Is your heart set on a wedding ceremony that is unique? Are you searching for the perfect signature elements that will capture the intensity of your commitment to one another or the bonds of the new family you are creating together? If so, here are three of the most popular trends in “ceremonies within the ceremony” that might be just the thing you are looking for.
A longtime favorite is the Unity Candle Lighting ceremony, in which the couple lights a candle to solemnize their joining. Today Justices of the Peace are seeing more and more variations of this symbolic and memorable feature. Among them are the Wine Box ceremony and the Tree Watering ceremony. In addition, when a wedding blends two families, the Medallion ceremony is a lovely way to include the children in the ceremony.
- In the Wine Box ceremony, the JP asks the couple to place love letters into a box which functions as a kind of time capsule. The box will also contain a bottle of wine as well as mementos of their relationship. The bride and groom are then asked to seal the box with the understanding that it will not be opened until a special anniversary or perhaps at a time in their marriage when they may need to remember the love and passion that first brought them together. The beauty of this ceremony is that it infuses great intimacy into the celebration. You can even include the children. For example, children can deliver the letters to their parents or help them to seal the box.
- In the Tree Watering ceremony, the couple is asked by the Justice of the Peace to water a sapling tree which will be planted later in an important location. The sapling symbolizes the couple’s new marriage which must be nourished and watered in order for it to grow tall and strong and develop deep roots.
- In the Medallion Ceremony, the bride and/or groom are asked to commit to the love and care of the children of their new spouse. While saying these “vows” to their new step-children, they pin medallions or ribbons onto the children’s collars or lapels. Afterwards, the JP might request the new family to hold hands, creating an unbreakable circle, as she pronounces the couple married and the family one.
Talk to your JP about whether a unity ceremony is right for your wedding. When you add one of these features to your wedding, of course you can design the ritual and craft the language to suit your desires and particular circumstances. These unity rituals allow your wedding to reflect the special connections that make you a unique couple or a singular family.
Find your perfect JP at findaJP.com.
Barbara Jay is a co-founder of the Justice of the Peace Association. She performs weddings in Westport, Connecticut.