Honoring the Parents: Usually performed at the beginning of the ceremony, the officiant takes a few moments to acknowledge the role the couple’s parents have played in raising them and bringing them up to this moment when they will be married.
Moment of Silence: Also normally toward the beginning of the ceremony, taking a moment of silence to remember those friends and family who have passed away or could not attend the wedding ceremony for one reason or another.
Handfasting Ceremony: An ancient Pagan and Celtic tradition, handfasting involves tying the hands of the couple together with a ribbon, rope, or braided cord to symbolize the unity between them and the connection they share.
Wine Box Ceremony: A newer tradition, the couple write love letters to one another and seal them in a wine box with a bottle of wine, opening the box on their 10th wedding anniversary to read one another’s letters and share the bottle of wine to celebrate their marriage.
Blended Family Ceremony: For couples with children who wish to incorporate their kids into their wedding ceremony as well, this ceremony includes the children of the couple in saying vows to one another affirming their commitment and promises as a family.
Flower Ceremony: There are two versions of this ceremony, one involving the couple presenting one another with a single rose to communicate their love and commitment, and the other with the couple presenting a flower to their mothers as a way of thanking them for their love and support.
Ring Warming Ceremony: Typically done at the beginning of the ceremony prior to the vows, the officiant passes the couple’s wedding rings around throughout the wedding guests and asks each person to infuse the rings with their blessings and well-wishes for the couple’s marriage.
Sand Ceremony: Similar in intent and execution to the Unity Candle Ceremony, the couple instead pours two separate containers of colored sand into a single vessel to symbolize their union. A great alternative for a windy wedding day!
Breaking the Glass: A Jewish wedding tradition, the couple stomps on a glass to shatter it at the end of the wedding as their guests shout “Mazel Tov!” to congratulate them.
Tree ceremony: If you’re getting married outside, consider planting a sapling—it represents growth, something you and your new spouse will do (a lot of!) together. During the ceremony, the bride and groom should place soil from two separate containers on top of the planting, representing two individuals coming together as one.
Wine ceremony: A wine ritual symbolizes blending two lives (and two families!) into one. Some couples choose to drink wine from the same cup—a practice performed in most Catholic and Jewish ceremonies—while others prefer to pour two types of wine into one glass before sharing. This “blending” is symbolic of your union and the life you’ll create together
Lasso Ceremony: In traditional Mexican, Filipino, and Spanish culture, couples can celebrate unity through a lasso ceremony. After the couple recites their vows, an officiant, parent, or relative drapes two linked rosaries or one floral rope across the bride and groom’s shoulders in the form of figure eight, which represents the couple’s unity. The couple then wears the lasso for the duration of the service until the person who placed it on the couple removes it and gives it to the bride as a reminder of their commitment to each other.
Gather ‘Round: Perfect for smaller weddings, this take on a Quaker tradition involves inviting guests to form a circle together with the bride and groom. They may also be asked to share their thoughts on the couple.
Jump a broom: originated in the early 19th century, when enslaved African Americans weren’t allowed to formally marry. Instead, to unite, the tradition was to lay a broom on the ground and jump over it together. Today, the act represents a “brushing away” of the past in order to start clean.
Time capsule: Place meaningful items—like a bottle of wine created during the year you first met, a favorite set of poems, or a letter —into a box and help each other nail it shut. This modern ceremony is about togetherness, both at the time of the capsule’s creation and at its opening, on your one year anniversary.
Paint a picture: If you and your groom are artistic, express your emotions during your union with a collaborative piece of art. This couple’s officiant, an artist, led the pair through a painting.