Traditions, Rituals and Customs~55 Symbolic Ceremonies to Celebrate your Union

Mothers were the first to kiss the Bride and Groom as babies and the last to kiss them as singles before the couple seals their union with their own first kiss

Hispanic traditions where a Bible, Coins, Lasso and Veil are given to the couple symbolizing the spiritual, physical and emotional elements in a marriage

Gifts (such as the Family Medallion) given to recognize children of the Bride and Groom and to celebrate the newly blended family

Bride and Groom clasp hands while Officiant offers a reading and a blessing of their hands, now united in marriage

Stones are given to guests who make a wish or say a blessing for the couple (sometimes writing them on a note card), then stones are placed in a container or thrown into a body of water

Guests attach a blessing, wish, poem, scripture or a quote to branches of a tree (live or artificial) either during the ceremony or at the reception for the couple to reflect upon later; live tree may be planted at their home

Couple may brand name, monogram, date, scripture reference or symbol onto chosen medium (wood, leather, metal) to symbolize the love burned in their souls and branded on their hearts forever

Cultural or universal tradition signifying the acceptance of a new family member, hospitality, home and family, and the fellowship shared with one another

Jewish tradition of many meanings, including “many pieces, many years, many blessings” where the Groom breaks a glass with his foot and everyone shouts “Mazeltov!” which means “Congratulations!

Butterflies are released and carry all the best wishes for the couple to heaven to be granted by the Great Spirit/God

Asian custom that says couples destined to be together are joined to one another at birth by an invisible red cord; couple may tie pinky fingers together with red cord during ceremony or guests may tie knots in cord while offering a blessing

Nature-inspired ritual where a circle is formed around ceremony site and guests place article of nature on circle while offering a blessing or wish for the couple

Greek Orthodox tradition where crowns or small wreaths are placed on the Bride’s and Groom’s heads (symbolizing them as King and Queen of their new home) and are tied with a white ribbon (signifying Christ’s blessing of marriage)

The white dove is a symbol of love, devotion, partnership, peace and faithfulness; since doves mate for life, they represent the eternal love and lifelong commitment of the Bride and Groom

Vows spoken to children by the parents, welcoming them into their new blended family and promising to love and care for them always

Represents a clean slate, the cleansing of your spirits, forgiveness, and open hearts ready to accept each other unconditionally

Celtic tradition of tying the knot where cords/ribbons are wrapped around couple’s hands signifying their lives and destinies now bound together in a sacred union

Represents Christ’s love through His death on the cross and the communion between the couple and the Lord

Persian custom where the Bride and Groom dip fingers into a bowl of honey (symbolizing the sweetness of life) and place it on the tongue of their beloved

Bracelet given to mothers, representing the eternal love between mother and child, and acknowledging the moment uniting Bride’s and Groom’s families

African American tradition where the Bride and Groom jump over a broom symbolizing the crossing of a threshold into a new relationship as husband and wife

Bride, Groom and family members exchange garlands/leis, symbolizing the unbroken circle of love, respect, acceptance, and commitment, along with the unity of the new family created from their marriage

Like a time capsule, a decorative box that contains a wine bottle and 2 love letters (written to each other before the wedding), is sealed shut with nails or locked with keys during the ceremony and opened on a milestone anniversary

Padlocks are used to symbolize the locking of the covenant that binds the couple together in marriage; padlocks may be engraved

Bride and Groom share gifts of silver star ornaments, symbols of stars in the heavens named for them, which represents their love that will shine for all eternity

A type of time capsule where mementos are added to a box on every anniversary, recording the history of your love and marriage as it unfolds each year

Gifts of a vessel and a rose exchanged between the Bride and Groom, which are symbolic of the strength and beauty of their relationship

Acknowledges and honors the memory of loved ones who have passed on

Couple writes letter together, sharing their love story, and sends it in a bottle out to sea in hopes of receiving marital or life advice from whoever finds it

Bride and Groom drink from a symbolic Native American wedding vase to illustrate the joining of their hearts and lives into one common destiny

Celtic tradition where the Bride and Groom place their hands upon a stone while saying their wedding vows in order to “set their vows in stone”

A unique way of giving wedding rings during ceremony where rings are passed on ribbons from back to front to couple carrying the guests’ blessings and good
wishes with them

Wedding rings are passed through the hands of guests as they say a blessing over them, signifying the love, hope and support of family and friends

Roses given to a special family member or exchanged between the Bride and Groom as a first gift to each other as husband and wife

The Covenant of Salt symbolizes a binding promise of eternal love between the Bride and Groom, whereas the Indian Salt Ceremony represents the blending of the Bride with the Groom’s family

Vases of different colored sand are poured together into one unity sand vase, symbolizing the blending of the couple’s lives or newly blended families

Hindu and Native American custom where Bride and Groom walk in a circle speaking vows and words of commitment to each other and sealing their bond forever

Perfect for waterfront weddings, shells are given to guests who make a wish or say a blessing for the couple; then shells are placed in a container or thrown into a
body of water

Bride and Groom choose spices that represent their personalities, talents, hopes and dreams, and combine them into a jar, symbolically blending the essences of who they are and what they hope for; good for culinary enthusiasts

African ritual where the couple tastes sour, bitter, hot, and sweet elements, demonstrating their commitment to share all the seasons of life together, regardless of what life holds 

Asian ritual where tea is served to the Bride and Groom, or where the couple serves parents, symbolizing the strengthening of the couple’s bond and the bond with their families

Planting the “Marriage Tree” (a live tree) symbolizes the growth of a marriage relationship, both of which need to be nurtured in order to keep them alive and thriving

Cords/ropes are used to literally “tie the knot” (a true lover’s knot), linking their hearts together and illustrating the strong and unbreakable bond the Bride and Groom share

Flowers are combined to illustrate the fusion of family and friends, along with the hearts of the Bride and Groom

Lighting the Unity Candle symbolizes the blending together of families and the merging of two individuals into one couple, a love that burns jointly

3 cords are braided together, representing the Bride, the Groom, and God, or the Bride, the Groom, and children; in either case it demonstrates that “a cord of 3 strands is
not easily broken”

Two crosses, representing the Bride and Groom, are assembled together, and is a beautiful illustration of “the two becoming one”

Multiple versions of the Unity Cup all symbolize the couple’s union by drinking from the Cup of Life and the commitment to share all that life may hold

Similar to the Sand Blending, colorful glass crystals are combined in a container to be crafted later by a glass artisan into a one-of-a-kind glass sculpture

A multi-piece heart-shaped sculpture assembled during the wedding ceremony demonstrating how “two become one” in marriage

Couple (and children) throw paint on a blank canvas or paint with brushes, each with their own color, creating a colorful, original “masterpiece” that represents the adventure they are about to begin

Bride and Groom (and children) demonstrate the pieces of their individual lives joining together by placing custom puzzle pieces into a puzzle tray, each piece unique with its own place, yet fitting perfectly to make the puzzle complete

Pledge given by the family and/or guests to support the Bride and Groom in their marriage

Different colored waters are blended together to create a new color, symbolizing the new union created on their wedding day

Multiple versions of the Wine Ceremony offered, but all symbolizing the couple’s union, the blending of families, and a new beginning together