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Alison officiating wedding ceremony

When it comes to your Celebrant led wedding ceremony there are always ways to personalise your ceremony. More often than not, couples have certain people in the family or friend group that need to be involved in the ceremony. Whether it’s your mother, your kids, your best friend of twenty years or that favourite uncle of yours, there is a natural way to include each of them in your Celebrant wedding ceremony.

1. Readings

Much like all other weddings you’ve been at, religious or not, there is always something to be read aloud. The beauty of the Celebrant led ceremony is that you can have as many readings, poems or extracts as you like, to complement however many readers you have. Usually, I would have an opening poem/passage, another in the middle and then a final one at the end. So you can ask at least three people to be involved in that part. My tip for choosing a reader is to go for the person you know won’t have any problem with it. Maybe they are used to public speaking and voice projection through work, or maybe they’re the performer in the family and it would be second nature! Try not to give this special task to someone who would hate to do it as they will be nervous and stressed about it during the ceremony and will miss out on enjoying the wonderful event we have created together.

If there are much more than three people you would like to read you could also include a segment of Wishing Words. Much like Prayers of the Faithful in a church wedding, each person comes up and reads a short wish/blessing for the couple. An example of this would be: We wish for them a lifetime of happiness together surrounded by loved ones who will be on hand for support, guidance and laughter. You could have four or five of these perhaps. Or it could be part of my next way to involve your friends and family:

2. Ring Warming Ceremony

This ceremony enhancement is so simple and effective and also really sweet! It is my favourite one to include in my ceremonies and is becoming increasingly popular these days. During a ring warming everyone is involved. The rings are passed around, in a box for safety from butterfingers, to all our guests during the ceremony. We usually start this while your guests are settled in waiting on your arrival. As each person holds the rings, they make a silent wish or good intention for you in your married life. By the time we go to exchange rings, they are full of love and positive energy to start you off on your married journey.

Due to Covid19, ring warmings, in their usual form, were halted. However, they didn’t stop fully. Adapting to the pandemic, I suggested we hold the rings at the top of the room/ceremony area and invite some representatives up to make well wishes on behalf of all the guests. Following the same format of the Wishing Words above we do this just before the exchange of rings so that your rings are still blessed by your guest without being handled by everyone.

3. Unity Candle Ceremony

This is a more intimate ritual and involves just four people; the couple and one representative from each family. A representative from each family, usually a parent or guardian or sibling, comes up to light one individual candle each. Each candle represents the couple as individuals and how they have so far shone brightly on their own and how this light has been passed down from family members. The couple then comes forward and take the flame from their respective candle and light the centre unity candle together. This symbolises two lives and families becoming one and shining brighter together. This one is for your nearest and dearest and is a very special way to acknowledge their impact on your individual life and their support and encouragement as you join your family with another.

4. Handfasting

A handtying/handfasting ritual is an ancient Celtic tradition where the hands are bound together. In times gone by the hands were tied together for a year to signal their intent to marry. If they returned a year later still bound they were deemed a good match! We already know you are a good match so we won’t ask you to bound for very long! Handfasting rituals of old is where we get the phrase “tying the knot”.

There are many ways to do a handtying and each Celebrant will have their preferred method. Let’s start by identifying how many people you want to be involved in this ritual. Three to five is standard but this is your ceremony so if you want more or less just say. The couple holds hands and each person will bring up a ribbon or cord and drape it over your hands. The ribbons are in symbolic colours chosen by you e.g. pink for romance, gold for longevity etc. The Celebrant will then fashion a love knot with the ribbon which you can take home as a keepsake.

5. Sand Ceremony

This is a lovely child-friendly way to involve younger friends or family members. Kids really enjoy this one because it can be so colourful. There is a vessel of coloured sand to represent each person taking part in the ritual and one larger vessel which will hold the combined sands. Each person takes turns pouring their individual sand into the larger vessel symbolising the blending of two families as one. Much like a particular grain of sand can no longer be separated from this, neither can you be separated now fused two as one. If you are beachgoers or surfers etc then perhaps you might like to collect sand from various significant beaches and use this in the ceremony too. The vessel can then be displayed in your home as a lovely keepsake and visual reminder of your unity.

So there you have it – 5 ways to involve your friends and family. Remember; choosing to work with a Celebrant gives you the freedom to create the ceremony of your dreams with all the people who love and care for you being part of it. Celebrant led ceremonies are inclusive celebrations of life and love and lend themselves to making everyone feel special and welcomed.

I hope you have some inspiration here for your own ceremony and can think of some ways to get everyone from the little ones right up to Granny involved!


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