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  • Writer's pictureSteve King

Wedding Rituals - What are they?



Weddings are special events that bring families, friends, and loved ones together to celebrate the union of two people in love. While traditional wedding ceremonies usually involve the exchange of vows and rings, there are many other rituals that couples can incorporate into their special day to add meaning and symbolism to the occasion. In this blog I look at three unique wedding rituals: Sand Ceremony, Butterfly Release and Handfasting.


Sand Ceremony:


For those who may have been in a previous relationship bringing kids with them into the new marriage, the sand ceremony is a unique and popular ritual that represents the blending of two individuals into one united family. The ceremony involves the pouring of different coloured sand into a glass vessel, symbolising the bride and groom and their families. Once the sand has been poured, it forms a beautiful and individualised work of art that can be displayed in the couple's home.


Some couples involve their children in the ceremony, each child using sand of a different colour to symbolise their unique place in the new family dynamic. In addition to selecting different colours to represent each family member, the sand ceremony can also be customised by adding special touches like seashells or crystals.




Butterfly Release:


Butterfly release is a symbolic ritual that has become increasingly popular in recent years. It involves releasing live butterflies during the ceremony or reception, symbolising the transformation and beauty of love.

The butterflies are often kept in a beautifully designed release box until it's time for the ceremony. Then, the couple or wedding guests release the butterflies into the air, adding a magical and memorable touch to the wedding.


Butterfly releases can be tailored to complement any wedding theme or colour scheme, and the butterflies themselves can be sourced locally to help support the environment. Additionally, many butterfly-release companies offer non-profit, donation-based programs, providing a heart-warming and philanthropic component to your wedding ritual.



Handfasting:

Handfasting is a traditional Celtic wedding ritual that dates back centuries. It involves the binding of the couple's hands together with a ribbon, cord, or twine, symbolising the union of their two lives. The term "tying the knot" comes from the practice of handfasting. Back in the day, as part of the engagement process it was customary for couples to remain handfasted for a year and a day, after which they would decide whether to marry or part ways. I’m not sure that would work today.

Today, handfasting is often used as an alternative or addition to traditional vows and ring exchanges. The officiant will wrap the ribbon around the couple's joined hands while reciting a blessing or prayer. The couple can then exchange personalised vows and promises to one another before completing the tying of the knot. Afterwards, they can keep the ribbon as a keepsake of their special day.



A Ritual to Reflect Your Story



Incorporating unique and meaningful rituals into your wedding can add a personal touch that you and your guests will never forget. Whether choosing the traditional Celtic handfasting ritual, the artful sand ceremony, or the magical butterfly release – or any combination of them – each can be customised to perfectly reflect your unique love story.


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