In the realm of weddings, no two are ever the same. The way we celebrate love, as well as the way we choose to sculpt our ceremonies, have evolved over time. And not only that, we've also made our ceremonies more flexible. Matched with our unique personalities and desires, we embark on the journey of matrimony in a multitude of different ways in 2024. Gone are the days when a traditional wedding was the only option. Today, couples are embracing the opportunity to create a wedding experience that truly embodies their love story. In this article, we dive into the world of wedding ceremonies, giving you some options for a 'less than traditional' ceremony, should you choose one.

The traditional ring exchange 

For most people, a ring exchange is something familiar. Both a typical and significant moment during a wedding ceremony, this precious moment at a wedding sees couples presenting each other with wedding rings as a symbol of their love and commitment. 

The timeless practice has woven its way through the tapestry of history. Over 3,000 years ago in ancient Egypt, couples swapped from materials like hemp, reeds, leather, or even ivory; the more valuable the material, the more love and luck a relationship would have. From those humble beginnings, the exchange of wedding rings has grown into the cherished tradition we know today.

Over time, the exchange of wedding rings became more prevalent, seeping into different parts of the world and evolving across different cultures and religions. In particular, the Christian church played a role in promoting ring exchange as a way to symbolise fidelity and commitment.

Later on, during World War II, the practice of men wearing wedding rings became more widespread as soldiers wore them to remember their wives and sweethearts back home. 

Today, a ring exchange at a traditional wedding usually occurs after the vows are exchanged. Some couples incorporate the ring exchange within their vows, while others have a separate moment dedicated to the exchange. 

Ideas for a less than traditional ceremony

If you're a couple looking for something slightly different from a wedding ceremony, fear not, for there are a number of things you can do in place of a ring exchange. Whether you're simply not interested in rings or you eloped and are celebrating your marriage with loved with, here are some ideas to take your ceremony up an exciting level, without rings involved!

Handfasting

More and more prevalent at weddings is the memorable tradition of hand fasting. Handfasting, an ancient Celtic tradition, adds a touch of magic to wedding ceremonies, offering couples an alternative to a ring exchange.

During handfasting, a couple's hands are bound together using ribbons or cords, symbolising their unity and the intertwining of their lives. Any kind of material can be used, and it can be symbolic and individual to the couple.

The beautiful gesture represents commitment and the deep connection that a couple shares. And as an age-old tradition, it highlights the enduring power of love and serves as a reminder of the couple's promise to support and stand by each other throughout their journey together. Truly beautiful!

Looking for something unforgettable at your ceremony? Handfasting adds a unique and meaningful element to weddings, infusing them with a sense of tradition and symbolism.

Unity candle

Similar in meaning to the traditional of hand fasting, is the ceremony of the unity candle! The unity candle is a beautiful addition to wedding ceremonies, one that symbolises the joining of two individuals - and families - into one.

Typically, the parents or family members of the couple light individual candles, representing their respective families. Then, the couple takes these lit candles and together lights a central candle, representing the merging of their lives and the creation of a new family. Having said that, if this feels all a bit much, it's also perfectly acceptable just to keep the fire between the two of you!

A unity candle is a meaningful gesture that signifies a commitment, and a lasting, loving marriage. So add the ceremony to your special day and you'll create a memorable moment that celebrates not only your love, but the coming together of your lives as a whole.

Sand ceremony

Not sure about bringing fire into your wedding? Or perhaps not even allowed it at your venue? A sand ceremony is a beautiful ritual that has gained popularity as an alternative to the unity candle ceremony over the years.

During a beautiful sand ceremony, a couple pours sand from separate containers into a central vessel. This, similar to other traditions, symbolises the merging of their lives and the creation of a new union. It represents the coming together of two individuals in marriage and the blending of their hopes, dreams, and values. Adorable, we think!

And the great thing about this ceremony is, you can do it anywhere, not just at the beach. It's also highly customisable, and it serves as a sentimental keepsake for the couple. Select different colour sands, or perhaps sands from different beaches you love, forming a memento to display in your home for years to come. 

Jumping the broom

Hoping to bring a bit of energy into your wedding ceremony? A 'jumping the broom' ceremony is a wedding tradition that holds deep cultural significance, particularly within the Black community.

During this ceremony, a couple (as the name suggests) jumps over a broom, symbolising the beginning of their new life together and the sweeping away of the past.

The origins of this tradition are complex and debated, with theories suggesting connections to Welsh broomstick weddings and West African practices. The increasingly popular tradition gained renewed attention after being featured in Alex Haley's novel "Roots: The Saga of an American Family" and its subsequent television adaptation.

Today, many couples incorporate jumping the broom into their wedding ceremonies as a way to honour their heritage and bless their marriage

Wine ceremony

Just in case you don't have enough wine at your wedding, there's also space to put some in the ceremony itself, in the form of a wine ceremony.

A wine ceremony is quite simply a symbolic ritual to signify the union and commitment of the couple. There are different variations to choose from, but common elements include the blending of wines or the pouring of separate wines into a shared glass or decanter.

Just like other ceremony rituals than involve the coming together of two lives, a wine ceremony represents the merging of a couple and the creation of a new union.

The couple take turns sipping from a shared glass, representing their commitment to support and nourish each other. Additionally, some couples choose to incorporate a wine box ceremony, where a bottle of wine is sealed in a box with love letters to be opened on a future anniversary.

Ring warming

Another beautiful ritual to include at your wedding, could be a ring warming. And although it involves rings, it is still a little different.

Before exchanging rings, a ring warming involves the couple passing their rings through the hands of their loved ones. At each person the ring stops at, blessings and well wishes are made for the couple's future. 

Another wonderful way to include your family and closest friends in the beginning of your next chapter!

February 05, 2024

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