Sharing of Drinks
Wine is the customary libation to share, but use your imagination. How about a Martini if you're not a wine fan?
Two glasses of Martinis are poured. The couple drinks while their arms are interlocked. This interlocked drinking style needs some practice – so have fun with it! But don't practice right before the wedding. You can't be inebriated while getting married!
Wine changing color is a fun ceremony. A glass of white wine and a glass of red wine are poured. Each of you will take a sip from both glasses then pour them into a larger single wine glass. The combination results in a rosé color which symbolizes the blending of your hearts together to become one. You could also have a toast to the bride and groom, right after the ceremony, using rosé wine.
Hand fasting or hand tying
There are many rituals that have lasted centuries that symbolize couples' love and commitment. The hand fasting ceremony dates back to the time of the ancient Celts. It was practiced to acknowledge the beginning of a trial period of a year and a day during which time a couple were literally bound together - hand fasted. It was however a temporary agreement, which could be made permanent after the trial period, if both parties agreed.
Nowadays, the hand fasting ceremony is only used symbolically, as marriage according to the law in Alberta is a lifetime commitment. The bride and groom’s hands are joined together, usually holding hands so the wrists and pulses are touching with a ribbon or symbolic material looped over the bride and groom’s wrists, which I then tie. I also perform a variation asking several questions of the couple. For every question they agree to a ribbon is placed on their hands. At the end of the questions I tie the knot for them.
Rose Exchange Ceremony
In the elegant language of flowers, red roses are a symbol of love - the giving of a single red rose is a clear and unmistakable way of saying the words "I love you." For this reason it is fitting that the first gift you exchange as husband and wife would be the gift of a single red rose.
Mothers Rose Exchange Ceremony
Marriage is a coming together of two lives and a celebration of the love of two people. But it is much more than that. The love that the couple feels for one another is the flowering of a seed that their parents planted in their hearts years ago. Today, as they embrace one another in their love, so do they embrace the families that have come together to celebrate with them on this happy occasion. As a sign of their love for their families, the couple offers roses to their mothers as symbols of their eternal love for them.
Unity Sand Ceremony
Pouring of colored sand crystals from clear glass vases into a larger vase gives a symbolic and visually poignant expression of being joined as one. This is fun for children to participate in also. Each person in the family has a different color of sand. Each person takes a turn pouring his or her sand, thus creating a unity work of art keepsake.
Unity Candle Ceremony
During this ceremony both of your mother's light candles that stand on each side of the Unity (center) Candle. Other options include letting your children light a candle. These lit candles represent your separate lives, families and experiences before the wedding. Once the outer candles are lit then the bride and groom light the center candle at the same time. If the wedding involves a blended family, everyone can light the centre candle at the same time. Now the families and experiences are united into one.
Commitment ceremonies mean many different things to different people. A commitment ceremony can look just like a wedding, complete with church, wedding gown and many guests - but without a marriage license. Or, it can be the most alternative event imaginable: a ritual to bless your relationship or just a big party to celebrate your love. It could be an intimate exchange between you and your partner. Perhaps this will be a family rite of passage to strengthen the bonds between parents and children. Call it a commitment ceremony, a wedding, a ceremony of union, or anything else you like!
Any married couple can renew their vows any time they want, but having a reason for doing so can make the occasion feel special. Perhaps you eloped without your loved ones there to witness your big day. Maybe you couldn't afford a big wedding the first time around, but are ready to throw a huge gala now. Perhaps you or your partner has overcome a major life difficulty, such as an illness or a career crisis and you want to show that your love is stronger than ever. Maybe you've patched things up after some strain in your union and want to reaffirm your commitment to each other.
Blessing to the Four Directions
The Blessing to the Four Directions has its roots in First Nations culture. It is the belief that human beings are tied to all things in nature. It is this belief that assigned virtues to the four cardinal directions East, South, West and North. It is in this tradition that a blessing for each direction is offered in support of this ceremony as a sacred space is created for the rite of marriage.