Rituals

Civil Wedding Rituals_Wedding Rings

Symbolic rituals have been incorporated into wedding ceremonies forever. Sometimes, we may think that the word ritual has a sense of religious protocol to which we are already accustomed, but civil wedding ceremonies are about symbolic acts: Precisely, the “exchange of alliances”. is a ritual in which rings are used for its symbolism of “without beginning or end”, but we have it so ingrained that we do not think of it as a ritual. The origin of the exchange of alliances dates back to the Egyptians, around 2800 BC. For them the ring was a circle that represented a shape without beginning or end, that is, infinity, eternal love and it was given on the wedding day, which did not consist of a religious ceremony but a party with food, drink, music and dancing. These rings could be made of cloth, metals and even gold. Later the Romans and the Christian religion were the ones who ended up rooting this custom as something indispensable in the sacred marriage, turning it into an indispensable symbol in the ceremony.

Today there are many rituals that can be incorporated into ceremonies in which the bride and groom choose some elements that symbolize or represent the union of the couple. in which, depending on the number of guests, only the bride and groom can participate, some guests who are special to the bride and groom, and in others, even all the guests can participate: the parents of the bride and groom, if the couple has children and even some very special friends. We can incorporate the one you want because of its symbolism, the way it is performed, tradition, your customs, professions… Ask for information and we will tell you how they are and which is the one that best suits your civil ceremony. We are available by Whatsapp at (+34) 699 903 691.

1.- Marriage arras
They are a traditional element used as a symbol of commitment and prosperity in marriage. They have their origin in ancient Roman and Visigothic traditions, where coins were used to seal marriage contracts.
They consist of a set of coins that symbolize the union of the couple and the desire for prosperity and the promise to share the assets of the marriage.
In many cases, the arras are usually thirteen silver coins that are presented in a small tray or special box. Each of these coins represents a month of the calendar, to which an additional coin is added as a symbol of the generosity of sharing with the less fortunate. This last coin used to be made of bronze or a lower quality material than the other twelve.
The exchange of the arras is carried out right after


2.- The ritual of the joining of hands or ties
Surely this is one of the most popular rituals. Many times we do it without ribbons: the simple joining of the bride and groom’s hands is a wonderful thing. It is a moment when they go from sitting in front of me, to standing, looking at each other, as I read the meaning of the hands. The guests are amazed because they have never seen something like this, so simple and so beautiful, facing each other, holding hands. Here I have put a photo of ribbons, we have done it with ropes, natural ribbons, others with colors that represent the bride and groom and in other occasions the guests have also participated in this ritual.
This ritual allows the participation of some guests, usually important people for the bride and groom, to whom we recommend not to say anything, but to keep it as a surprise, so they will not be thinking that they are going to walk down the aisle and they will be nervous for several days.


3.- The ritual of the stones
It comes from the Scottish tradition. Long before the existence of rings, the elements of the earth were taken as a symbol of the union of couples: stones come from the earth and earth is life, they are also ancient and strong, symbol of the endurance and strength of the couple. There are several versions of this ritual: one in which the bride and groom say their vows by placing their hand on a large stone on the altar table, another version in which the guests participate by picking up a stone when they arrive at the ceremony, and another version in which the guests write a message of blessing for the bride and groom. During the ceremony the stones are collected in a basket and the bride and groom take home the blessings of the guests.


4.- The ritual of the rose
In this ritual most couples choose red but if your ceremony has a special color, the color of the rose may change. With this ritual the bride and groom give each other their first gift as husband and wife, with the promise to place a rose in a vase on each wedding anniversary, as a reminder of the moment they shared.
It is a ritual in which the parents of the bride and groom can also participate by offering this gift as a welcome to the family. The bride and groom receive the roses and at the end they place them in a vase to continue with the ceremony.


5.- The ritual of light or candles
The presence of fire on the altar, even in its small form as a “ candle flame” is very significant: fire is a natural element that has accompanied man since his origin. Candles are always very popular and especially for an idea that we believe is worth considering a Candle as a symbol of unity. It can also be done outdoors, but in these cases we will tell you how to do it.
The Unity Candle symbolizes lives coming together in marriage. It is a large candle lit by the bride and groom, sometimes by the bridal couple along with their children, indicating that all are now an inseparable part of each other.
It has a variant in which more guests can participate.


6.- The ritual of the wine and the menu, or the time capsule.
The goal is to keep memories of the moment we are living right now. For this purpose, you can have a box ready that will be sealed afterwards. In this box, you can put wedding favors, including a nice bottle of wine. It usually involves writing a love letter to your spouse and keeping it in the box/capsule. It should then be buried in the family garden or stored away from prying eyes. In a few years, usually 5, 10 or 15, you will be able to open it, remember your wedding and read the love letter it contains. If you put a bottle of wine in the box, it has a symbolic purpose: like wine, you believe that your love will grow stronger and last through the years. It’s a great way to renew your vows and see how your relationship has evolved over time.


7.- Plant a tree
Planting a tree to symbolize the union in marriage is an ancient ceremony recognized in many cultures around the world. It is also an eco-friendly practice that appeals to couples looking for a new twist on more traditional wedding ceremonies, such as the light ceremony or jumping the broom, for example.
The beauty of the tree ceremony is that there is no set way to celebrate it, so it can be personalized according to the theme. “The symbolism of the tree is simple and beautiful: it represents that a relationship takes root, grows and blossoms as it officially becomes a family.” If planting a tree (or a potted plant, even) sounds like something that will bring even more meaning to your big day, ask us and we’ll tailor a script for you.


8.- Ritual of the sand
This ritual originated in Hawaii. The bride and groom hold two small jars filled with different colored sand, which they then mix in a third small jar. This means that they accept their spouse’s differences and that their union is insoluble, since it is now impossible to recover only their grains of sand. However, your sand retains its color, symbolizing that you retain your own personality, but now you are one. If you already have children, they can also mix their sand. For silver or golden weddings, this is an example of a ritual in which the whole family can participate: the bride and groom, their children and grandchildren can each participate with their own little jar of sand in a great moment for the whole family.


9.- The ritual of breaking a glass
We have had the opportunity to perform this ritual with a French couple, where the groom was Jewish. At the end of the ceremony, a cup wrapped in a napkin is placed and the groom breaks it by stomping on it. Afterwards, all the guests shout in one voice: “Imazal Tov!” It is important that the cup is well wrapped so that no pieces come loose.
This ritual has several interpretations throughout history, such as the one that recalls the destruction of the Jewish temple at the time of Jesus Christ. This shows us that even in their happiest moments, such as their wedding, they are obliged, and want, to remember the moments that defined their people and that even today continue to move them. I choose the one that represents the fragility of a marriage, so that the now husband and wife should take care of that union just as one takes care of a crystal glass so that it does not break.


10.- The ritual of bread at weddings
Although bread is something universal, the custom of the bread ritual in the ceremonies comes from Slavic lands, in which a few days before, the family participates in the elaboration of the bread that the bride and groom are going to take as the first common food of their marriage (bread is considered a symbol of happiness, wealth and abundance). Although I have had the opportunity to perform this ritual in a ceremony with a Russian bride and a Spanish groom, a variant has also arisen in which instead of eating a piece of bread, the bride and groom throw a pinch of bread and the one who takes the biggest piece, they say, will be in charge of the marriage for the first few years. This may cause a moment of surprise for the guests, but we do not know if it is scientifically proven about the reins in marriage. 😉


11.- Ritual of the broken bowl
This ritual consists of repairing an object by highlighting its imperfections with real gold dust, instead of trying to hide them. The broken object, by assuming its past, paradoxically becomes more resistant, more beautiful and more precious than before the impact. From the repair of this object, the bride and groom show their resilience. They testify to your full acceptance of the other person and their past, their weaknesses and scars. They also accept that in a couple’s life there are sometimes storms that can crack a little the foundations they have built, but that allows them to look for ways to do better and better, to learn from their experiences and to use them to feel stronger and more united.


12.- The ritual of the tree of vows
More original than the famous guestbook, you can place a tree, either natural or paper, in the center of your wedding venue. Next to the tree will be available to guests, a paper on which they can write what they want: wishes of happiness, write your love for you, their wishes for your partner, etc.. After the ceremony, you can collect the papers, read them and store them in a safe place.

13.- The bride and groom library
If you are lovers of reading, the bride and groom can ask the guests to come with a book. This will get the guests thinking about the bride and groom, what they would like to recommend to them. Next, they should place what they have brought in a large box that they will open after the ceremony box that opens after the ceremony to create a library. Your family members can bookmark or highlight the book. Of course, your guests should explain why they are giving you this book. You will be able to know what history you mean to your loved ones. It is a ritual for intimate weddings.

14.- The cocktail ritual
There are many more: The ring ritual, the seed ritual, the thread ritual, the fire ritual, the 4 elements ritual, the salt ritual, the chocolate ritual, the spice ritual, the cocktail ritual, the grape and wine ritual, the rope ritual, the aisle ritual, the burning of fears, the footprint tree ritual, the padlock ritual,,,,, in these more than 10 years doing civil ceremonies we have done more than 30 different rituals in the ceremonies: Just for the bride and groom, for couples with children, for the bride and groom and their parents and for some or all the guests to participate. If you are thinking of something special for your ceremony, talk to us. We will be happy to assist you. The bride and groom will have to create a cocktail together with the ingredients they like: by mixing, these ingredients become inseparable. The bride and groom then taste the cocktail while explaining to the guests what each ingredient means to them. You can also invite your family and friends to try it.

15.- The ritual of the wishing tree
More original than the famous guestbook, you can place a tree, real or paper, in the center of the wedding venue. You will invite the guests to place a piece of paper in it on which they can write whatever they want: wishes of happiness, write their love for you, their wishes for your partner, etc. After the ceremony, you can collect the papers, read them and keep them in a special place to reread them over time.

16.- Burn your fears
Every groom has fears. Before the ceremony you have to write them in black and white. Just before the ceremony, you should express them orally to your future husband and talk about them. This ritual has a symbolic aspect: you trust your partner, you trust that he will not try to make your fears come true, or at least he will help you overcome them, and you no longer fear the future with him. During the ceremony, you must burn the two papers containing your fears in a container. In this way, your husband is the only person who knows your fears.

17.- The ritual of the padlock of love
This ceremony consists of two locks and two keys: it symbolizes the opening of the heart and the life of the other. Your partner is the key that has made this love possible. Now, at your wedding, you unite this love in absolute and eternal unity.
In the Love Lock Ceremony, the bride and groom lock their individual heart locks as one. Then you can be sure that the keys that first unlocked your hearts can never be used to separate what has come together at your wedding. Sometimes, keys are thrown into a place from which they can never be retrieved. Sometimes they are tied to helium balloons and released; sometimes they are buried in a significant place or melted in a bonfire.


18.- Paint a picture
In the center of your reception room, place a painting and an easel. Each guest can come and draw whatever they want and whatever reminds them of you. Everyone can participate if they wish. At the end of the ceremony, you will have a magnificent painting lovingly drawn by your loved ones, especially if there are real artists around you. Of course, you will need to store it carefully and you can use it as decoration for your cozy little nest.

19.- The ritual of jumping over a broom
Some couples who get married end the ceremony by jumping over a broom, together or separately. Jumping the broom is a widespread custom among African-Americans, popularized in the 1970s by the Roots series. It was used in the mid-19th century in the United States among enslaved West Africans in the South who were not allowed to marry (because marriage gave the couple moral, but not legal, rights over each other, which conflicted with the law).
Normally, a couple in love would place a broom on the ground and jump on it as a kind of “I do” as a sign of commitment. The broom jumping was always done in front of witnesses.
Nowadays, jumping the broom can be seen as a joyful step across the threshold that separates single life from married life. The bride and groom accept all the responsibilities and receive all the blessings that accompany this leap. The broom marks the separation between the past and the future. By jumping together, they renounce their past and unite to face the future.

20 – Balls of wool
The bride and groom throw balls of wool to the guests in front of them. Those who receive a ball of wool must tie it to a finger and throw it to someone at the other end of the aisle. From one strand to the next, a spider web will be formed as the officiant encourages guests to throw the balls of wool to each other to create a bond. This will bring a lot of laughter and allow families to get to know each other. This ritual symbolizes the bonds that are created with our loved ones, family and friends.

21 – Passing rings
This is a ritual for weddings with few guests, in which we can get everyone involved. The officiant explains what we are going to do: We call the person who brings the rings, but instead of bringing them directly to the altar, he hands them to one of the guests who passes them to the guest next to him and so on until the rings finally reach the altar. During this brief moment when the guests hold the rings in their hands (usually in a small box), they take the opportunity to send their best wishes to the newlyweds. Violin music may play in the background during this time.

22.- Celtic Ceremony
This ceremony is usually held at night and outdoors, to establish a connection with nature. Before receiving the rings, the hands of the bride and groom are washed with water and salt, “cleansing” any negativity that may exist.

23.- The chuppah ritual
Of Jewish origin, it is also well known. Originally, the chuppah was the canopy under which the officiant celebrated the union and the couple pronounced their vows. In the modern celebration, the parents of the bride and groom cover each other’s shoulders with a blanket, possibly hand-embroidered; the bride then circles the groom seven times to symbolize the building of the marital home.

24.- The foot washing ritual
The ritual of foot washing symbolizes the fact that the bride and groom should serve each other, being the refuge of their partner. It shows the care and zeal that the couple must maintain in their relationship.

25.- The ritual of the cup
In all these years we have performed ceremonies for couples from almost all over Europe and some bring their own traditions to the ceremonies such as the ritual of the cup, where the bride and groom drink at the same time from the same cup as a symbol of their union and not a single drop should fall. The origin of this ritual dates back to the Middle Ages, in the city of Nuremberg, in southern Germany, where a young noblewoman fell in love with a goldsmith and her father did not approve of this marriage and she rejected the proposals of the nobles who asked for her hand. His father was so enraged that he had the young goldsmith locked up in the dungeon. But this did not make him forget about the goldsmith and the father created what he thought was an impossible task: ‘If your goldsmith can make a chalice from which two people can drink at the same time without spilling a drop, I will release him and you can be married. The goldsmith created a girl whose skirt was hollowed out to serve as a cup and her raised arms held a ‘much smaller cup’ which she spins so that she could fill it and then turn to a second drinker. The ‘Nuptial Cup’ or ‘Wedding Cup’ is still a symbol; Love, fidelity and good luck await the couple who drink from this cup.

26.- The ritual of the ribbon of flowers
Some foreign couples have asked me about the ritual of the ribbon as something typical of the Spanish tradition, but I have not had occasion to do it in weddings between Spaniards, in fact I have only performed it in a ceremony between a Russian and a Mexican. This ritual comes from the late Spanish Middle Ages and after the discovery it was exported like many other customs to the other side of the Atlantic. In Mexico, this custom took root and today it is carried out with flower ribbons, rosaries or simply strings, which are placed around the neck of the bride and groom, adapting the shape of the infinity symbol, representing their union.

27.- The ritual of bread at weddings
Although bread is something universal, the custom of the bread ritual in the ceremonies comes from Slavic lands, in which a few days before, the family participates in the elaboration of the bread that the bride and groom are going to take as the first common food of their marriage (bread is considered a symbol of happiness, wealth and abundance). Although I have had the opportunity to perform this ritual in a ceremony with a Russian bride and a Spanish groom, a variant has also arisen in which instead of eating a piece of bread, the bride and groom throw a pinch of bread and the one who takes the biggest piece is said to be in charge of the marriage for the first few years. This may cause a moment of surprise for the guests, but we do not know if it is scientifically proven about the reins in marriage. 😉

Ritual of spices for weddings

There are many more:
The one of the rings, the one of the seeds, the one of the thread, the one of the fire, the one of the 4 elements, the one of the salt, the one of the chocolate, the one of the spices, the one of the cocktail, the one of the grape and the wine, the one of the ropes, the one of the corridor, the one of the tree of footprints….
In these more than 15 years doing civil ceremonies we have done more than 30 different rituals in the ceremonies: only for the bride and groom, for couples with children, for the bride and groom and their parents and for some or all the guests to participate. If you are thinking of something special for your ceremony, talk to us . We will be happy to assist you.

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