Rituals & Blessings

Bowl of Blessing with Seven Spices

Bowl of Blessing with Seven SpicesThis unique wedding ceremony tradition uses spices to demonstrate the qualities that make for a healthy and well-balanced marriage, getting its roots from the Middle East.  Seven small bowls are placed before the bride and groom, each containing a spice, where the couples can scoop a bit of each into a small pouch. Each spice is representative of a blessing:

Rosemary = prosperity
Brown sugar = a sweet life
Garlic = to keep you safe
Savory = to balance your blended life
Nutmeg = for romance
Paprika = passion
The Bay Leaf = as an extra “spark” of flavor

Breaking the Glass

Image courtesy of Cherish Paperie Blog

Breaking of the Glass

In this Jewish ritual the groom (sometimes both people) step on the glass and everyone shouts ‘Mazel Tov’  which means Good Luck and Blessings to the couple.  The most common way to speak of the symbolism of this act is that it should be as hard to break the marriage as it is to put the pieces of the glass together again.

Hand-fasting

Handfasting Ceremony

Image courtesy of Match and Fusion

There is an ancient Celtic tradition of binding a couple in marriage by hand-fasting.   Sometimes the couple’s hands are bond together with a cord or rope in a knot in the shape of infinity and they are asked to recite the promises they make to each other which ‘binds’ them in purpose and commitment in marriage.   This is where the terms ‘giving ones hand in marriage’ and ‘tying the knot’ comes from.

Dove or Butterfly Release 

Following the wedding ceremony, the release of these doves who mate for life, or butterflies who symbolize transformation is a perfect way to begin your life together.  At the end of the ceremony, doves or the butterflies can be released.  The pair of doves circle in the air and then fly off together, symbolizing the beginning of your new life together.  The butterflies are released into the great unknown adventure and miracle of life, as will your marriage be an adventure into shared love.

 The Huppah

In Jewish ritual the huppah represents the home that the couple will be creating.  It is a cloth cover on four poles with open sides.  The open sides represent their connection to their faith, their families and their larger community as an essential part of their marriage.  Some couples may choose to decoratively add color or a picture to their cloth that represents their personal relationship between themselves and God.

Jumping the Broom

Image courtesy of 1motherofthebride.com

Jumping The Broom 

The Jumping of the Broom has its roots in the African-American community of the United States during slavery, but used among couples of all races and belief systems.   At the end of the ceremony you both jump over a decorated broom laid on the ground before you. The straw end represents the brushing away of all their old cares and worries.   The strong wooden handle represents the strength of your commitment to each other, and the straight, unconditionally-committed path you will follow together in marriage. Some say that whoever jumps the highest will be the boss of the house!

 Passing of the Rings 

We pass your rings through your guests hands on their way to your hands.  Each guest adds a silent blessing for your marriage.

 Rose CeremonyThe Rose Ceremony

Often, flowers have been used as a means of communication.  Each flower had a special meaning.  A single red rose always meant ‘I love you.’  The Rose Ceremony gives recognition to the new and most honorable title of ‘husband and wife’.  It represents the first gift that the husband and wife share.  When they face difficulties in their marriage, they should give each other the gift of the rose to remind them of the love they share.  The Rose Ceremony is placed at the end of the ceremony just before or after being pronounced husband and wife.

Sand Ceremony

Image courtesy of Sandals Wedding Blog

Sand Ceremony 

Sand of different colors, one for each person taking part in the ceremony, are poured from separate clear vases into one clear vase, thus acknowledging that their lives are now inextricably joined in caring, commitment, and support.  This ritual has been used many times in the ceremonies that I have officiated.  The beautiful layers of sand are similar to the painted colors of the desert when the pouring with finished.  The Couple is the last to top all the other sand with their own color.

Unity Candle Ceremony

Image courtesy of Stress Away Bridal

 Unity Candle Ceremony

This ceremony has many variations.  In it you acknowledge that each person is a flame of individuality, passion and purpose.  And in your marriage, and in lighting the unity candle you are creating a new flame, the couple, which will offer you courage, strength, and reassurance as you walk the uncharted territory before you.  The families of the couple could light the individual candles that the couple then use to light their individual candle, representing the creation of their new family.