Photo by Denlo Photography
Wedding Ceremonies / Vow Renewals/Commitment Ceremonies
Baby Naming and Welcome Ceremonies
- I will create your ceremony with you, to suit your choices and venue.
- Customize and entirely personalize your celebration.
- Incorporate and honour familial, spiritual, secular, cultural or cross-cultural elements and traditions.
- Include rituals and enhancements of your choice such as unity candle ceremony, sand ceremony, handfasting amongst others….
- Combine your ideas and desires to produce the perfect ceremony for your special day.
Commitment Ceremonies are becoming more popular in recent years for couples who may not be able to, or choose not to have a legally binding marriage. It is a service that allows a couple to make a commitment to each other and to publicly affirm their love for one another with family and friends present, much like a wedding ceremony. You can further express your love by pledging vows, exchanging rings or gifts and include ceremony enhancements such as the Unity Candle Ceremony, Handfasting and others. Like a wedding ceremony, one can include music and readings and invite guests to take part. The profession of your love at a Commitment Ceremony is declaring to all present that you are in this relationship for the long term. Some couples are having these ceremonies before embarking on legally binding marriages, perhaps considering it a trial period before taking the final legal step. A sensible idea, some would say![/caption]
Vow Renewal Ceremony
A Vow Renewal Ceremony is an opportunity for a couple to renew the vows they have made to each other when they first got married. It is a way to commemorate a love that has deepened or matured between a couple and a celebration of the life they have created together thus far, a promise to continue to love each other in the next chapter of their life. A vow renewal ceremony is not meant to be a second wedding, instead it is meant to be a more personalised and intimate affair to be celebrated with family and friends, an opportunity to reaffirm the pledges you took on your wedding day and reinforce them.
Baby Naming and Welcoming Ceremonies
A Naming Ceremony is a beautiful way of welcoming your baby into the world, to the family and community. It is a formal naming of your child or a blessing for your baby and family. Certain promises are made by the Parents, Life Guardians/God Parents, Grandparents or indeed other important people in your child’s life who may want to pledge their support for the future. The ceremonies can be religious, non-religious, secular or spiritual or indeed a blending of beliefs and cultures, created to entirely suit the needs and choices of your family. There are several beautiful ceremony enhancements that one can include in a naming or welcoming ceremony such as the flower and petal rituals, time capsule or wishing well. If the ceremony is held in the family home, a tree planting ritual can be a wonderful way to celebrate and welcome the child.
For adopted and fostered children, a welcoming ceremony can be a truly wonderful occasion. It gives the child a tremendous sense of belonging and the festivities of such a celebration will be a special and memorable life event for the child and the entire family as the new member is blessed and formerly welcomed. Pledges and dedications are also made to the child as in the Naming Ceremonies which really can highlight the love and togetherness of the family unit they have now joined.
For all these ceremonies, one can include poetry, readings and of course music, all moulded into a beautiful service as you bestow a name to your child or welcome a new family member. Simply put, a naming day is a joyful symbolic celebration that requires no licences and has no legalities, just plenty of love, devotion and support
Unity Candle Ceremony
The Unity Candle Ceremony is one of the most expressive rituals included in the Wedding Ceremony or Commitment Ceremony and a lovely way to involve family members or loved ones in your special day. The single candles represent the two separate lives before the marriage or union. The candles can be lit by a member from each family, the Parents, other family members or indeed the couple themselves, it is purely a matter of preference. The couple, joining the two flames together, light the unity candle as a symbol of their love and togetherness while beautiful words are spoken.
The Sand Ceremony is another beautiful ritual enhancement where a coloured sand of your choice is poured into a clear vessel to give a layered effect. Like the Unity Candle, the ritual symbolises the coming together of two people and two families. Other colours can be added by family members or children. This is a powerful way to express family unity and harmony. The vessel can be a lasting memento of your special day.
Handfasting is an ancient Celtic marriage ritual. It is a symbolic binding of the hands which inspired the terms “bonds of matrimony” or “tying the knot”. Using ribbons or cords and maybe attaching trinkets or charms that are dear to your heart or in remembrance of a loved one, can be very moving and poignant. Ribbons probably provide the widest range of colours for handfasting. The couple may prefer to choose one or two colours or perhaps invite their children, guests or family members, to add their own chosen coloured ribbon to the handfasting. Everyone has a favourite colour and maybe a particular colour is significant in your life, or it could simply be a colour that matches the theme of your wedding. Here we see pink denoting unity, happiness, love, honour, truth and romance and blue for tranquility, understanding, patience and health.
The Loving Cup
The Loving Cup is a shared drinking container traditionally used at Weddings and Banquets. It is usually made from silver and has two handles. The Loving Cup Ritual can be found in many European cultures, including the ‘Celtic Quaich’, the French ‘Coupe de Mariage’ and the Russian ‘Bratina’ (brotherhood cup). The Bratina is a wine bowl also used for Banquets and Weddings and considered the Russian version of The Loving Cup. The idea is that the Cup or Bowl can be passed to guests and all who drink from it will share friendship and unity forever.
The ritual is still very much alive today and is used and modified in many Wedding and Commitment Ceremonies and has also been adapted for use by the couple or newlyweds only, and not shared to all guests. The idea is that the couple take their first drink together from the vessel after their pledges or vows and the ritual can be woven into any ceremony very easily. However, it is a matter of choice and the couple may want to share their cup with family members or indeed all present.
The cup could be an heirloom which may be traditionally passed down to the new couple or a gift from a family member, usually engraved with a beautiful sentiment for the occasion. Nowadays you will find cups in all shapes and sizes, silver, gold or ceramic, there is an enormous choice available.
It is a simple but poignant ceremony enhancement ritual. It is a very nice touch to have the Cup carried in procession by a member of the Wedding Party or by the person presenting it as a gift to the couple and placing it on the ceremony table throughout the service. The Couple might enjoy their favourite ‘tipple’ from it during the festivities.
The Feet Washing Ceremony
This ritual may not be something you have considered or may not be an obvious preference for your ceremony, but it is certainly featuring more and more in Wedding & Commitment Ceremonies in recent years.
It is a Christian based ritual representation of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples as a symbol of love and humility. Many couples have chosen to include this ritual in secular and non-religious ceremonies. It demonstrates that neither is above the other, as human beings we are all equal and in marriage, are both equal partners. Bathing the feet of your loved one shows a humility of heart and character and says, “I love you” and “I am loved” unconditionally, kneeling before each other humbly accepting who you are and committing to each other as equals.
This is a unique ritual and Yes, the logistics of such an enhancement must be organised properly and executed with taste and style, done properly it can be a very charming and emotional moment in your ceremony. You can call upon members of the Wedding Party to assist, again a great way to include loved ones or special people in your life.
Remember it is merely a symbolic gesture and does not have to be overstated, gently dipping one’s feet in the water for a few seconds is enough to derive the best from the symbolism while loving words are spoken appropriate music played.
An Ash Scattering Ceremony
is a lovely way for family members and friends to gather and say a final Goodbye to a loved one. Many families find the act of spreading ashes to be a very meaningful way to find closure and release. There are many decisions to be made and certain steps to be taken if you are planning such a ceremony. First and foremost, you need to decide upon a location, this is extremely important as there are certain regulations to follow and perhaps permissions to obtain. Please investigate by-laws. There are different ways to scatter a loved one’s ashes, each type of ceremony allows family and friends to honour their loved one in a unique, personal, distinct and beautiful manner.
– Casting is when the cremated remains are cast into the wind and dispersed across an area of land or water. This ceremony has a symbolic feeling as you are “letting go”. Where ashes are spread, you are releasing your loved one back to the earth to freely explore the special place that you have chosen as their final destination.
– Another special way to cast the remains is across water, perhaps on a lake, river, pond or the ocean. The remains can be cast directly from the Urn into the water or in recent years it has been possible to attain a Water-soluble Urn. This Urn can be placed into the water and after some minutes it will start to dissolve, slowly releasing the ashes into the water. Music, poetry, readings and a eulogy can always be included in these ceremonies and it is also a lovely gesture if those present cast a petal or flower to the water with the remains, taking a moment for a personal prayer or reflection for the deceased. For this type of ceremony, please seek information and authorisation from your local agencies or council. They will be happy to give you the necessary clarification and assistance.
The placing of an Urn into a Niche or final resting place. This is an occasion that deserves to be acknowledged and recognised just as the placing of a casket, marking the final step in the journey of saying Goodbye to a loved one. The ceremony may take place in a Cemetery, Church, Chapel or in a private location, maybe the family home, wherever the final resting place may be. The funeral may have just occurred, or it may have taken place some time before the Urn placing, either way the service can be carried out to suit the circumstances of the family. In restricted times, funerals and public gatherings are confined to small numbers, therefore it might be a comforting and fulfilling experience to hold an Inurnment Ceremony when extended family members and friends are able to attend in larger numbers, and together say their final Goodbye and pay their personal respects to the Deceased. Having such a service some time after the funeral can also find the family in a better emotional place. Music, poetry and readings can all be included in the ceremony. You way like to invite those present to come forward to perhaps touch the Urn, say a private prayer or spend a short moment in personal reflection for the loved one.
For children and young adults who may not be participating in the traditional religious rituals of First Holy Communion or Confirmation.
Steppingstones Ceremonies have been created for children who are not taking part in First Holy Communion so typically children in 2 nd class. A coming-of-age ceremony is an opportunity to support, honour, encourage and celebrate children who are stepping into adolescence or teenagers moving into adulthood. So many 11- to 13-year-olds are becoming independent, questioning everything around them, becoming more responsible, seeking support and mentorship and looking for the ability to forge their own path.