As part of the service, many couples are now choosing to incorporate a unity ceremony, symbolizing them uniting together as one. Unity Ceremonies can be added into a services that is designed by a Wedding Celebrant. If you would like a unity element within a Portuguese ceremony, we will need to discuss this with the individual Registrar.
Unity Ceremonies are also a nice touch when bringing together two families, as any children and other family members can be involved. There are a number of unity ceremonies, often used, but the World is your oyster and you can use your imagination to find something symbolic to you to incorporate into the ceremony. You can also see what suits your venue.
Here are some ideas….
For the sand ceremony, you have one main container or glass vase and at least two other ones. The outer containers are filled with sand, which could be different colours. These represent the different individual people. The Bride and Groom then have a container each and gently tip their sand into the main vase, symbolizing two individuals coming together as one.
“Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so will your marriage be”.
If you have children together, they can have a container of sand too, bringing everyone together as a family.
You can buy Sand Ceremony kits from the internet, but it works just as effectively with nice glass vases and coloured sand bought from a craft shop. You can also use sand from the beach.
One couple gathered sand from beaches they had visited and we found the words to make this special.
The Sharing of Wine
Pouring wine into one glass and then both sharing the glass is another way to symbolise the coming together as one in marriage.
“The goblet of wine is symbolic of the cup of life. As you share the wine, you promise to share all that the future will bring. All the sweetness the cup of life holds for you is sweeter because you drink it together; and whatever drops of bitterness it contains are less because they are shared.”
Wine and Love Letter Ceremony
This is a truly romantic tradition that starts at the ceremony but continues your life time together. Prior to the ceremony, the Bride and Groom write a love letter to each other, expressing their emotions at the time, how they felt when they met and any hopes and dreams they have for the future. They do not show each other their letters.
During the ceremony, they have a bottle of wine and a box. As part of the ceremony you place your letters in the box with the wine and seal the box. The idea is to then wait until your 5th wedding anniversary when you sit and open the box and read the letters you wrote each other. You then write another letter to each other, replenish the box with another bottle of wine and save it for your 10th anniversary.
However, if prior to your 5th anniversary you ever find your marriage facing hardships, you both sit, open the box and read your letters, reminding you of the reasons why you are together and the magical feelings of love you share for each other. There are beautiful words for this ceremony and hopefully you will get to drink lots of bottles of good wine.
There are more and more places on the internet where you can order butterflies to release at your wedding. According to an American Indian Legend if anyone desires a wish to come true they must first capture a butterfly and whisper that wish to it. Since a butterfly can make no sound, the butterfly can not reveal the wish to anyone but the Great Spirit who hears and sees all. In gratitude for giving the beautiful butterfly its freedom, the Great Spirit always grants the wish. So, according to legend, by making a wish and giving the butterfly its freedom, the wish will be taken to the heavens and be granted.
The unity candle symbolises the very essence of the wedding ceremony. Two taper candles, representing the couple as individuals, are used to light a single centre candle, as a visible symbol of their commitment to each other. There are many variations on this ceremony to make it unique. One example is that your parents can light the individual candles, allowing you both to then use these to light the central unity candle. You can buy unity candles on-line which have your names and the date of the wedding printed on them. Another nice idea is to decorate the candle with ribbons in your wedding colours. One word of advice though… if your ceremony is to be held outside… think about the wind!
The Rose Ceremony
This is generally held at the end of the main ceremony. The Bride and Groom each hold a rose.
“In the past, the rose was considered a symbol of love and a single rose always meant only one thing – it meant the words I love you. So it is appropriate that for your first gift – as husband and wife – that gift would be a single rose.”
You then hand your rose to the other person. There are some lovely words that go with this ceremony. There are also options to place the rose in a vase of water, representing the rose which can not survive without water, as you can not survive without each other.
Warming of the Rings
Incorporating the Warming of the Rings into your ceremony allows you to involve everyone in the congregation. Rather than the best man passing you the rings to exchange, you choose someone (often nice to be a child) to pass the rings to a member of the congregation, who warms the rings by holding them and silently offering you both best wishes for the future. They then pass the rings to the person next to them and on it goes until everyone has warmed your rings and filled them with good wishes and your rings are returned to the front. We then continue with the exchanging of the rings in the normal way. There are some lovely words that can introduce this and during the warming of the rings you can play music.
The Hand Ceremony can be conducted either during or at the end of the main ceremony. The couple face each other and hold hands. There are beautiful words that are then said by the Celebrant about how your hands play are part in your future together. Here is just one line to give you an idea:
“These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow and forever.”…..
This is very similar to the Hand Ceremony, but involves a cord or ribbon being wrapped around your hands which you hold in each others. We would normally conduct a Hand Fasting just before the exchange of rings.
“This binding represents the love that has bound you together until this point. It will continue to bind you to one another until the binding of your wedding rings takes its place and the ribbon is removed.”
This tradition is a way to involve lots of generations of the couples families and a way to include any children the couple may have. You first choose a glass bowl that you would enjoy having in your home. Each grandparent, parent, step parent and so on, is given a small vase or dish filled with coloured marbles, each dish using a different colour, signifying the individuality of each family member.
The grandparents pour their colour marbles into the Unity Bowl, representing the foundation for this marriage. This is followed by each setUnity Bowl of parents and anyone else involved. After each person adds their marbles, the celebrant stirs the colours together creating new mosaics each time. Siblings and other special friends may be invited to participate as well. The Bride and Groom then add their two colours and at every stage we are honoring each generation. Ultimately, the family members are reminded that each of them, in their own way, has colored the lives of the couple. Therefore, each has developed specific tastes, goals, morals, choices…and thus the Bride knows she has found her perfect Groom, and the Groom knows he has found his perfect Bride.
Finally it is noted, just as the mosaic has continually changed, so is change the most dependable constant in a couples married life. They are called on to embrace change, find what can be learned from each change, and over the years to put their own hands in and stir up the design in the bowl, with every change they encounter. They keep the Unity Bowl with all its contents as a memory of all their family members and loved ones present at their wedding and a symbol of their ever changing lives together.
The Rock Ceremony
The Rock Ceremony is a beautiful unity ceremony which can involve all your family and guests. Although small, polished stones are usually used, you can choose to use any other token you desire… seashells, glass or crystal, flowers, etc. Just like the Warming of the Rings, everyone holds their rock tightly and makes a special wish for you both. All the rocks and every-ones wishes, are then collected in a container which you get to keep forever.
“As the stones have been combined with love into one container, so now are your friends and family joined, through you, into one.”
What you could also do is hand out pens for people to write special messages or words on the rocks.
I have conducted many balloon releases as part of the ceremony. It works nicely at the end and can be as a celebration of the wedding or a way of remembering those no longer with us. It also is a great way to involve all your guests.