Symbolic Actions

Including symbolic actions or mini ceremonies within your wedding ceremony can add something truly meaningful and memorable to your special day. They can also serve as a beautiful and personalised visual representation of your love for one another and most end with a keepsake for you both to treasure forever.

A well thought out symbolic ceremony is also a creative way of involving some or all of your wedding guests in the ceremony. The ceremonies can also be tailored to suit your own personalities and styles and give you plenty of scope, if you wish, to adapt and mould symbolic actions into something which feels right for you.

For instance, a more modern version of the loving cup ceremony (see below) is to have a cocktail ceremony. You can pick key ingredients for your cocktail (or mocktail) that match your individual personalities, such as sweet, zesty, or strong and mix them together as a symbol of your union before sharing a sip from the same cup. How cool is that?!

Below are few more examples of these wonderful ceremonies.

Colours and Promises Signature Ceremony

I have always loved sand ceremonies and the symbolism behind it but felt that there was a way of making it even more meaningful. So, I created the Colours and Promises ceremony. As with the traditional sand ceremony, you and your partner choose your sand colours and pour them together, during the ceremony, into the keepsake vase.

However, with the Colours and Promises ceremony, your promises to each other are pre-written and sealed in the small viles you can see in the picture above. As you say your promises to each other, you place them into the personalised vase. You then have a visual keepsake reminder of the promises you have made to each other.

First Kiss, Last Kiss

Get the tissues at the ready for this one! This is a beautiful way of involving both mothers and/or fathers. Just before the couple’s first kiss, the Celebrant calls the parents forward. They can be aware of this or it can be a surprise.

A mother’s lips are normally the first to kiss their child when they enter the world. Therefore, it is a sweet and touching to pay tribute to this special bond by asking them to give their child the last kiss before they embark on married life. For an extra “awww factor” a rose can be given to the parents in exchange for the kiss.

Stone ceremony

There are a range of stone ceremonies. One idea is to purchase some polished stones and ask guests to take one and hold it during the ceremony. They impart their love and silent wishes for your future together upon the stone.

After the ceremony they are collected and placed in a vase as a keepsake. Guests could all write one word on the stone, such as “love”, “happiness”, “travel” that they wish for you to take forward into married life. Another option is to use an Oathing Stone.

If you like, the Oathing Stone can engraved with your names and the date of the wedding. You then both hold the stone while you say your vows. The idea is that this “sets the vows in stone.”

Loving cup

The Loving Cup or Quaiche Ceremony is originally a Scottish tradition. The cup is filled with a drink (wine or any other drink that you both like or has meaning) and you each take a sip, your first sip of married life together.

Traditionally, a quaich (two handled cup) is used. However, this can be given a modern twist, such as a coffee in a mug for coffee lovers or milkshake lovers could share their favourite Oreo milkshake out of a glass and straw. The list is endless.

Ring Warming

Warming the wedding rings allows all your wedding guests to be involved in your ceremony. The rings are placed in a pretty transparent bag or tied with ribbon and passed around your guests while they are seated in your ceremony.

While holding the wedding rings, guests say a silent wish for your future as a married couple before passing it on to the next guest. The idea behind this is that when the rings make their way back to you they will be full of everybody’s love and warm wishes.

Unity Candle

The lighting of a unity candle provides a visual representation of the joining of two people and two families. Traditionally, the parents of the couple light a smaller candle, one for each family. The couple then pick up a lit candle each and light a bigger candle together.

All three candles are left lit. These represent the families that he couple have come from and how those families have helped to light the spark of the new family that has begun on the day of the wedding. The couple can choose to light all the candles themselves or have other significant people involved, maybe older children or grandparents.

Wish Tree

Guests are asked to write some words of wisdom or of wishes for your future together. The guests then hang them on the tree, either before or during the ceremony. These wishes are taken down after the wedding and can be a lovely keepsake. If using a real tree, this can then be planted in the couple’s back garden.

Anniversary or First Fight Box

This is one of my favourites. Before the ceremony, you both prepare a box which includes love letters to each other, wine or chocolates and any other tokens of their love and affection to one and other. This can be pre-wrapped or, if you’re feeling adventurous, during the ceremony you can seal this shut. Even with a hammer and nails if you wish.

Guests love watching this bit. Then, whenever you have your first fight or on a future pre chosen anniversary, you open the box, together, to reaffirm why you fell in love with each other. Awwww!

These really are a very small selection of the ceremonies available. Once we have got to know each other and I know more about the type of wedding ceremony you are aiming for, I will be able to make suggestions about potential symbolic actions. But please feel free to have a look and see if there are any others you fancy or let me know if you like the look of some of the above ones but would like to make alterations.

Photographs credits

  • Candice Picard Productions
  • Natalia Nail
  • Rayan Firmansyah
  • Aaron Burden
  • Battershell Tactical
  • Lennart Jönsson
  • Pasja1000
  • Avinash Kumar