Ceremony Traditions


Reprinted with permission by UltimateWeddings

Your officiate or church wedding coordinator may give you a selection of readings from which to choose, or you may choose from a wider range. Each of you should carefully read the choices you have and decide which fit the way you see your relationship. Some hit hard on traditional roles, and that may or may not be what you want read at your wedding. Give readings some serious thought and discuss them with one another.

Wedding Vows
Give these a great deal of thought and consideration. Whether you will be permitted to alter standard vows or write your own will vary with your particular situation. They should be a statement of your goals together. Consider whether you want to use "man and wife" or "man and woman". Discuss the vows with one another and with your officiant.

Gifts of Flowers
Often flowers or a single rose are given each of the mothers during the ceremony. This can be extended to include grandmothers and even godmothers if you desire. In the Roman Catholic Church, Some brides follow old tradition of placing a bouquet of flowers in front of a statue or picture of Mary.

Unity Candle
If you plan to include a unity candle, consider what you want it to symbolize. The individual candles can be lit by the two of you, by your mothers, by your families, or by your children from previous marriages. Once the center candle is lit, decide if the individual candles will remain lit or blown out. This depends on what you want to signify. Blowing them out can indicate that you have become one and leaving them lit can be a sign that even as you commit to becoming one, you still retain your individuality. It is something that could initiate some discussion between the two of you. You may also want to discuss it with your church. To use a unity candle, you may purchase one or decorate your own center candle in a way that is significant to the two of you.

Whether Communion is a part of your ceremony, and whether it will involve just the couple, be open to all or be limited to members of your religion, will be a matter to be decided upon by the couple or your officiant. Find out in advance so that if Communion is limited, you can put a note in the ceremony program to let people know what to expect. Giving advance notice helps people feel more comfortable and it's a matter of courtesy. If you are having a non-denominational service, you may elect to have a breaking of bread and sharing of bread and wine in place of a regular communion service. The use of bread and wine as wedding symbols goes back to ancient times.

Wedding Rings
Yours may be a double ring ceremony or a single ring ceremony where only the bride receives a wedding ring. This is a matter for discussion between the two of you. Most of the time there is some sort of blessing for the wedding rings. You may talk to your officiant about whether or not you want to use the symbol of water as part of this blessing or not. In a Jewish ceremony, the bride's ring is placed on the index finger of her right hand. The ring is a symbol of wholeness, unity and eternity.

Friends can get involved in the ceremony by writing out special blessings and reading them.

The Kiss
The exchange of the kiss between the bride and groom is the symbol of trust and a sign that the agreement has been sealed. For many guests, it is the highlight of the ceremony.