and marriages – for more information on changing names, see NAME CHANGE IN NSW: How do I change my name in NSW after marriage?. )


 Chuppah or Canopy

A ‘chuppah’ symbolizes the home that the couple will build together. It is a canopy under which a Jewish couple traditionally stand during their wedding ceremony.

The design and the four chuppah bearers reflect the couple’s philosophy, values, and personal connections.

  • The cover protects
  • The four poles rooted to the ground connect to heritage and a focus on goals;
  • The sides are an opening to the world, enabling vulnerability and accessibility, imagination, discovery, and play.

Circle of Love

Having your guests stand or sit in a circle around you means everyone  is a close part of the ceremony.

Circling

The wedding ring is a circle that represents the unbroken or never ending commitment the Bride & groom have for each other.

This circle can be transposed to the family and/or guests encircling the Bride & Groom.

In Hindu religious ceremonies, the couple circle a fire seven times, sealing their bond while in Eastern European Orthodox religious ceremonies, the bride and groom circle the altar three times. In both instances these are the couple’s first steps together as husband and wife.

Clothing Change

  • symbolic of the great change in life, can be a veil, robe, cloak or shawl, doing away with the old and embracing the new.
  • white is a symbol of purity and of new life
  • a white satin gown can be placed over clothing or replace it, in a ritual
  • strips or ribbons from that gown can be used in future events such as coming of age, graduation, debut, wedding etc.

Cocktails! – Pre-Ceremony

Throwing a pre-ceremony party may be fun but can also invite disaster.

It is illegal for the marriage to be solemnised if the bride, groom or witnesses, or even guests who also witnesses the ceremony, are not sober, and so the Celebrant reserves the right under law, to refuse to proceed especially if there is an unsafe environment .

Confetti & Rice

Throwing rice or a grain (wheat, corn etc) at the newlyweds, usually after they are pronounced as Husband and wife, is a very old tradition symbolising hopes of fertility and wealth.

This custom has largely fallen by the wayside because venues hate the mess and the risk of people slipping and suffering injury. Also because birds can eat the raw grain and some grains such as uncooked rice, may actually harm birds when the grain swells in the bird’s digestive tract.

Alternatives to raw rice are:

  • birdseed              will not harm birds and is less likely to result in slip/falls
  • confetti                colourful and will not cause injury but very hard to clean up
  • bubbles               decorative soap bottles with loops distributed to guests enables them to fill the air with bubbles that they blow around you, or you can use a bubble machine. Just be sure that the soap won’t create a slippery walkway surface.
  • Butterflies           some suppliers, but they are hard to find, will package Butterflies into paper boxes for guests to open at the appropriate time so that the butterflies fill the air. Some however regard it as cruel to the Butterflies and they will only fly if conditions are suitable.

Cruise Ship Wedding

A Cruise Ship can be a great honeymoon but can also be the location of your wedding.

Some couples like to marry in the Royal Botanical Gardens and then walk down to Circular Quay to board their cruise ship but others like to marry on-board.

The ship MUST be within Australian waters for the on-board marriage to be valid and all couples still have to comply with Australian laws of course.

Weddings aboard a cruise ship usually take place while the ship is docked, and this can be arranged through the cruise lines wedding planner and land planner. As long as the boat is docked, then that’s the state where the marriage is registered e.g. ‘Onboard   Cruise Ship Named, Darling Harbour Wharf, Sydney.

Here is a typical schedule:

10:45am Couple and guests arrive at wharf
11:00am Begin priority cruise check-in
11:15am Ceremonies at Sea coordinator meet the wedding party, then escorts the party onboard, and the bride to her room:
12:15pm Celebrant arrives at wharf and is escorted to the ceremony venue
12:45pm Groom and wedding guests meet in reception & are escorted to the Chapel
1:00pm Ceremonies at Sea coordinator escorts bride to ceremony venue
1:15pm Ceremony begins
1:45pm Celebration toast and cake cutting
2:00pm Party to commence photo session and celebrant disembarks
3:00pm Wedding party return to their rooms to collect life jackets for compulsory guest drill
4:30pm Celebrations continue at your leisure

Though not common because some Cruise lines do not allow it, the marriage can take place while out to sea provided the ship is within Australian waters at the time of the ceremony and the Celebrant is a ticket holding passenger. The marriage is then registered as being. ‘Onboard – Cruise Ship Name, ‘coordinates’.  If in international water, the marriage is not valid.

The Celebrant will require certain information including a room number, dock address and ship name for all documents and of course will probably already have your passport number from the NOIM.

The Captain, or a crew member, if requested, but usually for a hefty fee, will conduct a Commitment Ceremony when in international waters but contrary to what is in the movies, it is not legally binding.

When the ship is docked, the couple, guests and the Celebrant should be at the ship early.

A current and valid Passport will be required, as there is a customs and security check before boarding.

The Celebrant is issued with a boarding pass that must be used when accessing and departing the ship even though the Celebrant will be escorted at all times and must leave the ship immediately upon completion of the ceremony.

Some important conditions imposed by the cruise line:

  • only passengers on the cruise ship can be guests at the wedding. Friends and relatives who are not ticket holders will not be permitted on-board.
  • You probably won’t be allowed to bring your own photographer as usually only the ship’s photographer will be allowed but it does mean you get to see your photographs while on the ship and should have all of them by the time you disembark
  • So that your friends and family can join you on your special day, cruise ships will offer a discounted rate for group bookings, usually for 16 or more guests attending your celebration and travelling on the cruise.
  • Ships usually do have a Wedding Coordinator to be the point of contact for your special occasion.
  • Flowers and Cakes can be arranged through the ship. You may not be able to bring your own and due to quarantine regulations, cannot be taken off the ship.
  • some ships don’t allow you to bring alcohol on board, or at least at the point of first boarding
  • you cannot take hair dryers, hair straighteners, irons etc on board but you will find a hair dryer in your room

Cutting of the Groom’s tie (Spain) – Cortar la corbata del novio

In Spain, during the wedding reception, the Groom will be surrounded by his Groomsmen, who will cut his tie from around his neck. The tie is cut into small pieces and auctioned off to wedding guests. It’s believed that owning a piece of the cut tie will bring good luck.

Ref: http://goliveitblog.com/experiences/10-wedding-traditions-around-the-world/


TOP OF THIS PAGE                                                                            HOME


Despacho Ceremony

A Despacho Ceremony involves the creation of a Sacred Space and offerings of Gratitude.

The Celebrants may mark the area by placing offerings encircling the space and then, standing at a central point, says ceremonial words of blessing and gratitude to the four winds while turning to the four compass points.

This is then followed by the creation of a despacho.

Having chosen items that symbolise facets of life for which gratitude will be expressed, we begin with a piece of paper that can be decorative; this is placed on the ground or a table (altar)  and onto this paper we place the symbols of gratitude.

Items may include sugar for the sweetness of life, salt for the bitter, rice for food, toy money as a symbol of wealth etc.. There is a list of suggestions below.

There is a pause for prayer, as you breath the prayer on the item before it is placed.

The sugar or grains are first and can be placed in a cross or circular (or both), configuration, and other items are paced in a pattern, filling the spaces created by the first configuration.

This can be used as an opportunity to include all members of the bridal or even the guests as each can place an item of gratitude.

On completion, the paper is folded, covering the offerings so that it has the appearance of a wrapped gift and maybe tied and then decorated with a flower to symbolise life or the sun.

The gift of gratitude is then either buried as an offering to mother earth or placed into a fire as an offering with the cleansing smoke rising to the heavens.

Re: http://www.qoya.love/despacho-ceremony1/

Donation Box

  • If a special charity has an impact on you, you can set up an online donation link, or have a Charity Donation Box displayed
  • Most charities will issue you with a Certificate to commemorate the occasions.

Dove Release

  • A worldwide symbol for peace, freedom, and celebration.
  • Doves have been used for centuries to symbolize all the hope, peace, and love that comes from new beginnings.
  • Doves will create beautiful patterns in the sky; sometimes apart, sometimes together, always in harmony with one another.
    • TIP –
      • white doves are difficult to procure and so pigeons are often used
      • stay away from mountains and’/or open fields where there may be hawks as white doves, in particular, are easy prey

sample script:

Celebrant says:

A release of Doves at special gatherings and
ceremonies is thought to bestow good fortune to all who witness their release and notably Doves mate for life,
We witnessed Our couple today make that same promise in their marriage.
A white dove has been the symbol of love, freedom, and peace and celebration for centuries.
<Party 1> and <Party 2> are going to release two white doves as a symbol of their freedom, their unity, their celebration.
This will be followed by the release of a flock of white doves, representing the support and best wishes of all of us here today.
We wish <Party 1> and <Party 2> a long and loving marriage filled with health and happiness and constant celebration as they now RELEASE the doves.

You will find suppliers on my Wedding People tab on this webpage

Dress it, with Fun Stuff

You can create a theme for your venue or have a fun dress up yourself.

You could armour, wear sashes, a temporary tattoo, bags, T-shirts, wigs, hats, swords, and lots more. It is just limited by your imagination.

You can hire it, make it, or buy it.

You might be surprised at what you will find in op-shops, hardware stores, craft & variety stores.

You may find more ideas and vendors at any of these links on my web-page:


TOP OF THIS PAGE                                                                            HOME


El lazo (Mexico) – The Lasso

Once the couple at a Mexican wedding have pledged their vows, guests will lasso them together with a special rope.

The rope is tied in a figure-eight shape to symbolise the couple’s lasting unity.

Ref: http://goliveitblog.com/experiences/10-wedding-traditions-around-the-world/

Enhanced Fertility (Czech)

Before Czech wedding ceremonies, an infant is placed on the couple’s bed in order to bless and enhance their fertility.

Once wed, guests shower the couple with rice, peas or lentils to also promote fertility.

Ref: http://goliveitblog.com/experiences/10-wedding-traditions-around-the-world/

Entrance: Aisle Choice – Giveaway by Relay

Can’t decide who you want to walk you down the aisle?

    • Do you have several people you would like to include?
    • If space allows, ask a different family member or mentors to accompany you for part of the way, before handing over to someone else.

Entrance: Aisle Choice – Just the two of us

    • Couples can of course start their journey together quite literally, by making a united entrance, arm in arm, or maybe dance or run to position.

Entrance: Music, All together now…

    • A string quartet or a live band to greet guests can really set the mood you want to create.
    • If members of the wedding party are musicians, they can play their instrument or sing a song as they enter, or play one of their recordings
      • or maybe include a song or two in the ceremony.
    • Choose one or more of your favourite songs, print the words in the order of service and you’ve got yourself an instant choir.

Everyone Involved

You might have a bridal party, readers, ushers and others performing various roles but have you considered involving everyone so that your guests are not just interested on-lookers or a simple audience, but all actively involved in ceremony.

Options for including all, can be:

A Group Blessing everyone stands with raised arms facing the couple as words of blessing are said by the Celebrant, or by the group
A Group Expression Of Support the Celebrant asks simple questions of support that result in a group response of “We Do”.
Candle Lighting each holds  candle and a flame of ‘unity & blessing’ s passed from person to person so that all share in the same flame and love, whereupon the coupe light a single candle to honour all
Ring Warming the rings are handed from person to person with each guest saying a few words or simple holding the rings for a moment to ‘warm’ them with affection
Signing all sign or write messages to the couple and place them into a basket or vase as the coupe sign the marriage certificates.
Singing Nothing like a good singalong to get people in the mood. I a Church wedding they might sing hymns but at your ceremony, you could have all join in one of your favourite song and you could even have the lyrics projected, karaoke style onto a screen or wall.
Steps You may have heard of the 7 Steps used in Hindu Ceremonies where each of 7 steps taken by the couple are steps toward their future but you could stand at the centre of a circle and all your guests could hold hands take steps, or even dance, around you while making promises of love and support.

Fruit as Gifts

Historically, fruits was often presented to the newlyweds to encourage fertility.

This can even be included as an offering dunning the ceremony.

Foot Washing Ritual

This ritual goes back 2000 years and can be a powerful and very humbling symbol.

The Bride and/or Groom sit while the other kneels to gently removed the shoes of the partner and then wash and dry his/her feet.

When the first task is completed, the roles are reversed.

The Celebrant introduces the ritual in words similar to this:

Celebrant:           This ritual goes back 2000 years and can be a powerful and very humbling symbol.

<The Bride and/or Groom sit while the other kneels to gently remove the shoes of the partner and then wash and dry his/her feet.>

<When the first task is completed, the roles are reversed.>

Celebrant:           As their first act of service to one another, [Bride & Groom] have chosen to take in an ancient ritual that goes back to the time of Christ.

A foot-washing ceremony will symbolize their desire to serve each other throughout their marriage in an act of great humility.

This action is a depiction of the Love,  honour, care, respect and service, as was shown by  Christ for his disciples in John 13:1-17.

As (Bride & Groom) enter into this new and permanent phase of their relationship, this action is more than a symbol. It is a promise to always remain in a humble while lifting up the other, even at great cost to oneself.

It is a reminder to always love and to serve.


TOP OF THIS PAGE                                                                            HOME


Geek or Theme It!

  • If you and your groom love a certain pop culture icon, like Dr. Who, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter or Star Trek, incorporate aspects of that fandom into your wedding.
  • How cool would it be to say “I do” when accompanied by groomsmen wearing a Star Trek communicator pin and exclaiming, “Make it so!” or Hogwarts’ house colors and proclaiming, “Mischief managed!” .

You can create a more subdued theme ceremony around:

  • the flowers of the month or your birth month, or
  • a romantic movie or story
  • the meaning of your names,
  • a hobby, special interest or passions
  • a favourite TV show, book or genre

You may find more ideas and vendors at any of these links on my web-page:

Goose For A Bride (Korea)

According to Korean tradition, Grooms must give their new mother-in-law a wild goose or duck.

These monogamous animals represent the Groom’s pure intentions and loyalty to his Bride.

Ref: http://goliveitblog.com/experiences/10-wedding-traditions-around-the-world/

Great Escape – Hire a Car, Carriage or Motorbike

  • It doesn’t have to be a limousine.
  • You can take your first ride as newlyweds in any style that excites or inspires you.
  • Hire some cool transport to get you to the reception, such as a funky tuk-tuk, a Batmobile, a vintage camper van, horse and buggy, a big semi, hot-rod, FJ Holden etc..
  • You will find a list of Car, Carriage & Motorbike Hire vendors on another tab on this webpage.
  • Slide 1

Group Activity

The ceremony can even take place anywhere within Australian borders.

A group excursion or activity is a great way to bring all your friends together in your favourite activities and into the celebrations.

Adventurous couples might consider snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, ballooning, horse riding or maybe wine tastings or a cruise

Handfasting – see Tie The Knot

see Tie the knot – Handfasting. 

or download the Handfasting by Lou – 2019

Hand Tree

Using stamp pads or coloured paint, each guest stamps their hand print onto a tree shape on canvas or paper and can sign their names with an inspirational message.

An alternate is to have hand cut outs (you can use photos) and each guest simply writes their message to decorate a tree and tree sculpture

Hands Ceremony or Blessing

A Hands Ceremony explains the importance of the hands of the bride and groom while the bride and groom are simply facing each other while holding hands.

It is a symbol of the union that you are making, holding the hands of your best friend, promising to love you and to work together as you build your future together, giving you Strength,

Tenderness, support and encouragement and of course love.

A hand blessing, similar to that used for ‘Tying the Knot’ (see Handfasting by Lou – 2019can be used:

Celebrant says:

These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow and forever.

These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future.

These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other.

These are the hands that will hold you when fear, grief or sorrow fills your mind.

These are the hands that will wipe the tears of sorrow away from your eyes and caress the tears of joy upon your cheeks.

These are the hands that will help you to hold your family as one.

These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it.

These are the hands that, even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving the you same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.


TOP OF THIS PAGE                                                                            HOME


Jumping The Broom

There are varying stories of its origin but a common belief is that this is an African-American tradition with its roots in slavery times when slaves couldn’t marry.

Typically the family hold or places the broom on the ground, so that the bride and groom can jump over it together.

The safest method is for it to be on the floor/ground as raising the broom can be a trip hazard however some believe that the challenge presented by raising the broom represents the first challenge of the newly married couple and so symbolises their ability to face all challenges together.

The broom can then be used to decorate a place of honour in their home.

Kiss

Most couples love to have a ‘first kiss’ either after the vows or at the end of the ceremony when the announcement is made.

Some though are shy, not wishing public displays of affection and so if there is a kiss, it might just a peck on the cheek, however others seem to forget that there are guests watching.

It is important for your photographs that if you choose to kiss, that the kiss is long enough to enable your photographers to capture the wonderfully tender moment and so take your time.

Other options can also be fun:

  • invite everyone to have a kiss for inspiration
  • invite parents or grandparents to kiss as well
  • Maybe invite those who have been married longest

Language of love

Choose a special quote that can become your big-day motto and have it printed on your order of service, invites and tables settings.

Libation Ceremony

The libation ceremony is a ritual of pouring a liquid as an offering to a spirit, deity, ancestors, or the soul of a person recently deceased. and inviting them to attend.

The chosen liquid is poured onto soil and so if the wedding is outdoors, the liquid is poured directly onto the Earth but if indoors, a potted plant or plants may be used, and the liquid may be poured into the four cardinal directions i.e. North, South, East and West.

At a function such as a wedding reception, the ritual would usually occur when spirits were being served and might be accompanied by a prayer, but at the wedding ceremony itself, it would usually occur at the start to honour the ancestors, lost loved ones, a deity, or even the Earth.

Different liquids have different meaning and so couples may chose the liquid to signify a theme they want to convey during the ceremony.

Water essential in life symbolising new beginnings, purity and sanctity of life
spirits regarded as a strong elixir, and so protecting and strengthening  life
Wine A compromise or bridge between water and spirits invoking friendship between the seen and unseen worlds or creating a camaraderie

 

Similar rituals have existed for centuries all over the world, including in Rome, Africa, Egypt, Israel, Greece, Asia, and South America but are particularly significant in African societies such as the Yoruba and Igbo cultures to whom ancestors are especially important.

Ref: https://www.brides.com/libation-ceremony-5079929#:~:text=The%20libation%20ceremony%20is%20a,milestone%20moments%2C%20such%20as%20weddings.&text=She%20has%20officiated%20several%20weddings%20that%20featured%20a%20libations%20ceremony.

Location, Location, Location – Destination – make it fun

There are so many venues to choose from but you might like to broaden the possibilities. Consider historic homes, theme parks, farms & vineyards, licensed clubs such as Golf Clubs, Country Clubs, RSL Clubs, hotels, public parks, tourists sites, and holiday destinations can each be an excellent venue for your ceremony.

You could even consider your own back yard, or if it a registry style, perhaps even mine by the pool and garden.

I have a small list on on the Venues tab of my webpage

I’ll be adding extra locations from time to time. Click here for more information

 

Lucky Day

In Ancient Rome, people studied pig entrails to determine which day of the week was the luckiest to get married.

Memorial – see Remembering

see – Remembering. 

 Mother’s Rose Ceremony 

There are two options.

1/ Honour the Bride & Groom’s mothers or other family members during a wedding ceremony with a Rose Ceremony.

The Rose or Flower ceremony allows the bride and groom to show gratitude for the love, nurturing, example and guidance shown and bestowed upon them.

2/ Roses can be handed to the couple by the mothers as recognition of their acceptance of their new son or daughter-in-law into the family or by step children.


TOP OF THIS PAGE                                                                            HOME


Music – Wedding Songs

Music choices are often difficult and so I have tried to make it easier with a categorised list of Wedding Songs .

You will even find a list of talented, unique musicians at Helpful People

When choosing a song or music for the most exciting walk toward your future, be sure the tempo is just right for your procession, whether you walk, skip or dance, down the aisle;

and that the lyrics suit both your dreams and the occasion.

You might want something very traditional by like a Bridal Chorus, or something different like You Shook Me All Night Long, by AC-DC.

It is entirely your choice, your day.

  • TIP: Check the length of the song to make certain it will not be too long or too short.

Obstacles to Bride (China)

In this Chinese tradition, Bridesmaids give the Groom (and sometimes his Groomsmen) a hard time on the wedding day by putting him/them through a series of challenges to prove that he is worthy of the bride.

Following this, he must pay off the Bridesmaids with envelopes full of money.

Ref: http://goliveitblog.com/experiences/10-wedding-traditions-around-the-world/

Our Story/Your Story – A Couple’s Journey

When we meet, I’ll ask you many questions about ‘you’.

This is not just to unveil your likes, dislikes and character, to help me design your ceremony. It is importantly that but also more.

It is a lovely personal touch, to include a sweet, personal, entertaining, inspiring, funny, biography of you as a couple. All those amazing-but-true facts (and maybe so so true) about the two of you.

I’ll ask you to write it but will guide you and if you  have difficulty, I might even write it myself form the information you give me.

It helps to prepare you for marriage and to remind you of your personal  journey while highlighting to your  wedding party and guests, how important your ceremony is to you and also to them.

Petal Power

Most venues no longer allow confetti but some will allow the far more attractive rose petals but who will carry those in pockets and so you can set up a ‘petal bar’ or or have someone hand out small bags of petals on guest arrivals.

Each guest could write their name on a  petal to be dried and framed into a collage

Photo Board

Make up a framed photo collage of

  • the couple’s journey together or
  • the wedding days of all the special people in the couple’s life.
  • Baby photos of the wedding party

Photo Booth or Instagram Frame

Make or hire an Instagram frame or Photo booth and create a box of fun dress-up

each guest’s fun photo can be uploaded to a page that the child and family will be able to look back to remember the fun and love

Photo Signature Frame

  • frame a photo of the couple with a large enough border for people to write on it.
  • It becomes a beautiful reminder of the day.

Planting A Tree or Garden

  • Obviously this is best if held at your own home so that you can receive the benefit for years to come but some circumstances allow other locations:
    • guests help plant a tree and as they place dirt into the ground, they say a word/s expressing their wish for your future. (Native trees are usually best)
    • Guests & family can all plant a seed or a small plant making a colourful garden that will grow and evolve as a reminder of your special day.
    • the tree or plant can be placed into a pot for later transfer.
    • if the wedding is in a commercial or public garden or grounds, talk to the gardeners as the venue may allow and support a tree planting.

Poem – write a poem

Write poem for and the couple to be read at the ceremony.

Procession – How do you want to enter?

Consider what order you want to enter the Ceremony but maybe have some fun with it.

Sometime couples say they want to process the traditional; way, into a ceremony but just which tradition?

There is a sample chart below that show variations but you might just wish to create your own and new tradition or unique procession.

Wedding traditions are mostly based on western culture and a history that came down mostly from the UK and then Europe, India, China and the Middle East.

Prior to the Marriage Act 1961 in Australia, most weddings were performed in churches, and according to the World Christian Encyclopedia by Barrett, Kurian, Johnson (Oxford Univ Press, 2nd edition, 2001) there are over 33000 “Christian” denominations alone though the Australian government in 2022 recognises only around 134 of them, and each may have their own traditions.

So the tradition could come from anywhere in the world and be very different to what some might expect.

Generally, in most western cultures, the order may vary but most commonly:

  • One party and assistants walk in from the side and wait at the Ceremonial space with the Celebrant.
  • The other processes down the aisle behind a wedding party and is usually accompanied by a parent

There are of course, a great many more options.

To begin with, if there are stairs for example, it is a good idea that those wearing high heels, be accompanied, for safety and appearances (you probably don’t want twisted ankles or people stumbling down the stairs), and so couples might enter together.

I have listed a few different processional order traditions below to give you some ideas and have even included a diagrams, but it is really up to your imagination and own preferences:

  • Alternate Civil Ceremony order of entry
  • sample Civil Ceremony
  • Christian
  • Hindu
  • Jewish

Music is almost always included as it enhances the entrance and so each entry person entering could have a separate tune, or just have the one tune for all:

  1. Pre-recorded music
  2. Live orchestra, band or a solo musician
  3. All join in a song
  4. Guests hum, applaud, play tambourines, drums, ring bells etc

Alternate Civil Ceremony order of entry

  1. All the Wedding Party enters in procession either singularly or in pairs, to be followed by either or both of the persons to be married
  2. The Couple walk in together
  3. One or each of you walks in unaccompanied
  4. One or each of you is escorted by a family member/s, or another loved one
  5. One or each of you is escorted by both parents
  6. One or each of you is escorted by your own children
  7. One or each of you is escorted by a young family member
  8. One or each of you is carried to the podium e.g. on a plank or chair, in a wheelbarrow, on shoulders, or on a stretcher (this can be dictated by your professions)
  9. One or each of you ride in on a motorbike, horse, donkey, camel, GoKart or pony drawn cart
  10. You enter accompanied by a furry family member e.g. cat, dog, horse etc
  11. The ring bearer could lead the entrance in a remote-controlled electric car or on a small pony
  12. All the guests could form an archway with raised arms, swords, spears, musical instruments etc.
  13. Parents enter first, followed by others
  14. If there is a trapdoor, you could rise from the floor or be lowered from the ceiling

​Civil Ceremony Sample

  1. Celebrant
    • Can either enter via the aisle or wait at the front
  2. Groom
    • enters either from the side or, walks or dances down the aisle.
  3. Best Man
    • Follows the Groom
  4. Groomsmen
    • Follows the Best Man or accompanies the Bridesmaids
  5. Bridesmaids
    • according to position enter singularly, or
    • in pairs, or
    • with Groomsmen
  6. Maid/Matron of Honour
    • Enters alone
  7. Flower Girl(s) and/or Ring Bearer(s)
    • one after the other and then sit with parents
  8. Bride and/or the Bride’s Parents
    • The bride may be escorted by one or both parents or meet parents halfway.

Christian Wedding Processional Order

The bride’s family and guests sit on the left and the groom’s family and friends sit on the right, facing the altar.

  1. Bride’s Mother
    • The mother of the bride’s enters and sits on the first row.
  2. Groom
    1. arrives from the side of the venue
  3. Best Man
    • arrives from the side, or follows the Groomsmen, and takes position next to the groom,
  4. Groomsmen
    • either enter in a line from the side following the Best Man, or process down the aisle, ahead of the Best man, one by one.
  5. Bridesmaids
    • process individually up the aisle and take positions on the Bride’s side
  6. Maid/Matron of Honour
    • after having assisted the Bride into position to prepare to enter, the Maid/Matron of Honour processes to her position ready to assist the Bride in the ceremonial area.
  7. Flower Girl(s) and Ring Bearer(s)
  8. Father of the Bride escorts the Bride

Jewish Wedding Processional Order

The bride’s family and guests sit on the right and the groom’s family and friends sit on the left, facing the altar.

  1. Rabbi and/or Cantor
    • stand at the altar under the chuppah
  2. Grandparents of the Bride
    • walk down the aisle first to be seated on the front row, on the right.
  3. The Grandparents of the Groom
    • walk down the aisle first to be seated on the front row, on the left
  4. The Groomsmen
    • The groomsmen walk down the aisle in pairs according to their positions on the altar
  5. The Best Man
    • walks solo after the groomsmen and takes a position to the right-hand of the groom.
  6. The Groom
    • walk down the aisle accompanied by his parents, with his father on the left and his mother to the right.
  7. Bridesmaids
    • proceed in pairs according to position on the altar
  8. Maid/Matron of Honour
  9. enters via the aisle, alone to position.
  10. Ring Bearer(s)
  11. Flower Girl(s)
  12. Bride, escorted by her parents
    • father on the bride’s left arm and her mother on her right. Parents of both the bride and groom may stand under the chuppah with the couple if they wish.

Hindu Wedding Processional Order

  1. Groom, the Groom’s Family, and Friends
    • Enters on a white horse surrounded by family & friends who dance in celebration, to live music (in Baraat)Bride’s Family
      • The bride’s family who may feed the groom sweets and
      • exchange gifts or flower garlands with the groom’s parents.
      • They then proceed together to the Mandap, which is the traditional Hindu arch.
  2. The Bride & Bridal Party
        • The bride walks down the aisle with the rest of her family, wedding party, and friends who attempt to conceal her from the Groom.
        • upon reaching the Mandap, the Bride exchanges garlands with the groom
        • The couple, the parents of the bride, and the priest then sit under the mandap to begin the ceremony.

Quaich Or ‘Love Cup’ Ceremony (Scottish)

*Ref: https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/marriage/content/quaich-ceremony)
#Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quaich

See also

quaich /ˈkweɪx/, archaically quaigh or quoich, is an ancient two handled, Scottish drinking and its name derives from the Scottish Gaelic cuach (Scottish Gaelic pronunciation: [kʰuəx]) meaning a cup#.

While generally they have two short, projecting handles, they may have three or four, and whilst traditional made from wood, may be made from stone, brass, pewter, horn, or silver.

The Quaich, or ‘Love Cup’ ceremony is used by two families or clans, to celebrate a bond, with each leader partaking of the offered drink.*

At a wedding, traditionally the ritual involves the couple, each sipping from a Quaich which would usually be filled with scotch whisky (of course) but other drinks such as wine may be used in substitute, or even combined to symbolise the union of two into one.

The Quaich may also be used for the first toast as a couple, at the reception and may be engraved with the names of the couple along with the date of marriage.

Traditionally the Clan leaders would offer the cup after the signing and then pass it around but it is acceptable for one of the couple to drink first and pass the Quaich to the other before it is handed on the others, if you wish.

Sample Wording:

Sample 1 – Quaich Ritual (short)

Celebrant:                 To celebrate the marriage of (Party 1) and (Party 2).they are now going to share in the drinking from the Quaich.

The Quaich, a two handled loving cup, is an ancient Scottish tradition that seals the bond of two people, and marks the blending of two families. It symbolizes the love and trust implied by the bond, as the new couple shares the first drink of their marriage together.

Sample 2 – Quaich Ritual (short)

Celebrant:                The Quaich, a two handled loving cup, is an ancient Scottish tradition that seals the bond of two people, and marks the blending of two families.

It symbolizes the love and trust implied by this bond, as the new couple shares the first drink of their marriage together.

(Party 1) and (Party 2), it is now time to complete your bond.

<Couple each drink from the Quaich>

Sample 3 – Quaich Ritual (couple only)

Celebrant:                The Quaich, the Loving Cup, is symbolic of the pledges you have made to one another to share together the fullness of life.

As you drink from this cup, you acknowledge to one another that your lives, separate until this moment, have now become one.

<Celebrant hands the Loving Cup to Bride and Groom.> 

Celebrant:                 Now drink to the love you’ve shared in the past.

<The couple sip from the Loving Cup>

Celebrant:                 Drink to your love in the present, on this your wedding day.

<The Bride and Groom sip from the Loving Cup> 

Celebrant:                 And drink to your love in the future and forever more!

<The Bride and Groom sip from the Loving Cup and hand it back to the Celebrant> 

Celebrant:                 As you have shared the Quaich, so may you share your lives.

May you explore the mysteries of love and share in the reflection of love in one another’s souls. May you find life’s joys heightened, it’s bitterness sweetened, and all of life enriched by your love for each other

Sample 4 – Quaich Ritual (couple only with intro)

Celebrant:                (Party 1) and (Party 2) would now like to take this time to toast their new life together. It is a tradition in Scotland to toast friendship and love with a Quaich. This small pewter cup has two handles symbolizing love and partnership. <cup is handed to the couple>. As you both hold on to this cup, reflect on how your love for each other, makes you stronger. Your marriage today, is a partnership, which prepares you for the challenges, and triumphs life will bring you.

(Party 1) as you drink from this cup know that you have a (husband/wife/life partner) to have and to hold please take a drink from the Quaich.

<Party 1 drinks>

(Party 2) as you drink from this cup know that you have a (husband/wife/life partner) to love and to cherish, please take a drink from the Quaich.

<Party 2 drinks>

As you have shared from this cup you have promised to share all that the future may bring. And may the sweetness that life brings be all the sweeter because you have drunk from this Quaich together.

Sample 5 – Quaich Ritual (with Family)

Celebrant:                The Quaich which I am holding, is a traditional drinking cup unique to Scotland. Drinking from a Quaich was part of a long established tradition of hospitality.

(Party 1) and (Party 2) would like to continue with this tradition today.

As their first act together as a married couple, they are going to drink from this Quaich. In doing so they are symbolising their commitment to sharing everything in life and sealing the bond between them, whilst signifying the blending of their families.”

<Family member or a guest fills the Quaich with whisky, wine or other preferred drink.>

Family Member:  

Strike hands with me, the glasses brim,
The dew is on the heather.
For love is good and life is long,
And two are best together.

Bless the union of these two,
Eager for marriage, eager for love.
May they begin life together,
Live that life together
And come to the end together.

(Party 1) and (Party 2), it is now time to complete your bond.

<Celebrant steps forward and presents Quaich to (Party 1) and (Party 2) then to the wedding party.>

Sample 6 – Quaich Ritual (Scottish wording)

Celebrant:                 The years of your life together are like a cup of Whisky poured out for you to drink. This Loving Cup contains within it a Whisky that is sweet – symbolic of happiness, joy, hope, peace, love and delight. This same Whisky also has some bitter properties that are symbolic of life’s trials and tribulations. Together the sweet and the bitter represent “Love’s Journey” and all of the experiences that are a natural part of it. As you share the Whisky from this Loving Cup, so will you share all things in your life.

<Family Member/Friend pours drink into the Loving Cup and holds it up>

Celebrant:                 This cup of Whisky is symbolic of the cup of life. As you all share the preferred drink from the Loving Cup, you undertake to share all that the future may bring. All the sweetness life may hold for each of you will be the sweeter because you drink it together. Whatever challenges it may contain will be less difficult because you share them. Drink now from this cup, and acknowledge to one another that your lives have now become one

<Family Member/Friend hands the Loving Cup to the couple and says…….>

Family Member:   

May the best ye’ve ever seen
Be the worst ye’ll ever see
May a moose ne’er leave yer girnal
Wi’ a tear drap in his e’e
May ye aye keep hale an’ he’rty
Till ye’re auld eneuch tae dee
May ye aye be jist as happy
As we wish ye aye tae be
May the best you have ever seen
Be the worst you will ever see
May a mouse never leave your food chest
With a tear drop in his eye
May you always keep hale and hearty
Till you are old enough to die
May you always be just as happy
As we wish you always to be

<The couple sip from the Loving Cup and hand it back to the Celebrant.>

Celebrant:                 As you have shared the Whisky from this Loving Cup, so may you share your lives. May you explore life’s mysteries together and find life’s joys heightened, its bitterness sweetened, and all of life enriched by the love of family and friends.

Red String Of Fate & Red Goblet Ceremony

(also referred to as the Red Thread of Marriage),

To the Chinese, red is the colour of love, courage and good fortune.

There is is an East Asian belief originating from Chinese legend. Where the Gods tie an invisible red cord around the ankles of those that are destined to be lovers regardless of place, time, or circumstances, and though the cord may stretch or tangle, will never break. In Japanese and Korean cultures, it is thought to be tied around the little finger.

As they grow, the string gets shorter and brings them closer.

The red string of fate and red goblet ceremony share the legend in that when the string has finally brought them face to face and the couples have matured, they a sip from two goblets tied together by red string, symbolizing unity and blessings for shared good fortunes.

For a sample, download this Handfasting by Lou – 2019

Remembering

In spite of all the joy a wedding brings, it can also surface feelings of longing and loss for dear family members and friends who are now with us in spirit only.

  • There are many ways in which a Commemoration or Memorial can be included:
    • Put up a heartfelt dedication sign or photo display to one side or at the entrance.
    • Add a miniature photo charm or a piece of family heirloom jewellery to your bouquet to commemorate an absent loved one.
    • include a Candle lighting ritual (see Candle Lighting – Memorial Candle. )
    • a Libation Ceremony
    • Save a seat for them with a personal item, framed photo and/or wreath.
    • Sew a piece of material from Dad’s shirt into the underside of the dress.
    • Incorporate a piece of Grandma’s wedding dress into the boutonnière.
    • Wear a special pin, medal or other family heirloom as your ‘something borrowed.’
    • Attach a small memorial tag to the program
    • Keep loved ones close to your heart by wearing a locket on a chain or pinned to your suite
    • Carry something that once belonged to a close relative or friend.
    • have a Handfasting Ritual but use a tie or ribbon worn by your lost loved one

Ring Bearer

    • The cutest child, or the most loved child, you know, could be your ring bearer. The ring bearer could even wear a fun sign on their back such as “here comes the bride”
    • As a fun alternative, have a furry or feathered ring bearer, such as your well behaved dog or pet bird.

Ring Display & Blessing

A few words explaining the symbolism of the rings will always be said but there are some option around how the rings are presented:

    • Have them tied to a ring cushion is always popular, or
    • have your rings suspended on a ribbon in a clear box, or nestled on a bed of moss and daisies.
    • Pass the rings around; your family and friends can hold them briefly and silently share their good wishes, see Ring Warming below.
    • The Celebrant can say a few special & inspirational or spiritual words over the rings.

Ring Warming

Before the couple exchange rings, their wedding rings are handed from guest to guest with each holding the rings for a few moments, say 3-5 seconds, so as to:

  • warm them with affection (or just body heat)
  • say a few words of blessing or good wishes
  • kiss them as an expression of love

The ring can be tied together but for security and safety, it is probably best that the rings are contained in a bag and/or casing.

If there is a large gathering, the ‘ring warming’ can begin at the start of the ceremony but if there are small numbers, or just a limited number of special person such as immediate family or the bridal party, to be involved, then in can be done at any time or even during the Vows.

A reading relating to the rings or perhaps some mood music, can be played if the ritual is to stand alone.

In case you need me to spell it out further, this ritual is wonderful for so many reasons because;

your guests will love to have this chance to bless your rings and feel like they are giving you something of themselves.

it is a wonderful way to get a collective blessing from the human beings that you are closest too

it feels special to wear rings that have been blessed by your guests and you will remember that every time you look at your ring.

Ritual Candle

In some cultures , religions, and Naming Ceremonies, a candle is set alight.

This candle may have varying meaning depending on the ritual performed:

  • Unity of family
  • The coming of wisdom
  • The bringing of light
  • The coming of the Holy Spirit
  • Expulsion of evil

Following such a ritual, the candle may be retained by the child and used at significant  events through life, a wedding of course, being one them.


TOP OF THIS PAGE                                                                            HOME


Roses

A red rose is a symbol of love.

A simple exchange of roses can have a dramatic impact.

Samples are:

  • The bride and groom exchange roses.
  • The families then also exchange roses,
  • the bride and groom exchange roses with their families,
  • the bride and groom exchange roses, then present their mothers with the roses.
  • Any or all of the above

A single red rose has always meant “I love you” and in this ritual, the couple give each other a single red rose.

These can be handed to the couple by parents as a symbol of support & acceptance with the request that the couple make a special place in their home for the roses.

The Bride & Groom then hand each other the rose and later make a special & unique place for the roses in their home. In the years to come, when words might at times fail, the couple may place a new rose in this special place to say ‘I Love You”, or “I’m Sorry” or “I Forgive You”.

Rose Petal Blessing

Shower with rose petals. A rose petal blessing ceremony is a simple and beautiful addition.This usually includes important family members or friends and parents showering the couple in 4 different coloured rose petals. Each colour of the rose petals represent different qualities and aspiration such as innocence, friendships to come, tender love and compassion, and kindle the fire of love for life.

A beautiful blessing is shared with words representing the meanings of each of the colours of petals as they are showered over the child.

Sake Ceremony (Japan)

In the Japanese san-san-kudo tradition, the bride and groom each take three sips from three flat sake cups. The parents then do likewise to in a bonding of the families.

Ref: http://goliveitblog.com/experiences/10-wedding-traditions-around-the-world/

Sawing The Log (Germany) – Baumstamm sägen

After the wedding ceremony in Germany, the Bride and Groom have to use a two-person handsaw to cut a large log in half. This is believed to symbolise the ways in which they must work together in the future.

Ref: http://goliveitblog.com/experiences/10-wedding-traditions-around-the-world/

Scent-sational

Use a fragrance to set the mood, whether through

  • flowers,
  • dried herbs,
  • smouldering eucalyptus leaves
  • smouldering pine needles,
  • scented candles or
  • incense.

As a bonus, include a line on your Order of Service explaining which scent you’ve chosen and why.

    • TIP: Not a choice for people with allergies

Signature Bear

For guests to sign creating a permanent or playful memento of the day, and of guests who attended.

Smashing the Bell (Guatemala)

Following the wedding ceremony, all guests at weddings in Guatemala head to the Groom’s house, where there is a white ceramic bell filled with rice, flour and other grains hanging over the doorway.

These grains all represent abundance.

When the couple arrives, the mother of the groom will ceremoniously smash the bell, bringing good luck and prosperity to the newlyweds!

Ref: http://goliveitblog.com/experiences/10-wedding-traditions-around-the-world/

Smoking Ceremony (Indigineous)

This is one of the most significant ancient ceremonies in the culture of Australia’s First nation.

In a smoking ceremony, an Elder burns specific plants, usually eucalyptus leaves, to produce a fragrant smoke that is fanned over the couple and perhaps the guests.

The smoke is believed to ward of ill will and evil spirits and so offers cleansing and healing properties.

Once a smoking ceremony is performed, any past wrongs are forgiven and/or forgotten

If you wish this to take place, either ask the Celebrant to facilitate contact with an Elder, or contact the local Indigenous community.

Spitting on the Bride (Kenya)

In Kenya, as the newly married Bride and Groom leave the village, the father of the Bride spits on his daughter’s head and chest, so as not to jinx their good fortune!

Ref: http://goliveitblog.com/experiences/10-wedding-traditions-around-the-world/

Stamp It – Personalised Postage Stamps with A Photo of The couple

For sending out the invitations or thank you notes, and fro a keepsake.

https://auspost.com.au/parcels-mail/stamps/personalised-stamps

https://shop.auspost.com.au/stamp-and-coin-collectables/stamp-issues/love;pgid=Yr6GBBF5IfxSRp7hf.naARko0000R5yTUW3W;sid=MTIMK9F3ugc1K4hkqU0KyCalRuPu5gDR2EvsZSKT


TOP OF THIS PAGE                                                                            HOME


Stone Throwing Ceremony

This Australian wedding tradition of casting stones has its origin in the early settlers who could not afford wedding rings.

The bride and groom would instead each cast a stone into the river.

Without the river, none could survive and so the river is the bringer and giver of life but it can also be fraught with danger.

This ritual act embodies the belief that the couple will stay together forever, meeting all challenges and rewards as life ebbs and flows around them.

Style the Aisle

Roll out the carpet of any colour, perhaps a passionate red, stylish white, dramatic black or even hessian which has become popular!

An option of the create a floor covering that is printed with with pictures of s in the relationship or dreams of the future.

Line your aisle with decorative trees, stakes, balloons, ribbons, or flowers and maybe have members of your Wedding Party scatter rose petals along your path.

NB petals are not permitted in some gardens or venues.

TIP : if using candles to decorate the pathway, make certain nothing flammable can brush against them (don’t want a flaming bride).

Sweet things

In Greek culture, a bride would slip a sugar cube in her gloves to sweeten the marriage.

Tapping the shoe

This one was clearly thought up before feminism was even a thing. Shoes used to symbolise authority and possession, so the bride’s father would hand over one of her shoes to the groom, who then tapped her on the head (not hard we hope), to symbolise his role as her new, wait for it, master. We’re glad this one didn’t stick.

Thank you/Memento cards for guests

    • cards can be given out individually or with party favours, bomboniere or wedding souvenirs, or
    • can be mailed out a couple of weeks after the ceremony to thank your guests for giving of themselves in being part of the couple’s special day.
    • Hand-make cards always have a personal significance and can include a photo of the couple.

TOP OF THIS PAGE                                                                            HOME


Tie the knot – Handfasting

(see also The Red String Of Fate & Red Goblet Ceremony. )

There is a description and sample below but for a variety of samples, download my pdf,  Handfasting by Lou – 2019

After the legal bit, you could include a commitment rituals such as ‘handfasting’ which involves the celebrant joining your hands together with cord or ribbon, tied to symbolise unity and infinity.

Twine, coloured string, upholstery cord, rope, leather straps, silk ribbon, rope or anything you choose can be utilised.

Don’t worry, I’ll untie you, or cut the cord, in time for the reception!

This ritual is especially useful if a second ceremony is to be held elsewhere such as overseas, as the ribbon can be easily packed and the ribbon worn again, to connect the two ceremonies.  The ritual can even be repeated at anniversaries

Before rings, in many cultures, the hands of the bride and groom were tied together, to celebrate the marriage.

The Celtic ritual also involves a blessing of hands and the  binding of the couple with a secure knot, hence the term ‘tying of the knot’.

Similar rituals are also found in other cultures including Chinese (see Red String), American Indian,  and some Islander cultures but significantly in Hinduism where it is part of an ancient prayerful ritual and so  should only be performed by a Prasad, hence for Civil Ceremonies, we follow a form of the Celtic tradition.

The couples’ hands are joined together, usually holding hands so the wrists and pulses are touching, with a ribbon or symbolic material looped over the couples wrists and tied by the celebrant or a friend.

The couple express their love and commitment for one another and like the cord or ribbon, which has two individual ends, they are two individuals and so they become one, by the tying.

A handfasting ritual performed during a wedding ceremony, can take place instead of a ring exchange or following it.

In the Celtic tradition, it might take place before the ring exchange but that presents the obvious difficulties of managing a ring exchange and signing of marriage certificates with one hand tied and so it is best undertaken after the rings, as a part of the vows, or as a blessing after the signing.

The cord or ribbon can be lightly draped over and around joined hands, or can be secured with a firm & binding knot.

Different colours can be used to symbolise different aspects of life, promises, history, family or desires and when using ribbons, the different colours can be worn as an adornment by the bride & groom so the two ribbons from each, can be joined in the ceremony as a symbol of unity.

On completion of the blessing, the ribbon or cord can be removed with a reminder that the binding of hands and hearts will continue, or the cord can can be cut with flare (but with obvious care), symbolising the freedom and release demonstrating that the cord is no longer required, or so that the knot remains intact for later mounting & display as a constant reminder of the vows made. To remove the need for cutting,  two cords can be tied/ joined at only one end and so no cutting will be required.

Here is a Ceremony sample – ‘Tying The Knot’ with a single cord, but you will find more in the pdf  Handfasting by Lou – 2019

The couple are directed to face each other and to hold each other forearms (right hand to right hand, left hand to left hand), one across the other, forming a cross.

The cord is looped around and though the joined arms/hands and brought back to the top where a secure and obvious knot is tied.

Celebrant says:

This couple have chosen to honour the Celtic heritage with an ancient Irish wedding tradition symbolising the act of “tying the knot.”

These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow and forever.

These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future.

These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other.

These are the hands that will hold you when fear, grief or sorrow fills your mind.

 These are the hands that will wipe the tears of sorrow away from your eyes and caress the tears of joy upon your cheeks.

These are the hands that will help you to hold your family as one.

These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it.

These are the hands that, even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving the you same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.

At an appropriate time, the cord is cut (or detached from underneath) with the knot still intact and the cord is then placed into a ceremonial container or on display with the words:

This cord is cut  from your hands but the knot remains to bind your love and as a reminded of your vows given today and so this knot, this cord will continue to bind you.

Tossing The Garter

Long before tossing the bouquet was common, it was customary for the groom to toss the garter to the male guests, however because the men sometimes grew impatient and tried to take it off, it was eventually replaced by a bridal bouquet to be caught by the better-behaved female guests.

Tossing the Garter is still practiced by man but the current tradition is that the unmarried man who catches the garter, will the best next to marry, just as the unwed female who catches the bouquet will also be the next to marry and hence they should  connect.

Treasure Box, Time Capsule  or Wine Box

This will serve as a lasting reminder of the commitments made to one another. Lock it away or put it on public display, but reopen it years into your marriage.

    • Write secret heartfelt love letters, encapsulating your thoughts and feelings to each other, then place these into a box perhaps with a special bottle of wine.
    • During the ceremony, seal the chest, or if using a box, nail it shut. You can invite both sets of parents or closest of friends to help you hammer in the nails. Nails are more dramatic than screws
    • It can contain personal messages, cards, personal letters, gifts, coins, medals, crystals, newspapers or clippings, photos or small items of special significance.
    • It can be any item that will symbolise different positive wishes of love, peace, hope, learning or your wishes and dreams for the couple.
    • The capsule/box can be sealed and stored or even buried but if buried, make certain you map its location or have a plate marking it location and purpose lest it be forgotten or lost in time.
    • It can be prominently displayed as a constant reminder of the love shared on the special day.
    • See also “Wishing Well”

 


TOP OF THIS PAGE                                                                            HOME


Unity Rituals

Breaking Bread Ceremony

The bride and groom each break a piece of bread or cake, and then each eat or feed the other, that piece.

The bread/cake can also shared with family and friends so that each breaks off a piece or select persons, such as the mothers of the Bride & Groom, can distribute the pieces.

This not only symbolises their future as a family unit, but traditionally also expresses the wish that the couple should never go hungry and enjoy wealth and happiness

Candle/s Lighting

A prominent candle is lit from other candles and so unifying a flame, and in so doing, symbolises the unification of families, friends, two hearts, two loves or lives i.e. making two or more, into one.

If the ceremony is outdoors, the Unity Candle can be housed in a lantern or vase to protect it from the wind but if indoors can still be housed in a vase or lantern or be placed on a pedestal, to accentuate the flame. It can be the larger of other candles, or can be higher, central candle; just so long as it is prominent.

The first smaller candles or tapers may be lit by mothers or family members and handed to the couple who bring the flames together.

Another option is where all of the family or all guests are also given a candle each, and after the first candle is lit, the flame is passed along until all candles are alight, and then the bride and groom together light their unity candle to symbolise that it is the unity of not just family, but of friends who are supporting the couple in their marriage.

  • Once the Unity Candle is lit, the others may be extinguished to symbolise the couple’s lives are forever as one, or
  • Be left to surround the larger candle to show they remain individuals but are stronger and brighter together.

If you have a candle from earlier in life such as from your Baptism or Naming Ceremony, you may wish to use that for the occasion or you may wish to have a new ornamental candle personalised with your names and the date, as a keepsake from your wedding.

Celtic Oathing Stone

The couple place their hands on a stone during their vows to “set them in stone”.

They can hold a stone instead and other family members can be asked to either hold that stone or make a ‘vow’ in support of the marriage in a similar fashion either collectively or singularly.

Circling

The wedding ring is a circle that represents the unbroken or never ending commitment the Bride & groom have for each other.

This circle can be transposed to the family and/or guests encircling the Bride & Groom.

In Hindu religious ceremonies, the couple circle a fire seven times, sealing their bond while in Eastern European Orthodox religious ceremonies, the bride and groom circle the altar three times. In both instances these are the couple’s first steps together as husband and wife.

Family Medallion ceremony

    • A Family Medallion ceremony is a way to include children in the wedding ceremony.
    • The recognition of children offers an opportunity for your guests to bear witness not only to your vows as husband and wife but your family commitment as well.
    • This is a great way to build a bond between step-parents and step-children.

Garland Ceremony or Lei Ceremony

Common in India and in Polynesia, the bride and groom exchange garlands of flowers.

In Indian weddings, the ceremony is called varmala or jaimala and represents a proposal by the bride by her offer of the garland, and the acceptance by the groom by his offering.

It also represents their new unity, and a blessing by nature and so can also symbolise fertility.

In Hawaiian weddings, the bride and groom, and families, exchange leis, which represent the love and respect held for the other and the family unity.

Handfasting

Family members or love ones can take part in the Handfasting with each supplying or cutting a ribbon.

See Tie the knot – Handfasting. 

or download this pdf: Handfasting by Lou – 2019

Hand Tree

Using stamp pads or coloured paint, each family member, stamps their hand print onto a tree shape on canvas or paper and/or can sign their names with an inspirational message.

An alternate is to have hand cut outs (you can use photos) and each family member simply writes their message to decorate a tree.

An alternative is creating or using a tree sculpture.

Jigsaw

Using a symbolic image, or a family picture, have a jigsaw made (or make it yourself), and each family member can place a piece of the puzzle to make it a complete image.

Jumping The Broom

There are varying stories of its origin but a common belief is that this is an African-American tradition with its roots in slavery times when slaves couldn’t marry. Typically the family hold or places the broom on the ground, so that the bride and groom can jump over it together.

The safest method is for it to be on the floor/ground as raising the broom can be a trip hazard however some believe that the challenge presented by raising the broom represents the first challenge of the newly married couple and so symbolises their ability to face all challenges together.

The broom can then be used to decorate a place of honour in their home.

Lasso Ceremony

Similar in principle to the Garland ritual, a lasso, rope, rosary beads, or garland of orange flowers, is placed around the bride and groom’s shoulders, or necks or wrists, usually by the Celebrant but can be done by family members.

The encircling act symbolises unity bringing two into one.

Matrimonial Arras / Las Arras Matrimoniales

Matrimonial Arras / Las Arras Matrimoniales  is a tradition of wishing prosperity for the couple in their married life and is symbolic of their unity.

This custom developed from the tradition of giving an arrabon, a Greek word for “pledge,” and so a “dowry” that once represented the groom’s commitment and ability to care for the material needs of the marital home but in more recent times, represents unity, prosperity, wealth and sharing of all.

In Spanish and Latin American traditions, las arras is made up of either:-

  • thirteen gold coins, or
  • thirteen silver plated coins or token or
  • twelve gold and one platinum wedding arras coins.

Traditionally the coins often bear a depiction of Saint Rafael or San Rafael Arcangel and are presented in an ornate box, chest, basket or pouch but can be any gold or silver coin such as a $2 coin or a rare 50c piece.

Historically, the groom offered the coins to the bride but now couples will often exchange the gold or silver wedding arras back and forth as a symbol of their shared commitment to providing for their future by making promises such as:

“all that I have is yours, and all that you have is mine.” But  many will personalise their promises.

In modern times, as couples commonly each have an income, both parties to the marriage may offer the Arras as a symbol of their equal commitment to their shared future and so Arras are also referred to as unity coins. Moreso, if used in the very context of family unity.

Typically the Matrimonial Arras / Las Arras Matrimoniales occurs after the exchange of wedding rings.

The coins though could instead be handed to the couple by family members, loved ones, mentors, parents, grandparents, children etc. with each saying a word or sentence in support of the couple:

e.g.

  • welcome to the family
  • we are now family
  • we wish you great fortune
  • let’s share our home
  • popcorn is on me

In Spanish and Latin American traditions, the thirteen coins carry two meanings:

  • 12 of the coins represent Jesus’ 12 apostles and the importance of putting God first in their marriage.
  • 12 coins also represent the 12 months of the year and prosperity for the newlyweds as they combine finances.
  • The 13th coin can also  symbolise overabundance remind the couple that they should always try to give back to the less fortunate if they’re blessed with more than they need.

Rose Ceremony

A red rose is a symbol of love.

A simple exchange of roses can have a dramatic impact.

Samples are:

  • The bride and groom exchange roses.
  • The families then also exchange roses,
  • the bride and groom exchange roses with their families,
  • the bride and groom exchange roses, then present their mothers with the roses.
  • Any or all of the above

Rose petals

Family members and friends can write messages on rose petals and these can be placed into a jar and sealed, a vase for display, or used to form a picture, image or flower sculpture and so showing that the petals are all part of the one object.

Salt Ceremony

Originating in India weddings this ceremony involves the bride passing a handful of salt to her groom without spillage.

The Groom then passes it back to her and the exchange is repeated three times.

The Bride (and perhaps Groom) then performs the salt exchange with all the members of the groom’s family, symbolizing her blending in with her new family.

Sand Ritual

Many couples like to give their ceremony an added symbolism or significance.

A Sand Ceremony is especially significant if you grew up near, or met, on a beach but can symbolise your union and the blending of a mixed family.

Similar to the water ceremony, the wedding couple and other family members, each pour different coloured sand or crystal into a glass jar creating either a unique pattern or a completed blending, and so symbolising the merging of many parts into one beautiful blend or unique pattern.

It is particularly popular throughout the UK and in parts of Europe for blended families, and as a great way to involve the children and have them feel a part of the marriage ceremony and to be recognised as being an integral part of the new blended family.

Crystal or pebbles however can have more vibrant colours.

You and your partner, and maybe relatives, can take turns to pour coloured sand or crystals into a glass ‘unity’ bottle, jar, vase, glass ornament or hollowed photo frames.

Each colour represents aspects of the lives of the couple, and so as they fill the Unity Vase the meaning of each can be recited, or the couple may choose to exchange their vows while pouring..

The sand filled vase becomes a symbol of a new life together, never being able to be separated again.

Alternates are:

  • pour the sand onto wet paint or lacquer on a canvas and then seal with another layer of clear lacquer and a glass cover.
  • Have the glass melted and converted into a unique vase by a glassblower.

Example 1: sand ritual for a couple

Celebrant:         You see before you, beakers filled with sand (or crystal) of vibrant colour, each of which represents aspects of your separate lives, your friends, your families, passions, emotions, possessions and thoughts.

P1 & P2, please take a beaker and together, pour the contents into the larger and ornate vase.

As the sand/crystal from each individual beaker is blended, a new colour and pattern forms, symbolising  the joining of your separate lives, and all that entails, including friends and family, into a unique new design that forever will highlight  the beginning of your journey as a married couple.

Your marriage and this beautiful newly created design are alike.

Both are examples of what can be created when unique, elements are combined anew.

Singular they are wonderful and to be admired, but combined, create a greater and exquisiteness artwork. Cherish this artwork as you would your marriage, because both must be handled with care, must be displayed but protected from any harm so that it will always be a thing of beauty.

Example 2: sand ritual for a couple

 Celebrant:                the vows expressed today go beyond P1 & P2 because they are more than a new couple,  they are a greater family. I invite their children, to come forward.

P1:                               Thank you for sharing P2 with me.

I love P2 and as you are a part of P2, my love encompasses you.

I will always love P2, and you, with all of my heart.

I was not there when you took your first steps, but I promise that now I will love and support you in every step that you take in your life.

These beautiful, coloured grains of sand/glass are a symbol of my love and devotion to you both.

 

Spices

  • If you have a passion for cooking together in the kitchen, blend a unique spice mix as part of your unity ceremony.

Stone & Objects

Unity can be symbolised by the bringing together of any items to form a single new item.

There are some samples below but you need not be limited by these as any item/s such as petals, leaves, stones, coloured paper, string etc. can all be used to form a shape, decoration, picture or sculpture.

It can be as complex as a tetrahedron structure or as simple and colourful as a hand tree painting.

Thing of what has meaning to yourselves.

Treasure Box, Time Capsule  or Wine Box

This will serve as a lasting reminder of the commitments made to one another and of the wishes support, and hopes guest and family have for you.

They can each write a letter or notes that can be placed in the box or capsule.

Lock it away or put it on public display, but reopen it on every anniversary or at significant milestones in your marriage.

    • See also:
      • Wishing Well
      • Treasure Box, Time Capsule  or Wine Box

Tree or Garden planting

Obviously this is best if held at your own home so that you can receive the benefit for years to come but some circumstances allow other locations:

  • Family and/or friends can help plant a tree and as they place dirt into the ground, they say a word/s expressing their wish for your future. (Native trees are usually best)
  • Guests & family can all plant a seed or a small plant making a colourful garden that will grow and evolve as a reminder of your special day.
  • the tree or plant can be placed into a pot for later transfer.
  • if the wedding is in a commercial or public garden or grounds, talk to the gardeners as the venue may or may not allow a tree planting in the grounds.

Truce Bell

A bell has since ancient times, been used to expel ill will or demons, and to draw attention of an important act.

A bell can be rung on the wedding day, by the Celebrant, the couple, and/or family members to announce the union of joy.

The bell can later be placed on display in the centre of the martial home and when an argument of any kind arises,  a ringing of the ‘truce bell’, is a reminder of the happiness, hope and vows and so bringing and immediate end to any disagreement.

Unity Bowl

In this tradition, sometimes accredited to early Europeans in Australia, each guest is given a stone to hold during the ceremony.

To symbolise their presence and support of the couple, now and in the future, at the end of the Ceremony, guests place their stone in a bowl that the couple will keep and display.

Different colours can be assigned  to friends and family.

Messages and/or names can be written on the stones.

Unity Heart

The Unity Heart is a puzzle of two or more pieces of consecutively smaller size so that each piece fits neatly inside the other, or of two or more parts that slot together.

For couples, just two parts are sued but if for a family, the heart can be a jigsaw of any number of pieces. The names, date, and event can be printed on individual pieces if desired

The script will read something like this:

Celebrant:                The Unity Heart signifies the wedding covenant made between two individuals who truly love each other.

It is a lasting reminder of this day and the promises made and will be displayed in their home for all to see, reminding all of how two hearts, destined for each other, found each other, and now beat as one.

The outside of the heart signifies P1, and we see that it is empty because it is incomplete.

The inside of the heart signifies P2, but is also incomplete.

When P1 & P2 join their hearts, the two become one, stronger, greater than they were apart,  and they complete each other.

P1 & P2, please seal the Unity Heart symbolising your love.

This signifies you have trust in your heart and now beat as one.

For families, the insert can also be hollow so that additional pieces fit inside, and each family member will place their own piece.

An alternative is the heart can be in two parts, split vertically but for family, may be many parts.

Water Ceremony

The couple and family members each pour a different coloured water into a single container, creating a new colour.

Wine Ceremony

The bride and groom each take a carafe of wine and pour it into a single glass or chalice, which they then both drink from.

As a family unity ritual, the mothers of the bride and groom pour the wine and hand the  glass/chalice to the couple.

With a simple wipe for hygiene, other family members could also sip from the same cup.


TOP OF THIS PAGE                                                                            HOME


Venue – see Venues Tab

 Video Guest Book

All guests can be recorded on video, expressing their wishes or thoughts and the recording can be kept as a great memory of the occasion.

Vows

There are a couple of standard legal statements referred to as the minimum words (or vows) that must be made. The wording is set out below.

Beyond that you can personalise your vows and the entire ceremony for that matter, to define and announce your love.

If you want to create your own vows, you can, as long as the legal wording is included. There are lost of samples below.

Make certain you do write your words down and have the Celebrant check them to ensure the ceremony runs smoothly for you (and complies with the law).

  • GUIDELINES – SUBSECTION 45(2) – NON-RELIGIOUS (OR CIVIL) CEREMONIES
Subsection 45(2) of the Marriage Act sets out the minimum words (or vows) which must be used by the couple for a non-religious (civil) ceremony to be a marriage ceremony: Section 45 Form of ceremony

 

(2) Where a marriage is solemnised by or in the presence of an authorised celebrant, not being a minister of religion, it is sufficient if each of the parties says to the other, in the presence of the authorised celebrant and the witnesses, the words:

“I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, A.B. (or C.D.), take thee, C.D. (or A.B.), to be my lawful wedded wife (or husband, or spouse, or partner in marriage)”;

or words to that effect.

WHY IS USING THE MINIMUM VOW WORDING SO IMPORTANT?

The minimum vows set out in the Marriage Act are very important and not complying may give rise to concerns about the validity of a marriage. The safest course of action for authorised celebrants solemnising marriages is to avoid any such issues by complying with the guidance on the vows set out below.

While a couple is entitled to rely on the certificate issued by the relevant State or Territory BDM as evidence that the marriage was registered and that it was solemnised in accordance with the vows in section 45, that does not mean that non-compliance with the requirements for vows may not become an issue for a couple in individual cases.

While the married couple may gain reassurance from the BDM marriage certificate, serious consequences may follow for an authorised celebrant who has not followed the requirements.

CAN THE COUPLE PERSONALISE THE VOWS?

Couples may wish to personalise the minimum vows. However, it is important to be aware that legally there is limited capacity to change the legal vows. The safest course of action is to use the wording in the Marriage Act, but once that is achieved, other words can be added.

The following wording substitutions and changes are acceptable for the legal vows, given the inclusion of ‘words to that effect’ in subsection 45(2):

  • ‘call upon’ may be changed to ‘ask’
  • ‘persons’ may be changed to ‘people’
  • ‘thee’ may be changed to ‘you’
  • ‘husband’ or ‘wife’ may be changed to ‘spouse’
  • ‘persons here present’ may be changed to ‘everyone here’ or ‘everybody here’ or ‘everyone present here’ or ‘everybody present here’, or
  • the couple may leave out either ‘lawful’ or ‘wedded’, but not both.
  • The following changes to the minimum words are not acceptable:
  • ‘family and friends’ cannot replace ‘persons here present’ or ‘everyone here’, and
  • ‘partner’ cannot replace ‘husband’ or ‘wife’ or ‘spouse’.
  • As an example, the vows could read: ‘I ask everyone here to witness that I, A.B., take you, C.D., to be my wedded wife.’
  • Couples wishing to personalise their vows further are able to lengthen their vows by adding their chosen wording after saying the minimum words (so long as any material added does not contradict the minimum vows). In this sense, the minimum words are the starting point from which personalised vows can be constructed.

VOWS – SAMPLES

There are a couple of standard legal statements that must be made but beyond that you can personalise your vows and the entire ceremony for that matter, to define and announce your love.

Make certain you do write them down and have the Celebrant check them to ensure the ceremony runs smoothly for you (and complies with the law).

You can even include all guests by having the Celebrant asking questions of the family and/or guests such as, “will you all support this couple in their lives together?”

Legal wording

These are options for the words that MUST be said (Legal Vows):

  1. “I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, A.B. (or D.), take thee, C.D. (or A.B.), to be my lawful wedded wife (or husband, or spouse, or partner in marriage)”;
  2. “I call upon the people here present to witness that I, A.B. (or D.), take thee, C.D. (or A.B.), to be my lawful wedded wife (or husband, or spouse, or partner in marriage)”;
  3. “I call upon everyone here. to witness that I, A.B. (or D.), take you, C.D. (or A.B.), to be my lawful wedded wife (or husband, or spouse, or partner in marriage)”;
  4. “I ask everybody here to witness that I, A.B. (or D.), take you, C.D. (or A.B.), to be my lawful wedded wife (or husband, or spouse, or partner in marriage)”;
  5. “I ask everybody here to witness that I, A.B. (or D.), take you, C.D. (or A.B.), to be my wedded wife (or husband, or spouse, or partner in marriage)”;
  6. “I ask everybody here to witness that I, A.B. (or D.), take you, C.D. (or A.B.), to be my lawful wife (or husband, or spouse, or partner in marriage)”;

Civil Vows for the Ring Exchange

These are samples of what might be said at the ring exchange:

  1. I give you this ring as a symbol of my love. I can give nothing greater”
  2. “I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and faithfulness. As I place it on your finger, I commit my heart and soul to you. I ask you to wear this ring as a reminder of the vows we have spoken today, our wedding day.”
  3. “This ring is a token of my love. I marry you with this ring, with all that I have and all that I am.”
    (Response:) “I will forever wear this ring as a sign of my commitment and the desire of my heart.”
  4. “I give you this ring to wear with love and joy. As a ring has no end, neither shall my love for you. I choose you to be my (wife/husband/spouse) this day and forevermore.”
  5. “This ring I give to you as a token of my love and devotion to you. I pledge to you all that I am and all that I will ever be as your (husband/wife/spouse). With this ring, I gladly marry you and join my life to yours.”
  6. “I give this ring as my gift to you. Wear it and think of me and know that I love you.”
  7. “I give you this ring in God’s name, as a symbol of all that we have promised and all that we shall share.”
  8. “I give you this ring as a visible and constant symbol of my promise to be with you as long as I live.”
  9. “I give you this ring as a symbol of my love for you.
  10. Let it be a reminder that I am always by your side and that I will always be a faithful partner to you.”
  11. “I give you this ring as a symbol of my love, my faith in our strength together, and my covenant to learn and grow with you.”
  12. “Let this ring be a symbol of my promises to you and a reminder of my devotion to you. I am honoured to call you my (wife/husband/spouse).”
  13. “With this ring, I thee wed, and with it, I bestow upon thee all the treasures of my mind, heart, and hands.”
  14. “(Name), I give you this ring as a symbol of my love. As it encircles your finger, may it remind you always that you are surrounded by my enduring love.” (Response:) “I will wear it gladly. Whenever I look at it, I will remember this joyous day and the vows we’ve made.”
  15. “I have for you a golden ring. The most precious metal symbolizes that your love is the most precious element in my life. The ring has no beginning and no end, which symbolizes that the love between us will never cease. I place it on your finger as a visible sign of the vows which have made us husband and wife.”
  16. “Because this ring is perfectly symmetrical, it signifies the perfection of true love.
  17. As I place it on your finger, I give you all that I am and ever hope to be.”
    (Response:) “Because this ring has no end or beginning, it signifies the continuation of true love. As I place it on your finger, I give you all that I am and ever hope to be.”
  18. I (Groom) (Bride) affirm my love and ask you to share my life, endeavouring through kindness, understanding and trust to achieve our future happiness together, and I ask all present to witness that I take you (Bride) (Groom) as my wife (husband).
  19. I call upon everyone here, to witness that I (Bride) take you (Groom) to be my lawful wedded wife (husband). I intend to be faithful to you in thought, word and deed. I promise to respect you as an individual, loving and living with you through good fortune and adversity. I pledge these things to you while we both shall live.
  20. I (Groom) (Bride) take you (Bride) (Groom) just as you are. I ask that you be no one but yourself. I love what I know of you; I trust what I have yet to learn. I respect you and have faith that our love will endure through all our lives.
  21. I call upon these persons here present to witness that I (Groom) do take thee (Bride) to love and to cherish as my lawful wedded wife (husband). I intend to be faithful to you in thought, word and deed. I promise to respect you as an individual in your own right, I intend to grow and develop in partnership with you, to love and live with you through good fortune and adversity.
  22. I (Bride) (Groom) take you to be my wife (husband) from this day forward. I take you for your strengths and weaknesses. I will share with you the joys and the sorrows, the problems and the successes which we will encounter in our lives. I will love and cherish you and always be near when you need me.
  23. I call upon our family and friends present to witness that I (Bride) (Groom) take (Bride) (Groom) to be my wife (husband).
  24. (Bride) (Groom) I want to live with you just as you are. I choose you above all others to share my life openly with me. I want to love you for yourself in the hope that you will become all that can be. I promise to honour this pledge as long as life and faith endure.
  25. I (Bride) (Groom) take thee (Bride) (Groom) to be my wife (husband) to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part.
  26. Today, I (Groom) (Bride), join my life to yours, not merely as your husband/wife, but as your friend, your lover, your partner for life. Let me be the shoulder you lean on, the rock on which you rest. With you, (Bride) (Groom), I will walk my path from this day forward.
  27. From this day on, I (Bride) (Groom), choose you my beloved (Bride) (Groom),to be my wife/husband, to live with you and laugh with you; to stand by your side and sleep in your arms; to be joy to your heart and food to your soul; to bring out the best in you always; and, for you, to be the most that I can. To laugh with you in the good times; to struggle with you in the bad; to solace you when you are downhearted; to comfort you with my body; to mirror you with my soul; to share with you all my riches and honours; to enjoy with you as much as I can until we grow old, and still loving each other sweetly and gladly, until our lives shall come to the end.

Religious Vows for the Ring Ceremony

Certain religions have preferred statements and so I have included a few as a guide:

  • ·        Anglican

“(Name), I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow, and with all that I am and all that I have, I honour you, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

·        Baptist

“With this ring, I thee wed, and all my worldly goods I thee endow. In sickness and in health, in poverty or in wealth, till death do us part.”

·        Catholic

“In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, take and wear this ring as a sign of my love and faithfulness.”

·        Hindu

Traditions vary, particularly within different regions of India. Most Hindus exchange a necklace called a thaali or thirumangalyam in Southern India or called a mangalsutra in Northern India. You might say: “Praying the Almighty that I am blessed with a long life, I tie this knot around your neck. Oh! Sowbhagyavati, may Providence bestow on you a fulfilling life of a ‘Sumangali’ for a hundred years to come!”

·        Jewish

“Harey at mekuddeshet li b’taba’at zo k’dat Moshe v’Israel (Behold, thou art consecrated unto me with this ring according to the law of Moses and of Israel). ”

·        Lutheran

“I give you this ring as a sign of my love and faithfulness. Receive this ring as a token of wedded love and faith.”

·        Methodist

“I give you this ring as a sign of my vow, and with all that I am, and all that I have; I honour you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

·        Muslim

Rings are traditionally exchanged during the mangni, a betrothal ceremony, but not during the wedding itself.

·        Presbyterian

“This ring I give you, in token and pledge of our constant faith and abiding love.”

·        Protestant 

“I give you this ring as a symbol of my love; and with all that I am and all that I have, I honour you, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

·        Quaker

There is no traditional exchange of rings in a wedding of this denomination.

·        Unitarian

“With this ring, I wed you, and pledge you, my love, now and forever.”

Washing of Hands And Feet

A symbol of dedication and of service to each other, showing that you will always place your partners needs above your own and that the past is ‘washed away’.

Wine Ceremony

The bride and groom each take a carafe of wine and pour it into a single glass or chalice, which they then both drink from.

As a family unity ritual, the mothers of the bride and groom pour the wine and hand the  glass/chalice to the couple.

With a simple wipe for hygiene, other family members could also sip from the same cup.

Wishing Well & Cards

  • Write secret love letters to each other, then place these in a Wishing Well.
  • During the ceremony, perhaps at the ‘signing’ guests, starting with the parents, can place tributes or messages into the well
  • It can contain personal messages, cards, personal letters, gifts, coins, medals, crystals, newspapers or clippings, photos or small items of special significance.
  • It can be prominently displayed as a constant reminder of the love shared on the special day.
  • See also “Treasure Box or Time Capsule”

Wooden spoons

A wooden spoon was once given to brides in the expectation that they could be taught how to cook the best meals for their husbands.

Word up

Asking your nearest and dearest friends or family members to perform a reading and to recite a poem is the perfect way to include those you can’t fit in the main wedding party.

The Reading can set the theme of the Ceremony.

You will find some suggestions for all occasions on the Poetry and Readings Tab

OTHER IDEAS

AFCC-Wedding-Resource-Guide_


TOP OF THIS PAGE                                                                            HOME


This webpage and all of its contents were written for the purposes of copyright,  Created by Lou Szymkow,  for A Life Celebrant–Lou Szymkow, www.alifecelebrant.com.au,
© Copyright 2017; © Copyright 2018; © Copyright 2019; © Copyright 2020; © Copyright 2021; © Copyright 2022


A Life Celebrant
Civil, Marriage, Naming & Funeral Celebrant

Lou Szymkow – A Life Celebrant

The Celebrant of choice

Friendly, professional, reliable, helpful, approachable.

  • Civil, Marriage, Commitment, Naming & Funeral Celebrant
  • Commonwealth- Registered Marriage Celebrant
  • Manyana NSW. Australia – covering the Shoalhaven, South Coast to Sydney and out to Canberra & Goulburn

 +61 (0) 457 00 1922    lou@alifecelebrant.com.au

A celebrant for all special occasions in your journey of life.

Your Life Events: Weddings, Commitments; Naming Ceremonies; Funerals, Memorials & More

#ALifeCelebrant; #Anniversary; #AustralianCelebrant; #AustralianWedding; #Birthday; ##ALifeCelebrant; #Anniversary; #AustralianCelebrant; #AustralianWedding; #Birthday; #bride; #Burial; #Celebrant; #CelebrantStClair; #CivilCelebrant; #Commitment; #Congratulations; #Cremation; #dating; #Eulogy #FamilyCelebrant; #Funeral; #FuneralCelebrant;  #FuneralCelebrant; #FuneralHomes; #FuneralNotices; #Fun Wedding; #Grief; #IDo; #Kemps Creek Wedding; #lifecelebrations; #lifeevents; #Lifeunion; #Loss; #LouSzymkow; #LouTheCelebrant; #love; #LudwigSzymkow; #LudwigTheCelebrant; #marriagecelebrant; #MarriageEquality; #MusicforFunerals; #Naming; #NamingCeremony; #Naptuals; #NepeanCelebrant; #NepeanCelebrants; #relationship; #rings; #samesexmarriage; #StClairCelebrant; #SydneyCelebrant; #TheVow; #TheWeddingExpert; #Tietheknot; #Venues; #Vow; #Vows; #wedding; #Wedding; #WeddingCelebrant; #WeddingPlanner; #weddingQuestions, #WeddingSongs; #lou; #a life; #birth deaths and marriages; #births deaths marriages NSW; #celebrant; #celebrant funeral; #celebrant near me; #cheap reception venues; #crematorium; #NowraCelebrant; #Manyana Celebrant; #South Coast; #Sth Coast; #Ulladulla; #Milton; #Sussex Inlet; #Nowra; #Conjola; #Lake Conjola; #Beach Wedding; #BomaderryCelebrant; #Gerringong; #Kiama; #Canberra Celebrant; #Goulburn Celebrant; #Kangaroo Valley; #KangarooValleyCelebrant;#Celebrants Australia; #Marriage Celebrant Jervis Bay; #MarriageCelebrantNowra; # All Ceremonies Celebrant Services;  #The 10 Best Celebrants in Nowra, NSW; #Marry Me; #MC; #Master of Ceremonies; #Finding a Celebrant; #Finding a Marriage Celebrant; #Finding a Funeral Celebrant; #Finding a Naming Celebrant; #Baptism; #Christening; #Life Celebration; #Gerringong; #Kiama; #Canberra Celebrant; #Goulburn Celebrant; #Kangaroo Valley; #KangarooValleyCelebrant; #Best Celebrant; @Fun Celebrant; #Manyana Marriage; #Manyana Marriages, #South Coast Celebrant; #Manyana; Justice of the Peace; # Best Celebrants in Shoalhaven; #Best Celebrant; #write your own vows; #personalised vows; #TheWeddingExpert; #WeddingSongs; #MusicforFunerals;