Unity Ceremonies

Wedding Ceremonies are made up of several components which allow for a very personalized wedding.  One component, known as the unity ceremony can be used as described below, or customized to reflect the exact wording you prefer.  I offer various types of Unity Ceremonies, below are examples of ceremonies I’ve performed for other couples and can easily incorporate into your ceremony.

There are many types of Unity Ceremonies, so if you have something in mind that is not listed below, simply send it to me and I can incorporate it for you.  Some Unity Ceremonies come from Cultural Traditions, and I enjoy learning new cultural traditions and making them a part of your ceremony.  Ask family members or do some research to find a Unity Ceremony to honor your cultural traditions.

Most Unity Ceremonies add 1-3 minutes to the length of your ceremony, some couples have incorporated 2 or 3 Unity Ceremonies into their ceremony (especially if the couple incorporates children or parents into one of the ceremonies, then the couple may opt for a second unity ceremony that is just between the bride and groom).

PLEASE NOTE: It is the couple’s responsibility to provide the items needed for their chosen ceremony.

Here’s a sample of some of the Unity Ceremonies I’ve performed.  I have several others not listed and couples bring me new ones every year (Pintrest has numerous ideas)

  • Sand Unity Ceremony – A sand ceremony involves a symbolic blending of two different-colored sands into a single vessel. The meaning is clear: The blending of two different beings, the bride and the groom, into a single, inseparable unit that is their marriage — the joining of their lives. Hard as it would be to separate out those grains of sand, that’s how difficult it is to separate these two people.
  • Love Letter & Wine Box Ceremony – A wine box and love letter exchange is a romantic ceremony that will serve as a lasting reminder of the commitments made to one another. Heartfelt letters, encapsulating your thoughts and feelings, what made us fall in love with the other person, how we have grown since we’ve met, and what our hopes and dreams are for the future are locked away in a wine box to be revealed several years into your marriage.
  • Unity Cross Ceremony – The Unity Cross is a multi-piece sculpture that is assembled during your Wedding Ceremony representing how the -Two become One. The Groom places the outer Cross in the beautiful wood base representing man- Bold, Strong, the Defender of the Family yet how he is empty and incomplete without the woman. The Bride then places the more delicate cross inside of the Grooms cross representing Woman- Delicate, multi-faceted, taking care of all of the little things that completes the man, and the -Two become One. The Bride and Groom then use the 3 golden pegs to lock the union (cross) together in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit as the Minister exclaims that: What God has brought together let no man take apart.
  • Hand Blessing or Triple Braided Cord Unity Ceremony – Back in earlier years, the hands would be bound with whatever was available – vines, colorful cords, or scarf. Today we will use this cord to symbolize the binding, or promises.
  • Salt Covenant Unity Ceremony – A salt covenant refers to the act of combining individual grains of salt into one vessel during the wedding ceremony.  During ancient times, agreements and promises were sealed by a salt covenant.  Each person would take a pinch of salt from their pouch and place it in the pouch of the other.  This agreement could not be broken unless an individual could retrieve their own grains of salt.   It was a means of sealing a covenant or agreement between parties. Salt is essential to life; it heals; preserves; it enhances the attributes to food. Salt figures so prominently in this tradition because mankind has long considered salt to be a pure substance and representative of good luck. While there are no hard and fast rules for performing a salt covenant at a wedding ceremony, the traditional custom has a basic format.
  • Tree Planting Ceremony – Planting a tree to celebrate a marriage is an ancient tradition that is shared by numerous cultures around the world.  By planting a tree, it reminds us that you have to care for it and nurture it in order for it to grow and be strong enough to withstand all the elements, which is true in your marriage. With its strong roots, continual growth that requires nourishment and long lifespan, the wedding tree is a living testament to the love two people share.  Just as a tree’s entangled roots burrow beneath the earth, marriage is the intertwining of two souls, lives, dreams and families. When the roots of a relationship establish a firm foundation, the bond flourishes. Growing stronger as it evolves, a tree remains flexible yet manages to provide shelter in the face of storms. Planting a wedding sapling in your yard also signifies your desire to put down roots so that you can start your own family tree.
  • Unique Unity Ceremonies – Unity in Glass, Wine Ceremony Bamboo (tree planting), Rock Unity Ceremony, Mini Disc Golf, Small Wedding Party, Communion, Love Locks, Earth, Unity Heart, Hand Washing Ceremony, Branding Ceremony, Foot Washing Ceremony
  • Cultural Wedding Traditions – Many brides and grooms would love to marry in the tradition of their ancestors or at least introduce elements of a traditional wedding ceremony or reception from their cultural backgrounds.  Incorporating cultural wedding traditions and customs to a wedding is not only a fantastic way to share something personal with the guests but a nice tribute to the families.

Sand Unity Ceremonies

Sand symbolizes time. We were formed from the earth and when we die we return to dust. The Hawaiians have used sand in the marriage ceremony for years. Many of their weddings are performed on the beach. During the ceremony, the couple reaches down by their feet and scoop up sand in their hands. They combine the sand into a jar saying some words of their choice. The glass jar is then taken to their new home to symbolize the new union. Once the sand is poured together it can never be separated – the sand becomes one – as in marriage.

Sample Sand Ceremony #1

“Today, this relationship is symbolized through the pouring of these two individual containers of sand one, representing you BRIDE and all that you were, all that you are, and all that you will ever be, and the other representing you, GROOM, and all that you were and all that you are, and all that you will ever be. As these two containers of sand are poured into the third container, the individual containers of sand will no longer exist, but will be joined together as one. Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so will your marriage be.”

Sample Sand Ceremony #2

“OFFICIANT: Please note this empty glass. Glass, itself, is made from sand and the sands of time have come together, melting into one piece to make this vessel. The sands of time should remind us all of our eternal love and our mortality. Today BRIDE and GROOM have chosen to represent their love to each other in a special sand ceremony. Please BRIDE and GROOM, take your separate glass of sand and alternate the pouring of sand into this joining vessel and united, repeat after me: You are my love for eternity. I blend with you. My heart is like these grains of sands, merging with yours. I am yours. You are mine. We are together forever like the sand, like the wind. We are one.”

Sample Sand Ceremony #3

Minister: “(Bride) and (Groom), you have just sealed your relationship by the giving and receiving of rings and this covenant is a relationship pledge between two people who agree that they will commit themselves to one another throughout their lives. You are committing here today to share the rest of your lives with one another. Today, this relationship is symbolized through the pouring of these three individual containers of sand into a fourth one. One, representing you, (Bride), and all that you were, all that you are, and all that you will ever be. One representing you, (Groom), and all that you were and all that you are, and all that you will ever be. The third one represents Christ, all that He is and will forever be. As these three containers of sand are poured into the fourth container, the individual containers of sand continue to exist, but a fourth entity is also created; one which did not exist before but one which will forever more continue to be.

Just as the individual grains of sand can never again be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so your marriage will be.Minister pours the Christ layer. “This layer represents Christ who is and always will be the foundation of you both as individuals.”Minister: “(Bride), pour some of your sand which will represent you as an individual.””(Groom), pour some of your sand which will represent you as an individual.”Pour more of the Christ layer. “This layer represents Christ as the foundation of your marriage.” “(Bride) and (Groom), now pour your remaining sand into the container together to represent the joining of your two individual lives into this one union of marriage.” As the minister says the following wording, the couple alternately pours sand into the glass vessel to form a layered design with the sand. “________________ and _____________, today you join your separate lives together. The two separate vessels of sand symbolize your separate lives, separate families and separate sets of friends. They represent all that you have been as an individual. They also represent your lives before today. As these two vessels of sand are poured into the third vessel, the individual vessels of sand will no longer exist, but will be joined together as one. Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual vessels, so will your marriage be.”

If a Second marriage with children, you can have a fourth vessel with another colored sand. Let the children pour some sand in the bottom of the vessel first and then start alternating the couple pouring sand. What a great way to make the children apart of the new union. “Today, __________ and __________, you are making a commitment of your eternal commitment for one another as well as to your children, __________, ___________, etc. As you each hold your sand the separate vessels of sand represent your lives up to this moment; individual and unique. As you now combine your sand together, all your lives from this moment will become one family.

Sometimes you may want to have your parents to be a part of the ceremony – the joining of the two families: ____________ and _____________ you come here today from two different families. From these two families a new family will be created today. At this time, I would invite the parents of ____________ and ______________ to come forward. These two vessels of sand represent each family. Now the parents will take their sand and pour your sand into the unity vessel symbolizing the uniting of the two families into one.”

Personalization of your Unity Sand Vessels – The vessel the sand is poured into can have the couple’s first names engraved on it with the wedding date underneath. The pouring vessels can have his name on one and her name on the other. You will be able to enjoy your Unity Sand Set for years to come and bring back memories of that special day.

Using Colored Sands Today most couples use colored sands poured alternately into the vessel. This way you can see the sands coming together in a beautiful design.  In second marriages, the children can pour in sand that represents them in the marriage. One of the ceremonies listed above shows you how to do this in the ceremony. Please note: too many color sands in the vessel, start to look funky and make sure your color choices complement each other. Some couples use their favorite colors or colors that are used in the wedding. Many couples will dress up the vessel with a ribbon and have a special table set up off to the side just as the unity candle ceremony is done.  Doing the Sand Ceremony is one wonderful way to make your special day more symbolic of your union together.

Love Letter & Wine Box Ceremony 

Minister: _____ and _____ have chosen as a couple to perform a Love Letter & Wine Box ceremony. This box contains a bottle of wine, two glasses, and a love letter from each to the other. The letters describe the good qualities they find in one another, the reasons they fell in love, and their reasons for choosing to marry. The letters are sealed in individual envelopes and they have not seen what the other has written. You have created your very own “romantic” time capsule to be opened on your 5th wedding anniversary. I recommend that you keep the box in a place of honor prominently displayed in your home as a constant reminder of your commitment to each other.

Minister: _____ and _____ should you ever find your marriage enduring insurmountable hardships, you are to as a couple, open this box, sit and drink the wine together, then separate and read the letters you wrote to one another when you were united as a couple in marriage. By reading these love letters you will reflect upon the reasons you fell in love and chose to marry each other here today.The hope is, however, that you will never have a reason to open this box. And if this is the case, you are to open this box to share and enjoy on your 5th year wedding anniversary!

Minister: _____ and _____, you may now seal the box. NOTE: The minister drives the first nail, then the bride and groom nail the box shut. You can also have each member of your wedding party step up, drive in one nail to help nail the box shut.If you use a custom made wine box with two keys, the bride and groom each use a key and lock the box.Here is what you will need:

  • A wooden wine box or a custom-made Wine Box
  • A bottle of your favorite wine
  • Two love letters sealed in separate envelopes
  • A small hammer and a few nails (pre-drill the holes), or a custom-made Wine Box with two keys.

A few weeks before the wedding, take some time to each write a letter to one another, expressing your thoughts about the good qualities that you found in your future partner, the reasons for falling in love with them and your hopes and dreams for the future. In other words, you write a “love letter” to each other and place it in a sealed envelope, with the name of your partner on the outside. Do not read what the other has written. Both love letters are placed in the Wine Box.You can also include CDs of your favorite music, favorite pictures of you together, and other mementos making it your own romantic time capsule. Keep the box in a place of honor as a constant visual reminder of your love and commitment to each other. The box can be a life preserver in years to come.

The Wine Box should be opened on your 5th wedding anniversary.There is only one other reason the box should be opened before your anniversary. If there should come a time when you hit a bumpy road in your relationship, before you give up or make any irrational decisions, open the Wine Box. The hope is that there will never be a reason to have to open the box except on your anniversary! Hit a rough spot in your relationship? Sit down together, open the box, uncork the wine and unseal the envelopes that you wrote for one another before your wedding, go to separate rooms and quietly read the love letter.Even if you are not seeing eye-to-eye at that very moment, it will remind you of all the reasons you choose this person as your partner and all the things that helped shape the life they’ve created together. Never take your blessings of being together for granted.The romantic sentiments you wrote, the declaration of love, the clear thoughts about why you chose this person as your life partner will help put you back on even ground.

This is the perfect ritual to remind you of your wedding day and your intention to love and cherish each other in good times and bad for as long as you both shall live.Toward the end of your ceremony the Officiant will state the purpose of the “Love Letter & Wine Box Ceremony.” The Officiant will elaborate on the reasons for the sealed love letters, place the sealed envelopes in with the wine bottle and will speak about the exercise that you went through. It should be emphasized that the letters have not been read by the Officiant or by anyone else.The box will then be nailed shut. The Officiant begins with the first nail, followed by the Bride and Groom sealing the box shut. You can have each member of your wedding party step up and nail the box shut. If you use a custom-made Wine Box with two keys, the bride and groom each use a key and lock the box.

Whiskey Barrel Unity Ceremony Austin Wedding Officiant bride and groom

Un-aged Whiskey poured in unison into barrel.

Unity Cross Ceremony

Unity Cross Ceremony Sample # 1

At this time, _____ and _____ will assemble the Unity Cross, a beautiful sculpture they will display in their home to remind them of the covenant they are making today.

In Genesis chapter 1, we read that God created man in His own image. That means that He created man bold, strong, to be a leader, to be a protector of his wife and family.

(Holding the groom’s piece of the Unity Cross, Stephen says: )

The outer form of the Unity Cross represents the strength, leadership, and protection of the man. The book of Ephesians reminds husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church, totally and completely giving himself for her.

(At this time Stephen hands the piece to the groom and he places his cross onto the base.)

(Holding the bride’s piece of the cross, Stephen says: )

As well, Genesis (Genesis 2:20-23) tells us that the woman was taken from man. The bride’s piece of the Unity Cross represents the beauty and the many capabilities of the woman, designed with intricate, beautiful detail and is placed inside the protection of the groom’s cross, completing the sculpture and representing the Two Becoming One.

(At this time, Stephen hands the bride her piece of the cross and she places it into the center of the man’s cross.)

To complete this sculpture, representing the couple’s covenant, we are placing three pegs to hold it together. These pegs represent the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, showing God’s place in this covenant and the security and completeness that only our Heavenly Father can give.

(At this time the three pegs will be placed into the Unity Cross, completing the sculpture.)

The scriptures tell us that a three-stranded cord is not easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12). Matthew 19: 5-6 says, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So, they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.

Unity Cross Ceremony Sample # 2

The Bible gives us two foundational examples of marriage.

The first was when God made Adam in His image. (Groom places his cross in the base) Even though Adam was perfect in his being he was still incomplete. So God brought him Eve. (Bride inserts her cross). They were the perfect matched set: Incomplete without the other but truly ONE together.

The second picture we have is that of Christ and His Church. We are called as husbands and wives to reflect to each other the love that is shared between Christ and His Bride.

(Groom)- placing your “peg”:

Groom- “(Bride’s Name), I will love you with the same love Jesus has for His Church. I will unselfishly sacrifice for you so that you can be the best for both of us.”

(Bride)- placing your “peg”:

Bride- “(Groom’s Name), I will love you with the same love the Church is to have for Christ. I will willingly submit and give you respect as you lovingly lead our marriage.”

Stephen- placing peg:

“For this cause will a man leave his father and mother and be united to his wife so that they may become one. What God has joined together, let no one tear apart.”

Hand Blessing or Triple Braided Cord Unity Ceremony

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.Cord of three strandsEcclesiastes 4:9-12 (NLT)

In a Cord of Three Strands Ceremony, husband and wife weave or braid three separate cords into one. Two of the three strands represent their separate lives and the third strand, always gold, represents God. In this symbolic act, they are declaring that they are combining their lives into one and asking God to be intertwined into the center of their marriage.

What to Say and Do During the Cord of Three Strands Ceremony During the Statement of Marriage or Homily, have your minister or officiant explain a covenant and the symbolism of covenant in marriage. After taking your vows, the officiant can read from the Book of Ecclesiastes:“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (New Living Translation)

Next, the couple will weave a cord of three separate strands into one as a visible sign and reminder of the covenant you are making. If applicable, the color choices could be explained. As you braid the cord, have a song played or sung that is symbolic of you joining your lives together. Song Variations on the actual braiding process include the couple braiding the cord together while the base is held by the minister or on a shepherd’s hook or hanging overhead or the groom can hold the cord while the bride braids it.

After the ceremony, your Cord of Three Strands becomes a treasured keepsake. It is a tangible and visible reminder of your commitment to each other. It deserves a place of honor in your home. The Cord of Three Strands Covenant Keepsake Kit comes with a partially pre-assembled shadowbox for you to hang on your wall or place on a table or bookshelf. You simply insert the braided cord from your ceremony and an 8×10 picture. The kit contains archival quality materials to prevent fading and ensure that your treasured Covenant Keepsake lasts for a lifetime.

Hand Blessing Sample Ceremony #1

These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, for a lifetime of happiness.These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes: tears of sorrow and tears of joy.These are the hands that will comfort you in illness, and hold you when fear or grief racks your mind.These are the hands that will hold you tight as you struggle through difficult times.These are the hands that will give you support and encourage you to chase your dreams. Together, everything you wish for can be realized.

Prepare the cords Back in earlier years, the hands would be bound with whatever was available – vines, colorful cords, or scarf. Today we will use this cord to symbolize the binding, or promises.The first promise (binding) Groom, Will you be Bride’s faithful partner for life?  Yes Bride, will you be Groom’s faithful partner for life?  Yes*To Both*   Will you be each other’s constant friends and one true love?   Both answer: Yes And so the binding is made.  *The cord is wrapped around the couple’s wrist.*The second promise (binding)Bride, do you promise to love Groom without reservation?  Yes Groom, do you promise to love Bride without reservation?   Yes*To Both*   Will both of you stand by one another in sickness and in health, in plenty and in want?  Both answer: Yes,And so the binding is made.  *The cord is wrapped around the couple’s wrist.*The third promise (binding) Bride, will you stand together with Groom your times of joy and sorrow?   I will,Groom, will you stand together with Bride your times of joy and sorrow?   I will*To Both*   Will you share the burdens of each so that your spirits may grow in this union?   Both answer: Yes, we will And so the binding is made.  *The cord is wrapped around the couple’s wrist.* Bride The fourth promise (binding)Groom will you always to be open and honest with Bride, for as long as you both shall live?  Yes Bride, will you always to be open and honest with Groom,  for as long as you both shall live?  Yes*To Both*   Will you dream together to create new realities and hopes for this marriage?   Yes And so the binding is made.  *The cord is wrapped around the couple’s wrist.*The fifth promise (binding)Bride, Will you honor this man?   I will Groom, Will you honor this woman?   I will *To Both*  Will you both seek to cherish and strengthen that honor?   We will And so the binding is made.   *The cord is wrapped around the couple’s wrist.*Binding of all promises*Remove cord while saying:*The knots of this binding are not formed by these chords but instead by your vows. Either of you may drop the chords, for as always, you hold in your own hands the making or breaking of this union. *Once chord is removed, it is placed on altar*

Hand Blessing Sample Ceremony #2

“As this knot is tied, so are your lives now bound.  Woven into this cord, into its very fibers, are all the hopes of your friends and family, and of yourselves, for your new life together. With the entwining of this knot do I tie all the desires, dreams, love, and happiness wished here in this place to your lives for as long as love shall last. In the joining of hands and the fashion of a knot, so are your lives now bound, one to another. By this cord you are thus bound to your vow.  May this knot remain tied for as long as love shall last.May this cord draw your hands together in love, never to be used in anger. May the vows you have spoken never grow bitter in your mouths.Two entwined in love, bound by commitment and fear, sadness and joy, by hardship and victory, anger and reconciliation, all of which brings strength to this union. Hold tight to one another through both good times and bad, and watch as your strength grows.  Remember that it is not this physical cord, but what it represents, that keeps you together.”

Hand Blessing Sample Ceremony #3

Bride, take Groom’s hands palms up, so you may see the gift that they are to you: These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and vibrant with love, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as he promises to love you all the days of his life.

Now Groom, please take Bride’s hands, palms up, so you may see the gift that they are to you: These are the hands of your best friend, smooth, young, and carefree, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as she promises to love you all the days of her life.

Now, please join hands so that they may be fasted in the ways of old.  Your hands will form the eternity symbol, visually demonstrating that your love will always be present and will run between the two of you throughout the years.Remember then as your hands are fasted, these are not the ties that bind, but are rather cords that signify the uniting of two lives into one.

Your marriage also signifies the joining of two families.  I ask the Bride’s (family member name) & Groom’s (family member name) come to tie the fabric around Groom and Bride’s joined hands.[Cords are held aloft]The love already shared by your hearts has been strengthened by the vows you have taken.You will be bound by your love as you are bound by your clasped hands from now until the end of your days[As the following is recited, hands are wrapped]

These are the hands that will love you and cherish you through the years, for a lifetime of happiness.These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes: tears of sorrow and tears of joy.

These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as you build your future together.These are the hands that will hold you whenever illness, fear, or grief may find you.These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it.

These are the hands that will hold you tight as you struggle through difficult times. These are the hands that will give you support and encourage you to chase your dreams.

Together, everything you wish for can be realized. These are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours.[Binding is finished and cords are knotted]

Bless these hands that you see before you this day. May they always reach out with love, gentleness, and respect. May they build a loving relationship that lasts a lifetime.May they always be held by one another. If you follow these words and heed this sacred binding, your hands will heal, protect, shelter, and guide.

Now, you may remove the cords, but remember the knot as a lasting symbol of your binding and commitment[Cords are removed and stowed]

Photos Courtesy of Lori Blythe Photography

Salt Covenant Unity Ceremony

During ancient times, agreements and promises were sealed by a salt covenant.  Each person would take a pinch of salt from their pouch and place it in the pouch of the other. This agreement could not be broken unless an individual could retrieve their own grains of salt.  A Marriage Salt Covenant does the same thing by asking the bride and groom to combine their grains of salt.   Their commitment to each other cannot be broken unless they can each retrieve their own grains of salt. Since this is not possible it is a symbol of an unbreakable covenant and promise of love.“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matthew 19:5-6 Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings; add salt to all your offerings. Leviticus 2:13 It is an everlasting covenant of salt before the LORD for both you and your offspring. Numbers 18:19b (NIV) Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer every man. Colossians 4:6 Significance of Salt: Pure, Purifies, Protects, Heals, Preserves, Symbolizes Hospitality, Vital for Life and Health, Unifies, Loyalty, Enhances, Endures.

What to Say and Do During the Salt Covenant Ceremony:

The minister/officiant will explain the symbolism of salt (unifies, preserves, heals, purifies, loyalty, hospitality, protection, everlasting) and the salt covenant. After taking your vows, the officiant would have you pour the salt from each of your individual pouches/containers into one as a visible sign of the covenant you are making.As you exchange salt, have a song played or sung that is symbolic of you joining your lives together.After the minister reads the statement below, pour two containers of salt into a third, wide-mouthed, container simultaneously: _______________ and ______________, today you join your separate lives together. The two separate bottles of salt symbolize your separate lives, separate families and separate sets of friends. They represent all that you are and all that you’ll ever be as an individual. They also represent your lives before today. As these two containers of salt are poured into the third container, the individual containers of salt will no longer exist, but will be joined together as one. Just as these grains of salt can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so will your marriage be.

Tree Planting Unity Ceremony

Tree Planting Sample # 1

Groom and Bride will now take part in a Tree Planting Ceremony, to symbolize the roots of their relationship, and the continued growth of their love, as they become each other’s family today.  Love is the essence of human experience and emotion. It is the root of all and everything we, as humans, do. Love richens our experience, and fills our lives with meaning. It gives us a firm base from which to grow, to learn, and change.  Let your relationship and your love for each other be like this tree you plant today. Let it grow tall and strong. Let it stand tall during the harsh winds and rains and storms, and come through unscathed. Like a tree, your marriage must be resilient. It must weather the challenges of daily life and the passage of time. And just like the tree you are planting, marriage requires constant nurturing and nourishment.

Today, we celebrate the joining of the two families, the Groom family and the Wood family.  Groom and Bride, you come here today from two different families. From these two families a new family will be created today. At this time, I would invite the parents of Groom and Bride to come forward. These two vessels of soil represent each family. Now the parents will take the soil from their home and pour it into the unity vessel symbolizing the uniting of the two families into one.  Once the soil is poured together it can never be separated – the soil becomes one – as in marriage.  Now the soil from your parents will provide the foundation for your new family as you plant this tree.  The tree serves to demonstrate the growth of your relationship, a symbol of the living and ever growing bond between the two of you. Your marriage, like this tree, will require special care to reach its full potential.  After the ceremony, the couple plants the tree in at their home or a special location to symbolize the putting down of roots, longevity and strength in their marriage.

Tree Planting Sample # 2

Bride and Groom will now take part in a Unity Tree Planting Ceremony, to symbolize the roots of their relationship, and the continued growth of their love, as they become each other’s family today.  Bride and Groom, today you stand before us ready to share the rest of your lives together as a married couple. But long before today your parents provided you with a foundation of love and caring which has brought you to this point. We will start by adding dirt from Brides childhood home and dirt from Groom’s childhood home. This dirt symbolizes their individual families, it has been through their years of love and support, that have helped shaped who Bride and groom are today,… a man and a woman who are ready to be committed, in a loving marriage of their own…  (Bride and groom add dirt from childhood home-or perhaps the mother will add it-whatever you want)

Love is the essence of human experience and emotion. It is the root of all and everything we, as humans, do. Love enriches our experience, and fills our lives with meaning. It gives us a firm base from which to grow, to learn, and change.

Bride and Groom, would you please plant the sapling. [B&G plant the sapling.]

Let your relationship and your love for each other be like this tree you plant today. Let it grow tall and strong. Let it stand tall during the harsh winds and rains and storms, and come through unscathed. Like a tree, your marriage must be resilient. It must weather the challenges of daily life and the passage of time. And just like the tree you are planting, marriage requires constant

nurturing and nourishment.   Bride and Groom, would you please water the sapling. [B&G water the sapling.]  Remember to nourish each other, with words of encouragement, trust, and love.

This is needed on a daily basis so you each can grow and reach your fullest potential – just like this tree.

Tree Planting Sample # 3

Bride and Groom will now take part in a Unity Tree Planting Ceremony, to symbolize the roots of their relationship, and the continued growth of their love, as they become each other’s family today.   Love is the essence of human experience and emotion. It is the root of all and everything we, as humans, do. Love enriches our experience, and fills our lives

with meaning. It gives us a firm base from which to grow, to learn, and change.

Bride and groom together plant your tree ( As they plant their tree the Officiant will read)

Tree of Love By Sandra E. McBride – From the seed of this day, let their love grow as the tree grows.  Reaching down, to build strong roots, reaching out to provide Comfort and sustenance, Reaching up, to seek the grace of God.  Let their love grow, as the tree grows, deeper , wider, stronger with each passing year.

Tree Planting Sample # 4

On behalf of the bride and groom, I would like to thank each one of you for sharing this happiest of days with them. As French writer Marcel Proust said, “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”  You are the people who make the souls of Bride and Groom blossom. We want to acknowledge and thank all of you for your support and participation today.

Now Groom and Bride are going to plant a Live Oak sapling from the backyard of Bride’s family to symbolically represent the growth of their love.

In early America, live oaks were widely used to build planks in ships because of their remarkable resilience. The live oak of the USS Constitution repelled the shot of enemy gunfire so effectively that one of the sailors was heard to shout, “Huzzah! Her sides are made of iron!” The ship was given the nickname, Old Ironsides.  Like the planks on ships, marriage, too, must be resilient. It must weather the challenges of daily life and the passage of time.  And just like the tree that they are planting, marriage requires constant nurturing and nourishment. As they provide the sun, soil, and water for this tree, they will provide the encouragement, trust, and love needed on a daily basis to consciously nurture and nourish their connection to each other.

Unique Ceremonies

Unity Glass Ceremony

Unity in GlassUnity in Glass Ceremony 1:

Groom and Bride have chosen to commemorate their marriage through the celebration of a unity ceremony.  Unity in Glass is a contemporary, gorgeous, and lasting sculpture that will begin today as they become one in marriage. Today, you kick off the creative process of a beautiful and unique part of your ceremony.  Each piece of glass represents a separate moment that helped shape Groom and Bride into the unique individuals that they are today.

Today, they will combine the colored glass crystals into a common vessel. The blending of these individual crystals represents the individual characteristics that will complement each other and build a greater good, together. Just as the crystals of glass will be combined into a unified symbol of your commitment – so too, will be your life after marriage – beautiful, unified, complete, complementary, and forever.”  After Groom and Bride have combined their glass crystals, they will have them combined into a highly personalized work of art to remember their wedding day for a lifetime.

Unity Glass Ceremony 2:

Groom and bride, before each of you is a container of glass crystals, each represents your separate lives, your friends, your families. I will ask that you each pour the contents within your own vase into the middle vase together. As the glass from each individual vase is blended together it symbolizes the joining of your separate lives, friends and family, into one union, the beginning of your journey as husband and wife.  This combined glass will be taken by an artist and blown into a beautiful vase, never to be separated again, so may your marriage be.  Marriage and this beautiful vase are alike. Both are examples of what can happen when raw, unfinished elements come together. They can be two separate entities, fluid and independent of each other and can have an exquisiteness of their own, but join them together and the result can be stunning in its beauty, inspiring in its strength , humbling in its function. Continual flow….no beginning and no end.
As with your marriage…. this vase requires great care. Cherish it, polish it, protect it from any harm. Keep from it that which can break it, or chip away at it, and it will remain a thing of beauty. – By Lisa Cipriano:

Glass unity ceremony

Matt Montalvo Photography

Unity Glass Ceremony 3:

Groom and Bride have chosen colors of glass that represents each of them in a special and unique way.

Throughout their lives they have been two colorful, complete, amazing people all on their own – just like the glass. {Bride} is {attribute} as represented by {color/s} and {groom} is {attribute} as displayed in {color/s}. But today is special; today they become husband and wife and create a new, beautiful combination of their colors.

{Bride and Groom} are together creating a new life and mixing their personalities and characteristics into their marriage. Symbolically they are creating something unique to just the two of them in their wedding vows and marriage. After their unity glass ceremony today the colorfully mixed pieces of glass will be made into a one-of-a-kind glass sculpture as special as their love for each other. The pieces of their personality that complement each other will be reflected in the glass sculpture they can display in their home forever. This new sculpture will be a physical reminder of their beautiful personalities, love and commitment to each other coming together. – By Keighla Schmidt:

Unity Glass Ceremony 4:

From the first moment we’ve met, the stars in the heavens rejoiced, they danced and smiled as our hearts beat faster, and our affection and love for each other grew stronger. Today we take those moments, as countless and as bright as those stars that light up the firmament of a night sky, and we place them in this glass, remembering the beautiful romance that led to our ever growing love, which brought us to this day, the day when we’ll become one forever. May all these moments represented here by the dazzling colors, be sealed and protected in this glass, embraced for eternity just like our love for one another. – By Angela Neik:

Unity Glass Ceremony 5: Unlocked in the sands of time. Melted in the crucible of care and affection. Crafted by the artistry only love can provide. Together today, we celebrate something entirely new brought forth from something as old as time itself. Something incredibly strong, manifest in something fragile. Something timeless and beautiful, ablaze with the wonder of light. – By Grant Byington:

Unity Glass with Children:  “Today, Bride and Groom, have chosen to commemorate their marriage through the celebration of a unity ceremony.  Instead of a candle or sand, they have chosen a higher form of art to timelessly and beautifully represent their marriage. This ceremony symbolizes the inseparable union of Bride and Groom into a new, beautiful, and eternal marital relationship. They are also including Bride or Grooms children name and name in the ceremony. Because not only it is an inseparable relationship between the two of them, it is a bringing together of a family as a whole. Bride, Groom, child’s name and child’s name have each selected different colors of crushed glass crystals that represent aspects of each of them, individually.  Each shimmering and sparkling color of glass represents a unique and separate moment, decision, feeling or experience that helped shaped Bride and Groom into the beautiful and unique individuals that they are today.

Today they will combine the colored glass crystals into a common vessel. The blending of the these individual crystals representing those separate and independent individual characteristics that will beautifully complement each other and build a greater good, together.   Working with a highly skilled glass artisan, Bride. Groom, child’s name and child’s name are now taking the first step in collaboratively creating a beautiful work of art. It will magnificently and symbolically represent their merge into a loving and supportive marital union.

Bride & Groom, just as the crystals of glass soon will be fused together into a unified symbol of your commitment–so too, will be your life after marriage– beautiful, unified, complete, complimentary and forever.

Wine Ceremony

Wine Ceremony – Written by Chaplain JK Schwehm

A small amount of red wine and white wine in a small carafe is placed next to an empty carafe with a wineglass on a small table near the couple. The center carafe, called the “Marriage Carafe” is sometimes a bit larger than the two outside “individual” carafes. Alternatively there would be two carafes and one empty glass. If the individual carafes are carried in the Wedding Processional the Marriage Carafe or Wine Glass is already sitting on the table and only the two individual filled carafes are carried forth.

During the Wine Ceremony music can be played if desired.

The Wine Ceremony can be divided into two parts. The presenting of the two individual carafes filled with red and white wine to be placed on the table near the larger empty carafe during the processional. Then part two the pouring of the two separate wines into the empty carafe and drinking the combined wine by the wedding couple. Part two follows the exchange of vows. The ceremony can be one part with the wine already sitting on the table and the couple just combining the wines before drinking them.

Part One can take place during the Wedding Processional with one of the attendants on both sides carrying the red or white carafe and placing it on the table. Or a bit earlier the parents of the couples come forward with a bottle of wine and fill the smaller carafes already on the table just before they are seated and then the wedding processional starts.

Ceremony:

After the vows the Officiant announces “We Now Shall Perform the Wine Ceremony” The couple goes to the table and each takes the individual carafe and pours some wine into the larger carafe. The groom then takes the larger filled carafe with the combined wine and pours some in a glass for the bride. The bride then takes the Larger Carafe with the combined wines and pours some into a glass for the Groom. He may now toast his bride with, “Now Our Lives Are One” and drinks from the glass she responds the same.

They place the wineglass back and face back to the officiant. Who states.

“This Ceremony represents the two individual lives are now combined like the two wines into one single life. The drinking of the combined wine signifies the commitment you now make to live your lives as one family. May you remember this day of commitment you have sealed with drinking of the new wine joining your lives as one.”

He may also announce that immediately after the service others may drink the new wine of their commitment to one life if they so desire. Or Rose wine served at the reception to mark this ceremony.

Personalized wine glasses and labels are sold at this link Wine Glasses. Those items make the Wine Ceremony more personal. The labels are easy to paste over existing wine labels.

Bamboo Ceremony

wedding Unity Bamboo Ceremony

Bamboo Ceremony in Austin Texas

A bamboo ceremony serves to demonstrate the growth of a relationship, a symbol of the living and ever growing bond between two. The bamboo will grow side-by-side with its mate above ground, exposed to all of the elements.

“As we wish to celebrate this day in both words and gestures, a bamboo ceremony serves to demonstrate the growth of a relationship, a symbol of the living and ever growing bond between two. The bamboo will grow side by side with its mate above ground, exposed to all of the elements. Flourishing in the sunny and warm days, but also enduring the cloudy and cold days of life. This is the beautiful life for all to witness. Below, the other side of life exists. The roots that started side by side now grow and intertwine, bonding beyond separation. They remain regardless of the elements above. This is the beautiful life no one can see. Even though unseen, the health of the roots is broadcast above for all to know the union is well.PLANTER IS PRESENTED, Groom and Bride EACH PLACE A PIECE OF GROWING BAMBOO (LUCKY BAMBOO) INTO PREPARED HOLES. The growth of all things requires the love and grace of God. May He bless Groom and Bride as they grow together.” Written by John Chaille.

Foot Washing Ceremony

At this time Groom and Bride will celebrate a special foot washing ceremony, the action is a depiction of the love and honor Christ showed for his disciples when he washed their feet, and it’s a beautiful symbolism of humility and submission.

As Groom and Bride take time washing each other’s feet, I’d like to share some of the things this act should remind us.

Washing your wife’s / husband’s feet:

  • Says I love you.
  • Shows that you honor and respect your spouse.
  • Demonstrates a humility of heart and character, kneeling before your spouse.
  • Communicates “I will be here for you through the muck and mud of life”.
  • Places you in a position of prayer (on your knees) a great place to be in marriage.

Having your feet washed:

  • Says you are loved
  • Shows you can receive your spouses support, and won’t “go it alone”
  • Communicates, “I will let you help me”
  • Places you in a position of power, which we need to remember we hold, so we don’t abuse it!

Branding Ceremony

Today, groom and bride are starting a new tradition. As a sign of their love for each other, the intertwining of their lives, and the fire that burns within their souls for each other, they will brand this piece of wood. This brand will be on permanent display in their home to show their devotion to each other today, tomorrow and the rest of their lives. To help them find their way back home, if ever lost in the turbulent storms of life. To remind them of the love and support that each of you have given them today and that you continue to give each and every day. As this brand cannot be undone, so shall their promise to each other stand the test of time. (Will have the branding iron close by)

Rock Unity Ceremony

The Rock Ceremony is a beautiful unity ceremony that includes everyone who attends the couple’s wedding. Although small  polished stones are usually used, the couple may choose to use any other token they desire… seashells, glass or crystal, flowers, etc. As you will see below, the guests make a wish for the couple’s happiness and then the tokens are collected into a single container, each rock representing a wish and an individual present at the couple’s wedding. Some couples even have small markers for each guest so they may write their name on the rock. Then, the couple can save the tokens in a nice container as a keep-sake. Also, some couples combine the elements of other unity ceremonies (such as the Sand Ceremony) and pour sand or water over the collected tokens. The many variations of this ceremony are only limited by the couple’s imagination.

Each guest has been given a small polished stone upon arriving.Before you met, your lives were on different paths with different destinations. But love has brought you together and joined these separate paths into one. Each one of your friends and family here today have been given a small polished stone that represents their unique individuality and their presence at your wedding today. You also each have a stone of your own that symbolizes your previous separate lives, separate sets of friends, separate families and the different life’s journeys you once traveled.I will now ask that everyone please take out the stone you have been given and pause to make a wish or blessing for happiness and good will for the couple for the future of their marriage. Everyone pauses to make their wish. Now, we will collect the stones and the couple will then add their individual stones to the container as well.The couple adds their stones to the container. With the combining of these stones, you have now symbolically joined your once separate lives. As the stones have been combined with love into one container, so now are your friends and family joined, through you, into one. And your once solitary life’s paths are also now one. All that was once separate is now shared, and in this sharing you both will find new strength and joy as together you forge a new life’s path and destination.

Mini Disc Golf Basket Combination Unity ceremony/Vows

Pecan Springs Ranch Wedding Venue Unity Ceremony Stephen says: These discs represent the vows and commitment to this marriage. Compromise, common ground and teamwork make the dream work. Officiant reads vows and couple will respond with “with conviction, we do”. By Oliver Barron

  1. Do you promise to remain faithful by each other’s side through health and hardship alike?

Couple responds: “with conviction, we do” and together place disc into basket.

  1. Do you promise to always serve as each other’s best friend and lover no matter how many kids you have?

Couple responds” “With conviction, we do” and together place disc into basket.

  1. Unity Ceremony Disc Golf Oliver & Sandy Pecan Springs 12-31-15Do you promise to share in each other’s highs and lows through listening and encouragement especially when your students or their parents give you a rough time?

Couple responds” “With conviction, we do” and together place disc into basket.

  1. Do you promise to continue to seek balance through your time together in nature, especially in the mountains and at the beach?

Couple responds” “With conviction, we do” and together place disc into basket.

Small Wedding Party Unity Ceremony

We would now like everyone to form a circle/semi-circle around groom and bride. Groom and Bride since your lives have crossed in this life, you have formed an eternal and sacred bond. As you enter this state of matrimony, you should strive to make real the ideals that to you, give meaning to this ceremony and to the institution of marriage.

With full awareness, know that within this circle you are not only declaring your intent to be bound together before your family and friends, but you speak that intent also to God.  The promises made today and the ties that are bound here greatly strengthen your union and will cross the years and lives of each soul’s growth.

Option to move to a closing blessing and pronouncement.

Communion Ceremony

Making Communion their very first act as a married couple.  (Option to have music playing softly). This will be shared in a lower voice, just between the groom/bride and myself.  If I have lapel mic, I will mute it, or make sure the DJ has muted it.

You will now partake of communion to show your connection and promise to GOD and each other.  When observing Communion we take time to examine ourselves: A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 1 Corinthians 11:28. Please take a moment of prayer for yourselves.  I will pause for a few seconds and allow you time to reflect and pray before I continue.

In observing Communion we are remembering Christ and all that He has done for us in his life, death and resurrection: Matthew 26:26-28.

I will hand each of you a wafer.  As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take and eat it; this is My body.”  Now each of you partake of the bread.

I will hand you each your grape juice/wine and you each drink.  Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks, He gave it to them and said, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood that establishes the covenant; it is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Stephen will take a step back and allow the two of you time to conclude by joining hands or holding one another and having a word of prayer/thanksgiving together before returning for the next part of the ceremony.

Love Locks Tree of Life Unity Ceremony

– At this time, if Groom’s parents and Bride’s parents will come up to join us for this special ceremony.

Parents you are the foundation of their beginning until now; as you lock onto the roots of the Tree of Life it represents strength and support (parent’s place their LoveLocks). The message you have engraved on your LoveLock is the commitment and joy you have shared with them and the blessings they have been to your lives.

Groom and Bride, today you join your separate lives together.  The LoveLock you hold is a symbol of your commitment to one another.  The message written upon your LoveLock is the promise of love, acceptance and unity.  The LoveLocks Tree of Life represents all that you are and all that you’ll ever be as individuals and part of your union together.

As you lock you LoveLock to the LoveLocks Tree of Life, remember the reason you have come here today. Your LoveLock locks ONE time ONLY.  There is no key, which symbolizes your commitment to each other for eternity.  You love is locked forever.

As your life unfolds in its many directions, the branches will bear its celebrations of life to come. Today you connect two hearts together…your love will be forever.

Earth Unity Ceremony

“Groom and Bride have chosen to include a special element in their ceremony today that involves their family – the people that they hold most dear, and the people who have shown them how to be a loving and supportive partners.  I would now like to invite the parents, grandparents, and siblings to come forward.”  (To the family members) “Each of you have been asked to bring a small amount of earth which was lovingly taken from your own home filled with love and hope. And today it is hoped that as each of you place your earth into this plant pot, it will retain that love.”

Once the pot is full Groom and Bride will plant the seedling that sits beside it, ready to grow and be nourished by the love of all of you.  (Once they’ve finished).  “Groom and Bride – your pot has now been filled with the love, hope and best wishes of all of your family. It has been taken from their own lives, their own homes and now given to you to be the base of your future life together. As you now plant the seedling, let its growth and beauty be a constant reminder of the blending of your two lives and families and the love and support that they have for you as they watch you grow together.”

Unity Heart Ceremony

Brides Mother will have the inside of the heart. Grooms mother will have the frame of the heart. Ball: “represents friend and family both present and not present for their love and support will aid in their success as a couple”.

Moms bring up the heart pieces and give to their children.  At this time, Groom and Bride will assemble the Unity Heart, a beautiful sculpture they will display in their home to remind them of the covenant they are making today.

The outer form of the Unity Heart represents the strength, leadership, and protection of Groom (places that piece in the form).

Bride’s piece of the Unity Heart represents the beauty and the many capabilities of the woman, designed with intricate, beautiful detail and is placed inside the protection of Grooms heart; completing the sculpture and representing their two hearts becoming one (place that piece in the form).

To complete this sculpture the “center piece” will be placed and represents friend and family both present and not present, whose love and support will aid in their success as a couple. They are no longer two but one flesh, and let nothing separate them.

Hand Washing Ceremony

Groom and Bride have chosen to celebrate a special Unity Ceremony today; this is known as a Hand Washing ceremony.  To begin, I’d like to ask a blessing: Hand in hand, we come before you O Lord. As we step out in faith, we ask You to take this couple into Your hands. Help them, O Lord, to keep firm in the commitments they are making.  Guide them as they become a family, as they each change through the years. And Lord, help us all to be Your hands if there be need. Strengthen all of our commitments, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

  • Groom and Bride, today, in front of your family and friends, you start this next chapter of your life together. As with any new endeavor, it is best to start with a clean slate – putting problems big and small behind you.
  • You come, acknowledging that your spouse is not perfect, yet fits with you in a way no other person can. Whatever difficulties you may have experienced, today you have decided that your love is bigger than any of them and you have chosen to renew your commitment to each other.
  • Water brings forgiveness and we all need forgiveness. We need to forgive others and we need to forgive ourselves. As you wash your hands in this bowl of water, forgive yourself and each other for any pain in the past. Allow yourself to be forgiven for your human imperfections.
  • Groom, Bride please wash your hands in the water together
  • Allowing yourselves to have your hands dried by each other signifies your vulnerability. And we have to be vulnerable — it breaks through isolation and in our own vulnerability, we become more caring and understanding of our mate. In a loving and compassionate marriage, to achieve the greatest intimacy, you must have the courage to be open and vulnerable to each other.
  • The couple each dries the other’s hands
  • Groom and Bride, do you begin this new chapter of your lives together with grace and compassion?
  • (“We do”)
  • Then let us now move to the portion of your ceremony where you will state your vows to one another.

Cultural Wedding Traditions

Jewish Custom Breaking the Glass

We conclude the ceremony with a tradition of breaking the glass.  Some say the breaking of the glass symbolizes the last time you Groom will put your foot down, but I’ve been told that ended when Bride captured your heart. J This symbolizes the breaking down of barriers between Bride & Groom, and their different cultures, becoming unified as one in marriage.  As this glass shatters, so may your marriage never break.

As Groom breaks the glass, I invite everyone to shout, “Mazel Tov” which means “Congratulations and Good Luck!”  Now, for you Groom, it is very bad luck to step on my hand (bad luck for me), so allow me to remove my hand before you step on the glass.

Groom breaks a glass, crushing it with his right foot, and the guests shout Mazel Tov or Congratulations.

Greek Custom Breaking the Glass

There have been many stories explaining the breaking of the glass. It has long been customary to break glasses at Greek weddings to express kefi. Kefi is a hard-to-translate word which has been described by various Greeks as meaning the spirit of joy, passion, enthusiasm, high spirits, or frenzy. The custom of breaking the glass is considered an expression of kefi, when the soul and body are overwhelmed with an exuberance that must find an outlet.

For those of us here today, it serves to remind us of several very important aspects of a marriage. Bride and Groom and everyone should consider these marriage vows as an irrevocable act, just as permanent and final as the breaking of this glass is unchangeable.

The shattered glass also reminds us how fragile life and love can be. That sometimes a single thoughtless act, breach of trust, or marital misstep can damage a marriage in ways that are very difficult to undo, just as it would be difficult to undo the breaking of the glass.

It serves as a reminder of the sanctity of marriage, and that the love of Bride and Groom should last for as long as it would take to make the glass perfectly whole again. It also symbolizes the transforming experience that marriage creates, leaving Bride and Groom forever changed.

In a moment, Groom will break the glass signifying the end of the ceremony and the time for celebration.

Officiant places covered glass on the ground & and after the couple is declared to be wife and husband, and Groom kisses Bride, Groom steps on the glass with his right foot.

Lasso Ceremony – Hispanic and Filipino Tradition

Sample 1 for Lasso: Groom and Bride have chosen to incorporate the Lasso ritual into their wedding ceremony today. The Lasso is a wedding ritual in which the couple is bound together with a ceremonial rosary (or cloth you choose to use). Lassoing is a declaration of intent, where Groom and Bride clearly state that they are marrying of their own free will.

Groom and Bride since your lives have crossed in this life, you have formed an eternal and sacred bond. As you enter this state of matrimony, you should strive to make real the ideals that to you, give meaning to this ceremony and to the institution of marriage.

With full awareness, know that within this Lasso you are not only declaring your intent to be bound together before your family and friends, but you speak that intent also to God.  The promises made today and the ties that are bound here greatly strengthen your union and will cross the years and lives of each soul’s growth.

Sponsor 1 and Sponsor 2 drape the Lasso in the form of an “8” around the shoulders of the Bride and Groom.

Stephen:  Groom and Bride, as you are bound together now, so too your lives and spirits are joined in a union of everlasting love and trust. Above you are the stars and below you is the earth. Like the stars your love should be a constant source of light, and like the earth, a firm foundation from which to grow.

Sample 2 for Lasso: I invite Sponsor 1 and Sponsor 2 to place a cord over you. This cord symbolizes an infinite bond of love you share that keeps your relationship strong in the face of adversity, as well as that you both are no longer two, but one in marriage. May this cord remind you to face your life together courageously and to be mutual in support of each other in carrying out your duties and responsibilities as a couple and, may your love grow stronger and bind you closer together through the years.

German Tradition – Nuernberg Wedding Cup 

This is a popular German tradition that stemmed from centuries ago in Germany.  It is based on a true and inspiring story from back in 1450, in old Nuernberg, the noble mistress Kunigunde (Coony-gone-de) fell in love with a young and ambitious goldsmith. Although Kunigunde’s (Conny-gone-de’s) wealthy father (a powerful nobleman) did not approve of this pair, it was clear that she only wanted the goldsmith to be her husband as she refused many titled and rich suitors who asked for her hand in marriage.

Her father became so enraged that he had the young goldsmith thrown into the darkest dungeon. Not even his daughter’s bitter tears would change her father’s mind.

To her father’s dismay, imprisoning the young man did not end his daughter’s love for the goldsmith. Instead, he could only watch as his daughter grew paler and paler as a result of the separation from her true love.

The wealthy nobleman reluctantly made the following proposal: He told his daughter, “If your goldsmith can make a chalice from which two people can drink at the same time without spilling one single drop, I will free him and you shall become his bride”.

Of course he was certain nobody could perform such a task…

Inspired by love and with skillful hands, the young goldsmith created a masterpiece. He sculpted a girl with a smile as beautiful as his own true love’s. Her skirt was hollowed to serve as a cup. Her raised arms held a bucket that swivels so that it could be filled and then swung towards a second drinker.

The challenge was met. The goldsmith and the nobleman’s daughter joined hands in marriage and with the bridal cup set forth a romantic and memorable tradition as charming today as it was originally hundreds of years ago.

To this day and to many couples the chalice remains a symbol.
Love, faithfulness and good luck await the couple who drink from this cup.

Steps with the cup: Groom holds the bridal cup upside down so that the large skirt becomes a cup.

Pour champagne or beverage of your choice into the hollow skirt end.

After the large skirt end of the bridal cup is filled, the smaller swiveling cup needs to be filled. Because the smaller top cup swivels, it will already be upright. Carefully fill the small cup. Now that you have both cups filled, you are ready to perform the bridal cup toast!

Bride and Groom must stand closely together facing each other with just enough space for the cup between them. Bride takes the smaller cup in hand while Groom holds onto the larger cup.

At the same time and together, the wedding couple raises the cup up and to their lips to drink. You must be careful here to not spill a drop because if you can drink without spilling a drop, love, faithfulness and good luck will be yours forever!

To this day, the chalice remains a symbol of Love, faithfulness and good luck await the couple who drink from this cup…

African Tradition – Jumping the Broom

The jumping of the broom is symbolic of binding a couple in marriage and also can be used to symbolize Jumping the Broom Unity Ceremony Austin Wedding Officiantfertility and prosperity of the couple.  The “Jumping the Broom” is a ceremony in which the bride and groom, at the end of ceremony signify their entrance into a new life and their creation of a new family by symbolically “sweeping away” their former single lives, former problems and concerns, and jumping over the broom to enter upon a new adventure as wife and husband.  This “leap” into a new life (marriage as wife and husband is performed in the presence of families and friends). You can be as creative as you want when planning for this special ceremony.

The straws of the broom represent family; the handle represents the Almighty; the ribbon represents the tie that binds the couple together.  A fully decorated broom can be purchased at ethnic stores, online, or a regular household broom will suffice. If you decide to use your own broom and decorate it yourself, be sure it coordinates with your wedding colors. Using your own broom can also be a great bonding activity for the bridesmaids, perhaps the night, or week before the wedding.

Another idea is to have a basket full of colorful ribbon pieces at the wedding or reception and allow guests to tie ribbons around the broom before the ceremony begins. This allows the audience to participate, which is in keeping with the African tradition of community involvement.

Chose a time before the ceremony when each guest can write their name or initials on a ribbon and tie their ribbon on the wedding broom. When you jump the broom you’ll be jumping with the good wishes and prayers of all of your guest. It also allows you to have a wonderful keepsake after your special day, remembering those that were there to witness it.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, after the kiss and presentation of the couple to their guests, one of the attendants produces the broom or a special person from the audience brings the broom and places it in the path of the wedding couple. They then jump over the broom on their way to the recessional.

The broom used in the wedding ceremony has often been a beautifully handmade broom containing objects meaningful to the couple that they then keep as a memento of their wedding day and to grace the newlyweds hearth or hallway.

Couples celebrate this rich cultural heritage, irrespective of race, religion, and nationality. The most important thing is its significance;

  • Honoring and respect of your ancestors, their legacy, and your rich family heritage.
  • Coming together of both families, and commitment to each other as wife and husband.
  • It represents strength, love, togetherness, loyalty, and respect which is essential for a successful marriage.

Filipino Wedding Traditions

Filipino Weddings reflect the strong traditions of family (& extended family) and symbolism. Thus, Filipino wedding ceremonies typically involve many people, and the wedding rituals typically “speak” to the couple personally.

Beyond the usual bridal party, the Filipino wedding involves people who are also significant in the couple’s life: the Principal Sponsors and the Secondary Sponsors.

The Principal Sponsors (aka Ninang and Ninong): These are women and men whom the bride and groom respect & admire. They are, as in the early days of the Church, sponsors of the couple attesting to their readiness for marriage and freedom to marry. These are often aunts and uncles or close friends of the family. In the Philippines, they are the official witnesses of the state and they sign the marriage license. Worldwide, their participation is symbolic of the wisdom & support they shall offer the new couple. The number of sponsors can vary from a single couple to many couples. The Principal sponsors are part of the bridal procession. At the nuptial blessing, they may also be invited to come up with the celebrant and to extend their right hands to join in the prayer of blessing. In doing so, they are fulfilling their roles as sponsors.

In selecting the members of the entourage, the couple usually considers one or several pairs of principal sponsors or godparents (ninong and ninang) to serve as the primary witnesses of the wedding ceremony. Ideally, some of them may be the couple’s baptismal godparents. They are people whom the couple admire and respect and expect guidance from. There are also secondary sponsors, usually made up of the couple’s friends or younger relatives: the best man, groomsmen, maid/matron of honor and bridesmaids, along with veil, cord and candle sponsors. They are followed by the coin/arrhae, ring and flower bearers, and the occasional Bible bearer.

unity coin ceremony Austin weddingCoins – The coins are made up of 13 unity coins to represent prosperity. They are placed first in the hands of the groom who then hands it over to the bride, to symbolize how the husband will provide for the welfare of his wife and entrust his worldly goods to her care.

Candles – The lighting of the pair of candles, one on each side of the couple, is reminiscent of their baptism and symbolizes the presence and guidance of God in their married life. Later, the couple may decide to light a “unity candle” using these two candles to signify the joining of their families and of the couple’s oneness.

Cord – Next to the pinning of the veil, the cord is placed over the heads of the couple and allowed to rest on their shoulders. It may be made of silk, or a string of coins or flowers, or designed like a rosary. Aside from the obvious reference to marriage binding the couple for life, the cord is also customarily looped into a figure eight to symbolize infinite loyalty to each other, as well as their promise to act together henceforth.

Unity Veil Ceremony Austin Wedding Officiant bride and groomVeil– Apart from the bridal veil, which may form part of her gown, the veil is made of sheer white material, and it is more traditional to have only one during the ceremony. It “clothes” two persons and unifies them in marriage, as well as signifies their commitment to protect each other. This is why it is draped and pinned over the groom’s shoulder and over the head of the bride, to represent his strength and protection of his soon-to-be wife.

Rings – The ring’s circular shape stands for eternity. It is usually engraved with the couple’s names and the wedding date. Sometimes, these are replaced with a short phrase that is meaningful to them. Some couples prefer slipping their wedding rings on the left middle finger, which is said to be connected to an artery that leads straight to the heart. Others keep with the Roman tradition of putting it on their right ring finger. Regardless of which hand is used, the exchange of rings highlights the fact that marriage is a covenant between God and the couple, and the sacrament itself is a show of everlasting commitment between the couple.

Jewish Chuppah –

We stand here in the bridal canopy, or chuppah (hoop-uh), itself a multifaceted symbol. It creates a special and sacred space for this extraordinary moment in your lives. Your chuppah (hoop-uh) is open on all sides to symbolize the importance of the world that lies beyond your new home and how important your family and friends will be in your future. Your parents surround you, for they are the true foundation upon which the structure of your lives rests. The fragileness of the chuppah (hoop-uh) is a reminder that you must both take great care to protect the integrity and strength of the holy union that you both have begun to build today. Surely, the only true anchor that you will now have will be holding on to each other, just as you are doing now. And, yes, your chuppah (hoop-uh) represents a house full of promises, now filled with your joyous hopes and dreams as you embark on the next phase of your life together!