Symbolism in ceremonies

There are many ways you can create a unique ceremony.  Below we list a few examples of symbols to use in your wedding ceremony.

The Rose Ceremony

Groom (as he hands his bride a long-stemmed white rose): (Name) take this rose as a symbol of my love. It began as a tiny bud and blossomed, just as my love has grown and blossomed for you.

Bride (as she places the rose into a bud vase filled with water): “I take this rose, a symbol of your love, and I place it into water, a symbol of life. For, just as this rose cannot survive without water, I cannot survive without you.”

Groom: In remembrance of this day, I will give you a white rose each year on our anniversary, as a reaffirmation of my love and the vows spoken here today.

Bride: And I will refill this vase with water each year, ready to receive your gift, in reaffirmation of the new life you have given me and the vows spoken here today.

Groom (as he and his bride join hands around the rose-filled vase): And so, this rose will be a symbolic memory of my commitment to you this hour; I vow to be a faithful husband to you, to comfort you, honour you, respect you and cherish you for as long as we live.

Bride: (as they continue to hold the vase together): And I commit myself to you, to be a faithful wife, to comfort you, honour you, respect you and cherish you for as long as we live. 

Sand or Salt Ceremony

Celebrant (Name) and (name), you have just sealed your relationship by the giving and receiving of rings, and this covenant is a relationship agreement between two people who agree that they will commit themselves to one another throughout their lives. The most beautiful example of this partnership is the marriage relationship. You have committed here today to share the rest of your lives with each other . “This relationship is symbolised through the pouring of these two individual containers of sand (or salt) one representing you, (name) and all that you were, all that you are, and all that you will ever be, and the other representing you, (name), and all that you were and all that you are, and all that you will ever be. As these two containers of sand are poured into the third container, the individual containers of sand will no longer exist, but will be joined together as one. Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so will your marriage be. Far more important than your individuality is now the reality that you are no longer two but one, never to be separated one from the other.”

Bride and Groom: The bride and groom each empties his/her individual container of sand into the third container.

Celebrant: (Name) and (name), we have heard your vows and you’ve symbolised your union by pledging your lives to each other, exchanging rings and through the covenant of sand. So I therefore declare you to be husband and wife.

Lovers Knot

Celebrant: This silken ribbon close entwines two hearts in love together.
Friendship’s dearest pledge is made in joy forever.
United you will walk through life sharing Earth’s pain and pleasure.
Hand in hand you shall strive for achievement in life together.
Should the path be rough and thorny let love sustain and guide you.
Should the way be strewn with roses let the joy of life sustain you.

Celebrant: Now I tie this lovers’ knot you two are joined in oneness. Gentle are the bounds of this union, pull one way and the bonds are strengthened, pull the other way and they are loosened. (Ties silken ribbon around wrists loosely with a bow). Store the knot in a silken purse and it will remain tied forever. (Slide hands apart leaving knot intact).

Candle lighting ceremony

The unity candle symbolises the very essence of the wedding ceremony. Two taper candles, representing the couple as individuals, are used to light a single center candle as a visible symbol of their commitment to each other. There are many variations on the ceremony and the individual tails are completely up to you. Here are some ideas to help you as you plan your ceremony. Before the ceremony begins, place the unity candle on a small table near the altar. If you have an on-site coordinator who may have specific instructions, be sure to check in advance. To prepare for the ceremony, it is a good idea to light the wicks for a moment.

There are several popular options for lighting your taper candles. You can have your parents come forward to light the side tapers as a symbol of your two families coming together as one. At this point, some couples choose to present their mothers with a rose. If you wish, the celebrant or best man and the maid of honor can light the tapers. Or, you may light the tapers yourselves from a candle on the table.

As (Name) and (name) together light the centre candle, they will extinguish their own candles, thus letting the center candle symbolise the union of their lives. As this one light cannot be divided, neither will their lives be divided.

If you’d prefer to leave your tapers lit …

(Name) and (name) come into their marriage relationship as individuals and they do not lose their identity, rather they use their individuality to create and strengthen the relationship of marriage. Therefore, the three candles remain lit, one for each of them and one for their marriage.

ls of their commitment to each other and to a lasting and loving marriage. The Unity Candle symbolises the new family you are now forming from your past lives. The flames you light it with both burn brighter when joined together. Now you both are charged with keeping this flame bright for the rest of your days.

Including children from a previous marriage

If the bride or groom already have children, vows can be written to include them in the ceremony. It’s a nice way for any children from previous marriages to feel accepted, loved and part of the new family.

(Children’s names), you will have a share in this marriage, for your lives will be touched by the promises made by your mother and father today. Your participation will be needed to develop the bonds of this new family. We now ask you to promise that you will all join together to create a family of mutual help, respect and support. We ask that you help to create a home and a way of life in which all of you may grow into the best people you can be. In this spirit, will you pledge to continue to grow together and honor this new family for all the days that follow?

(Name) and (name), as you give yourselves to one another in love and loyalty, will you also promise always to keep room in your new life together for (children’s names)? Will you commit yourselves to respect and honor them as individuals and members of this family? Will you pledge to cherish, encourage and tenderly care for them as long as they need you?

Another way to include children from previous marriages is to have them take part in the candle lighting ceremony. After the bride and groom light their unity candle, the children can participate by lighting a candle too.