Your Wedding Ceremony
There are no particular rituals or words ordinarily in use by OneSpirit ministers to celebrate and consecrate your marriage, and this means that you have the freedom to create a ceremony to suit you, and I am here to help you do that.
At your wedding you can celebrate your own individuality, and also be married in a way that harmonises those particular cultures that have formed and influenced each of you and your families and friends. Sometimes this is very important, if for example the two of you come from very different backgrounds or cultures. Whatever is important and distinctive about your life and your relationship, you can have a ceremony that reflects that and truly feels meaningful and personal to you.
What Can You Tell Me About Your Wedding Ceremonies?
Firstly, it may be important to you to know about the style of ceremony created by me.
I am able to be flexible about the style as people differ widely in their beliefs and requirements.
If conducted in a humanist style, there would be no mention of the divine, Spirit, God etc, or any reference to an alternative reality that exists outside of this one. Your friends and family are your witnesses and what is valued in our world is upheld and recognised. It would still be possible to have readings of divine or religious poetry or from the scriptures of one of the faith paths.
You might prefer a more religious style if one or both of you practices a faith, or if you belong to families where religious beliefs are important. So your could make your vows ‘before God’, and include traditional prayers, readings and even hymns if you would like to.
Alternative spiritualities can also be accommodated with appropriate elements as desired.
Over time I have found that couples have different preferences for the type of ceremony they would like
A Simple Ceremony
Your wedding can be a brief, straightforward, no-fuss ceremony that is perfect for a couple who tends to see their wedding as a private and personal affair, with the understanding that perhaps ‘less is more’. However, your vows, the blessing and a reading may be personalised, and you can include prayers and mentions of particular family members or friends. A ring blessing is usually included too and, of course, the ‘Pronouncement’ that you are married!
A Ceremony Enhanced with a Meaningful Ritual
Many different customs have developed over time to reflect society’s understanding of the commitment of marriage. You will certainly be declaring your love for each other, and your intention to remain true and faithful, but many couples also include small rituals to symbolize their union. Most ceremonies include the exchange of rings, but you could also include one of these popular options.
- The lighting of a unity candle. You can invite members of your family to be part of this – read more about this in my blog;
- Drinking together from a quaich or loving cup – read more about this;
- The holding of a handfasting, where you are symbolically ‘tied’ together with a single cord or ribbon – or even seven!
There is plenty of scope for personalisation in the way that the ritual is enacted, a choice of vows, the blessings over the rings, the final blessing, the reading/s, scope for a musical interlude, or for someone to offer a tribute. This ceremony would be expected to last 20-30 minutes.
Further ideas might include …
- the creation of a tribute for you both. By this I mean a short exploration of who each of you is as a person, an individual, and what the focus of your life has been up to this point. This is a good opportunity to take stock and in some sense acknowledge, appreciate and honour what has been achieved to date, in the knowledge that life will be changing for you now when you become part of a ‘married’ couple;
- a handfasting with further elements of a pagan wedding, such as the jumping of the broomstick, a blessing for the Lord and the Lady, and/or the drawing of a sacred circle for you and your guests with the calling in of the elements
- a sand ceremony (mingling different colours or textures of sand symbolizing the two of you);
- a ring-warming ceremony (where the guests ‘warm’ the rings, or other items, for example pebbles or shells, with their own good wishes and love);
- the exchange of crowns or garlands or other gifts in addition to the rings;
- the exchange of vows you have created yourselves, or personal declarations of love and any support that is required with this (bearing in mind that your vows may need to fulfil legal requirements)
- the breaking of glass, commonly done at a Jewish wedding and containing multiple layers of meaning;
- a blessing for you as a couple with a willow wand, or by the sprinkling of flower petals or rice; or other special blessings or prayers of blessing.
- the creation of a minister’s address – traditionally this would be a short talk specifically to the couple. Sometimes couples ask me for something more general, perhaps thought-provoking, perhaps entertaining, to provide an interlude during the ceremony. Here are links to some examples: The Wedding Charge, The Wedding at Cana, Rites of Passage. These examples were composed for more formal weddings but if the setting is less formal I can do something more spontaneous. I would stress that each ‘address’ is created specifically for the couple and the day;
- the inclusion of a procession with musical instruments, drums and flags including the guests before or after the ceremony (perhaps more appropriate out of doors!)
- something I haven’t thought of? … the possibilities are endless!
A fully bespoke ceremony might last 40 minutes or even longer, although I would probably advise you against including too much, in the interest of making the ceremony coherent and meaningful.
Can we have rehearsal?
Normally a rehearsal is not necessary as I would include ‘stage directions’ in the ceremony script, and any questions can be discussed by telephone or even on the day itself. Photographers are usually very experienced at managing the logistics of a wedding ceremony and might be able to give you some advice. However, if the venue is somewhere you are staying over the weekend, or are able to visit on the afternoon before, I would recommend a walk-through with the bridesmaids, best man and the other key ‘players’ if you are able to get them all together in advance.
If you would like me to be present at your rehearsal, I may charge a little extra for time and travelling.
Whichever of the options above you choose, your wedding ceremony will include an opening section of welcome with introductions and thanks, and a closing section with a blessing, which can be traditional or modern and more informal in tone. If you include readings and music, these can be religious, from any tradition, or non-religious, and it is up to you to include things that are meaningful to you.
Whatever the style and setting for your wedding, I will do my best to craft the ceremony to complement the both of you, and to make it flow and feel integral and meaningful throughout.
I will of course be there on the day to conduct the ceremony, and to support you and your guests. My supportive presence is certainly one of my strengths and I have received many favourable comments on the serenity and calmness my presence gives to the occasion! However, this is not my only strength – I am also able to be spontaneous and humorous … and it is sometimes even appropriate to be funny! Other appropriate skills and strengths I bring to the role of celebrant, is a well-tuned sense of occasion and drama, a clear speaking voice, a pleasing manner and appearance (I have a choice of outfits and stoles, and what I wear can be discussed), and a wealth of life experience and wisdom that impacts in its own way on the occasion.
Please do feel free to contact me to discuss your thoughts and ideas regarding your ceremony – I look forward to hearing from you!