~ Jumping the Broom. ~ Handfasting. ~ Lighting of a Unity Candle. ~ Sand Ceremony. ~ Reading of Scripture or special notes. ~ Signing of the Ketubah. ~ Kneeling on a family prayer rug. ~ Taking your first communion as man and wife. ~ Including family photos as part of a bridal bouquet. ~ A bride wearing coins in her shoes during the wedding. ~ A Rose Presentation. ~ The Mothers’ Kiss. ~ Planting a tree. ~ Washing of feet. ~
As you can see from the simple list started above, wedding ceremony customs and traditions are as countless as they are timeless. Yet, there is also room to add a fresh twist to a tradition that reflects your unique personalities and sharing of your love story.
From the processional and giving of the bride, to exchanging vows, rings and kiss, a traditional American wedding ceremony is so conventional, that many couples do not often find a reason to deviate from the expected outline.
American Wedding Ceremony Traditions
In a usual ceremony, you will also find elements such as the seating of parents with the bride’s mother seated last, welcoming of guests, reading of scripture, the wedding message, declaration of intent, pronouncement as man and wife, and the wedding party recessional. The order of ceremony will be determined by your officiant, with consideration of your desires. You may wish to include special elements, such as lighting a unity candle, taking communion, singing of hymns or special love songs, a family custom or a fresh take on an old custom. — As you firm up plans with your officiant, feel free to ensure the ceremony expresses not only your love and commitment but your style and personality as a new Mr. and Mrs.!
Multi-Cultural Wedding Traditions
Looking beyond your own backyard, into your own family ethnicity or history, you might find other charming ideas to include in your own exceptional ceremony. There are so many ideas to explore and consider of which the following are just a few. For instance, in Sweden, the bride and groom enter down the aisle together, and the bride carries coins in her shoes on her wedding day: one silver coin in her left shoe from her father, and one gold coin in her right from her mother are placed to ensure that she will never go without. Varsågod! The Japanese follow the tradition of san-san-kudo, where the bride and groom take three sips each from three flat sake cups, after which their parents do the same to symbolize bonding the families together. Many modern couples are including Handfasting, a ritual that began in long ago Great Britain as part of their ceremony, in which they bind their hands together with a ribbon, symbolizing the joining of their lives. In addition, many families have special items or traditions that hold special meaning in the family history. One such family has a special prayer rug that has been used in the wedding ceremonies of all their weddings for many generations. Another beautiful idea is to include the memory of a late mother/mother-in-law or grandparents in small photo lockets on the bride’s bouquet. You could also consider honoring your late loved one/s by placing a single flower from your bouquet on the seat they would occupy if they were still among us. (You can find more ceremony ideas from around the world here. https://www.littlechapel.com/marriage-customs-from-around-the-world.html )
Religious Ceremony Traditions
Looking to a few religious ceremony traditions, Indian couples are married under a special canopy called a ‘Mandap’. Each of the four pillars of the bridal canopy represents one of the four parents. In the Jewish faith, couples are joined together under a canopy called a ‘Chuppah’. In the Jewish ceremony, the groom and two witnesses sign a Ketubah, which is a special document outlining his duties and responsibilities toward his wife, after which the bride circles her groom seven times as a symbol of breaking down barriers and more. If you are a couple with an interfaith wedding, you may find it might be appropriate to alternate traditions back and forth, until your ceremony concludes. It’s less jarring for guests and creates a unity to your ceremony that mirrors your marriage. Together, choose traditions that you consider beautiful and add them where appropriate to personalize your wedding.
When looking to put your own personal stamp on your wedding ceremony, one certain way is to find and incorporate fun and unique rituals that symbolize love and unity. OffBeat Bride has gathered a host of unique and uncommon wedding Unity ceremony ideas to check out here. http://offbeatbride.com/tag/unity-ceremony/ Becoming increasingly popular, Jumping the Broom symbolizes not only a new beginning but a sweeping away of the past as the bride and groom together jump over a decorated broomstick that is laid on the ground. The traditional Sand Ceremony mixes different colored sands, but by ordering and mixing glass crystals instead, you can have it blown into a beautiful commemorative glass work of art to keep for a lifetime. https://www.unityinglass.com/ How about showing your mothers the love with a special last ‘kiss’ for them as singles, just before you are pronounced man and wife, or giving them each a special rose as a symbol of your love as you begin your life as man and wife during the recessional? Or consider going green and planting a tree to symbolize your vow to grow together. Another special feature to consider is to include a foot-washing ceremony, which has roots in Christianity and other ancient religions. What a beautiful way to show your promise to serve one another in love.
As a couple, have fun joining your hearts and minds together in planning a ceremony as specialized and personal as you two are. Whether you use one of the different ideas mentioned above or come up with your own exclusive, adding a special tradition, custom or ritual to your wedding ceremony will make yours a wedding day to remember.