Ceremony Enhancements are a great way to visually declare the intent of your ceremony.
I will write a personal and customized ceremony using the Ceremony Enhancement of your choice, and, depending on the Ceremony Enhancement you choose, I will handcraft it to work well with your ceremony’s theme. We can also design the ceremony to include other family members, such as children, parents, grandparents and so forth. All Ceremony Enhancements can be adapted to suit your preferences, so be sure to ask for more information.
Have you ever wondered where the phrase “tying the knot” came from? It refers to the ancient marriage ritual of Handfasting, which is a custom found across cultures around the world. (Isn’t it fascinating that so many different people performed a similar ritual?!) It was recognized as a binding contract of marriage between and man and woman before weddings became a legal function of the government or a papal responsibility of the church. After the wedding vows and ring exchange, the couple’s hands are bound together with a cord, strap, or fabric that is tied in a love knot, signifying the joining of their lives in a sacred union. Today, it is a symbolic ceremony to honor a couple’s desire for never-ending commitment to each other and to acknowledge that their lives and their destinies are now bound together. This compliments the Hands Ceremony (which is free of charge) very well!
Wine Box Time Capsule
Adding this ritual to the end of your ceremony is sure to elicit many compliments from your family and friends because it is fairly new and uncommon.
A few weeks before the wedding, take some time to each write a letter to one another in private, expressing your thoughts about the good qualities that you found in your future partner, the reasons for falling in love, and your hopes and dreams for the future. Place your letter in an envelope, and seal it with the name of your partner on the outside. You can also include CDs of your favorite music, memorable photos of you together, and other mementos making it your own romantic time capsule. Keep the box in a cool place of honor as a constant visual reminder of your love and commitment to each other because the box can be a Love Preserver in the years to come.
The Wine Box should be opened anywhere from 5 to 25 years later on your wedding anniversary, depending on the wine and storing conditions you will be able to accommodate. (For more information about wine storage and recommendations on wines that age well, visit Wine Folly). On your wedding anniversary, each of you will read the letters you wrote to the other while enjoying that delicious bottle of wine. You will be reminded of what brought you two together, and the hope is that your relationship has aged as well as the fine wine has. This is a glorious way to celebrate your dedication to each other on your wedding anniversary!
However, if there should ever come a time when you are overcome with despair and grief in your relationship, and you feel like giving up on each other, before you make any irrational decisions, open the Wine Box, pour yourselves a glass of wine, and read the love letters you wrote for each other. Even if you are at complete odds, it will remind you of all the reasons why chose your partner and all the hopes you had for your relationship and your future together. It will help you to reshape the life you created together and remind you to never take your blessings of being together for granted. The romantic sentiments you wrote, the declaration of love, the clear thoughts about why you chose this person as your life partner will help you regain your strength in order to endure the storms that life brings. This is the perfect ritual to remind you of your wedding day and your intention to love and cherish each other in good times and bad, for as long as you both shall live.
Tree Planting Ceremony
The Tree Planting Ceremony represents the nurturing, tender-loving care that is required for your relationship to evolve. Love is the root from which all things spring forth, and the hope is that your relationship and love for one another will mature and blossom just as the tree you planted on your wedding day. It will serve as a visual reminder of your commitment to each other because just as the tree will need daily, constant care, marriage requires constant nurturing and nourishment, for the connection you two share is like a living thing that should not be neglected or mistreated. Each year, the growth of the tree will represent all that you have accomplished, endured, celebrated, and shared with each other, and its strength and height will give you the hope and encouragement you need to continue on your journey together. This is a wonderful way to include other family members too!
The Unity Candle Lighting Ceremony, like the Unity Sand Ceremony, represents the merging of the Bride and Groom, and of the two families, into one inseparable unit. This ritual has two parts: the first part takes place near the beginning of the ceremony, where the two special participants are asked to present the individual candles to be lighted. Then those candles stand ablaze while you and your partner listen to the beautiful and unique ceremony I created for you. Following the exchanging of vows and rings, you and your partner will then complete the ritual by lighting a center candle. This is merely one way to create the perfect ending to your magical day, or I can tailor this Ceremony Enhancement a number of ways to suit your preferences.
The Unity Cross is a way for couples who believe in Christ to demonstrate their coming together in a symbolic act. Partner 1 places the outer piece of the cross into the wooden stand, and Partner 2 places the inner portion — the more delicate and ornate piece of the sculpture — within the outer cross, representing the couple, each Partner with their own beautiful uniqueness, becoming a unit under the faith of Christ. This lovely sculpture can then be forever displayed in the couple’s home as a memento from their special wedding ceremony.
For non-religious couples, piecing together the two portions of the Unity Heart is a wonderful way to represent the joining of lives with Love as the guiding force behind their commitment. Partner 1’s sturdy outer portion is placed into the wooden stand first; then, Partner 2 places the more detailed and intricate piece within it, making a visual representation of a couple’s lives becoming one because of the mutual love they share.
Blending of the Sands (Hawaiian Tradition)
You don’t have to have an outdoor wedding on the beach to include this very special symbolic act. The Blending of the Sands is a beautiful and meaningful unifying ceremony from Hawaii that symbolizes the joining together of the Bride and Groom or the blending together of their families. It began to gain more popularity here on the “mainland” within the last 20 years, especially among those seeking a non-denominational and non-religious ceremony. There are two versions: one for the couple and one for the family, but we can tailor it any way you’d like. It makes a lovely alternative to the Unity Candle Lighting Ceremony, especially if you would like to include the participation of children. It represents the joining of independent lives into one, cohesive family. Just as the grains of sand cannot be separated, the relationship created this day cannot be divided. Be sure to ask me about your options. There are a wide variety of vessels and colors of sand to choose from, and I will guide you every step of the way.
Ceremony of the Rose
The Ceremony of the Rose symbolizes the merging of the Bride and Groom’s families by paying respect to the women who first taught the couple what it means to give and receive unconditional love—their mothers. At the beginning of the ceremony, once the Bride is received, she will give her mother a kiss and a rose. Once the ceremony has ended, she and the Groom will stop and offer another rose and kiss to the Groom’s mother. In doing this, the Bride is expressing gratitude to these women for preparing her and her new husband for their beautiful relationship as husband and wife.
The Marriage Vessel and the Rose (The First Gift)
This is a lovely Ceremony Enhancement geared for you and your partner. It is the very first gift you give to each other as partners for life, and it symbolizes your ever-growing love for one another. On each wedding anniversary you share, it is suggested that you add another rose to the vessel. In addition, many couples will use the symbol of a rose to represent their heartfelt intentions and thoughts. In every marriage, there will times when it will be very difficult to express your feelings in words, especially to the one whom you love the most. Saying ‘I’m sorry,” or ‘Please forgive me,” or “You are my strength,” seems so simple until you have to utter these phrases. This is why couples who perform this ceremony on their wedding day will designate a special place in the home to leave a single rose to capture what the heart wants to say but simply cannot.
The ritual of the Wishing Stones is a wonderful way to include everyone in your wedding ceremony. When guests arrive at the ceremony, they are given a Wishing Stone along with a permanent, fine-tipped marker to write their wish for you directly on the stone. At the reception and everyday thereafter, the Wishing Stones will be displayed in a lovely apothecary jar for you and your partner to keep as a reminder of your family and friends’ blessings on your special day. (This Ceremony Enhancement is best for smaller, more intimate weddings and baby blessings.)
In ancient China, sky lanterns were used as a method of communication on the battlefield. Today, at the lantern festivals celebrated in many countries, the floating objects are regarded as symbolic of letting go of your past self so that a new, better self can emerge in the New Year. Naturally, these beautiful ornamental lights have found their way into many celebrations with their thought-provoking beauty, including wedding ceremonies! For couples, it represents the letting go of the past and embracing your new role as “partner for life” with the person you love most in this world. If your ceremony is outdoors and is set to begin around dusk, this is a magical way to end the most important part of the day.
Bible, Coins, and Lasso
(La Biblia, Las Arras, y el Lazo — Hispanic Tradition)
The Bible, Coins, and Lasso are Hispanic traditions most often associated with the Catholic Church and Mexican weddings, although Spain and other Latin-American countries use variations of these as well. They are symbolic of the spiritual, physical, and emotional elements in a marriage. The Bible symbolizes the religious guidance and wise counsel for life’s decisions — the spiritual element. The thirteen coins, like a dowry, represent the financial support and blessing for your home — the physical element. The lasso signifies the union of your hearts, souls, and lives into one common destiny—the emotional element. Different family members can bring each of these items to the altar and bind you together with the lasso, which is a lovely way for you to include those special people in your lives.
Jumping the Broom
Contrary to popular belief, Jumping the Broom is not only a traditional Ceremony Enhancement for African-American couples, but it has been developed and practiced in many other religious and non-religious customs around the world, spanning across different cultures as well. The Broom Bush is one of the most abundantly fertile and indestructible plants found in Africa and other parts of the world. It is found in warm sunny sites, usually on dry, sandy soils, which are normally considered terrible ground for planting. Yet the Broom Bush is hardy and strong, conquering what many other plants could never withstand. It is also very tolerant, maintaining its life in extremely cold temperatures and darkness. Even in fires, the broom bush would not completely die. Instead, it would regenerate, from the root up, even more healthy than ever before. The word Broom has its origins in German, meaning “thorny bush,” and yet brooms posses the most delicately beautiful and fragrant flowers ever seen. The fragrance is said to actually tame even the wildest of beasts, and it is also used as a food source and a medicinal plant as well, nourishing and healing all who eat from it. It is no wonder that the people living in the areas in which the Broom was found in abundance used its branch to represent a couple’s union. The Broom itself, in its endurance, strength, fertility, nourishing and healing properties, and fragrant beauty, symbolize the hopes the families wish and envision for the new couple in their marriage. The meaning behind Jumping the Broom has evolved since its origins, and, according to the most commonly used interpretation, it now focuses on its primary significance: the sweeping away of past transgressions, the removal of and protection from evil spirits, and the welcoming of a new beginning. Whatever your beliefs may be, I will tailor this custom to suit your preferences and decorate the Broom to match your style and theme.
Sharing of the Wine—Unity Cup
Sharing a cup of wine is a custom used to celebrate life’s most momentous occasions, and it has been included in many different ceremonies dating back to antiquity. Thinking about wine and how it is made helps us understand its special relationship to a wedding ceremony. Like your relationship with your true companion, wine making requires a certain environment, patience, tenderness, and loving care to cultivate the very best the grape has to offer. Many couples wanting to incorporate the Sharing of the Wine—Unity Cup find it to be a perfect segue to the Breaking of the Glass Ceremony. Nevertheless, the Sharing of the Wine—Unity Cup is not restricted to any particular custom or faith, and it makes a lovely complement to your sacred promise to each other.
Breaking of the Glass
The breaking of the Jewish wedding glass is a perfect way to include a touch of tradition and custom to an interfaith or civil marriage ceremony. It takes place at the end of the wedding ceremony when the Groom stomps on a glass enveloped in a napkin or satchel, at which point the guests shout “Mazel Tov!” (meaning “congratulations” or “good luck”) or “Siman Tov!” (meaning “good sign” or “good omen” and “a wishing of good things to come”). There are many various interpretations explaining why this custom is practiced, and I can discuss them with you. I recommend that you select the interpretation that resonates with you and your partner so that the act holds more significance for you. In fact, many couples ask me to include a brief description of why they want this tradition of Breaking of the Glass incorporated so that friends and family understand its significance as well.
The Sea Shell Toss Wedding Ceremony Enhancement can include all your guests or just you and your bridal party. Friends and family are asked to write their deepest wishes for you and your love upon a seashell; some people would rather keep their sentiments private, so instead they infuse the shell with their wishes. At a certain point within the ceremony, these shells are tossed into the water during a moment of silence, or with the ambiance of music softly playing in the background, to symbolize the hopes for continued success in your relationship to be as never ending as the sea. A framed set of personalized instructions, décor, set up and breakdown are included.
Releasing Doves at a wedding ceremony is a very beautiful moment for all to witness. Doves mate for life, so they serve as a perfect symbol for the newly wedded couple. Releasing doves during the wedding ceremony visually represents the couple beginning a new life together. It is the hope of everyone in attendance that you and your new partner will begin this new segment of your life with the same freedom, ease and peace as the doves’ flight. Whether the doves are released to commemorate departed loved ones in the beginning of the ceremony, or they are used immediately following your recitation of vows, releasing doves in your ceremony is a unique and memorable enhancement. For more information, visit Miami Dove Release.