1. Arras or Unity Coins
A unique wedding ceremony idea may be tradition in many cultures and religions. For example, the Arras Coin in the wedding ceremony is particularly popular among couples with a Hispanic heritage. The thirteen gold coins are traditionally brought down the aisle by a boy – much like the ring bearer – and then the groom presents them to the bride in a pledge of marriage.
Lily R. in Oakland, CA says a coworker of hers told her about arras coins and she was intrigued. “We were looking for something to represent unity during our ceremony but I didn’t want to do a candle. We used non-denominational Unity Coins that are a little different than arras, and our pastor helped us work it into the ceremony with a nice reading and explanation for our guests.”
2. Hand Fasting
This is a Celtic tradition, and it’s how the term “tie the knot” originated. During the wedding ceremony the couple’s wrists are loosely tied together with Handfasting Ribbons to symbolize commitment while the officiant reads a statement or prayer. Each colored ribbon in the hand fasting set has a special meaning like passion, patience, devotion or longevity.
Suzie from Marion, IN tells us “We’re not even the least bit Irish but loved the idea of the hand fasting ribbons. Our officiant helped us with a reading. After the wedding we had the ribbons mounted in a shadow box which is now on the wall in our living room.”
3. Blessing of the Gathering
Dawn from Akron, OH shares a unique wedding ceremony idea for involving the guests in the ceremony. “Just before the pronouncement, the officiant says, ‘Do all of you give your blessing to this marriage? If so, say We Do!’ And everyone yells out ‘We do!’ It makes everyone feel like a part of the joining of the couple.”
4. Musical Memories
Remember the scene in the movie Love Actually where a choir sang All You Need Is Love as the processional? If it’s allowed by your officiant and venue, go for something unexpected like a jazz ensemble, a trumpeter, or steel drummer.
Nicole from Washington DC surprised her guests with a spirited rendition of James Brown’s I Feel Good at the end of the ceremony. “We had a fairly low key wedding with traditional music, but after our pastor pronounced us man and wife we had our musicians break out with the song. Everyone was cracking up and it was the perfect sendoff for us.”
5. Unity Cup
In this unique wedding ceremony idea the couple shares wine from a special Unity Cup chosen just for the occasion. In the Jewish tradition the couple drinks from a Kiddush Cup. Like a unity candle ceremony, your officiant should work with you to choose an appropriate reading and words to explain the significance to your guests.
The Reverend David James of Mt. Kisco, NY shares this brief reading with us. “This cup of wine, the Kiddush cup [or unity cup], is symbolic of the cup of life. As you drink from the cup, may you share all the sweetness the future brings. May you find life’s joys gladdened with true companionship and love. We praise You, Eternal one, Creator of the fruit of the vine.”
6. Bouquet of Love
Have your ushers give guests a single flower as they enter your ceremony. For large weddings, select your closest friends and family to receive a flower. At some point during the ceremony your officiant will invite guests to place their flower in a central vase and explain that by doing so they are pledging their commitment to love and support you throughout your marriage.
7. Sand Ceremony
A symbol of two lives becoming one, Sand Ceremony Vases are a natural for outdoor weddings where unity candles aren’t practical. The couple each pours sand into a central vase as the officiant reads a poem or prayer. If you use colored sand the result is a pretty layered effect that can become a keepsake after the wedding.
Josephine from Parker, AZ says “We didn’t want the unity candle blowing out at our garden wedding and the sand ceremony worked great. It was really beautiful and I’ve never heard so many cameras going off at once as when we were filling that vase!”