In light of how much it helped me to figure out our ceremony readings through the blog last week, I figured that we would keep the ceremony train a-rolling for now and talk about something else that Shaun and I are having to decide on…traditions.
There are many rituals or ceremonies within a traditional Christian ceremony, but there are also a lot of other fun traditions that I’ve learned or read about since starting the wedding planning process. Unfortunately, we can’t include everything and still have a short ceremony, so Shaun and I have some decisions to make as to which traditions we’re going to include.
As I mentioned all last week, we will be featuring readings in our ceremony. To us, it’s a nice way to incorporate our views of marriage and love into the ceremony in a meaningful way. It’s a nod to our respective traditional Christian ceremonies, even though our ceremony will be non-denominational. It also allows us to involve important family members (other than our parents) in the ceremony because Shaun and I have asked both of our godmothers to each do a reading. I think this will be a very special part of our ceremony, so I’m excited to be including this tradition.
The unity ceremony has been one of the most difficult struggles for me (I can’t personally speak for Shaun on this issue, I’m not sure he cares) in planning the ceremony. Every single wedding that I’ve ever been to has had a unity candle, or unity sand or unity…something. I like the tradition of the mothers lighting the separate candles, then the bride and groom taking their respective candle to light the center one that signifies their relationship. (Side note: at my best friend’s wedding last summer, they kept the separate candles lit after they lit the big center candle together. I thought that was super cool.) The problem with an outside ceremony is that any wind will likely blow out the candles…and while I’m not very superstitious, that just doesn’t seem like a good omen. I’m also not particularly crazy about sand ceremonies or any other unity ceremonies other than the candle. So for now, it looks like we’re just going to omit this tradition in our ceremony, as much as I would love to have it.
(Source: Style Me Pretty)
One of the traditions that I found when researching alternatives to the unity ceremony was “handfasting.” According to Wikipedia (that fountain of endless semi-trustworthy knowledge), handfasting is “a traditional European ceremony of betrothal or wedding. It usually involved the tying or binding of the right hands of the bride and groom with a cord or ribbon for the duration of the wedding ceremony.” While the idea is a nice one, after researching it a bit more I just don’t think that it quite fits the vision of the day that Shaun and I have. So we’re going to pass on handfasting.
Another tradition that I found that many couples use in lieu of a unity ceremony is called a “ring warming.” There are many different ways that couples approach this tradition, but basically the bride and groom’s wedding rings are either tied together or put in some sort of box and passed around to all of the wedding guests to “bless” before the couple exchanges them. The rings can be passed prior to the ceremony or during the ceremony, but I think if we use this tradition, we’ll do it before so that guests aren’t distracted while other things are going on. The benefits of a ring warming ceremony are that it emphasizes how important friends and family are in the life of a couple – a marriage is more than just two people, it involves the love and support of everyone around them to make it work. While this ceremony obviously isn’t for everyone, I think it just might be perfect for Shaun and I. While we would have a few kinks to work out if we were to do a ring warming as part of our ceremony (mostly figuring out how to make it efficient given our large guest list), I think this is our number 1 choice for an alternative to the unity ceremony as of right now.
What traditions are your favorite part of the wedding ceremony? Are there any that I missed here that you particularly love? Or have you attended a wedding where they included a tradition that you hadn’t seen before but particularly liked?