Dulcie James
The Independent Celebrant with
the listening heart

Tel: 07964 290933   email: hello@celebrant-dulcie.co.uk

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Featured Ritual - Hand fasting

Hand fasting traditionally is made between a couple for a year and a day. At the end of that period the couple could have decided whether they wished to renew those choices or not. Historically it was also used as a betrothal, as at the end of a year and a day the couple could choose to marry or choose another mate!

When the couple chose to marry - it was then said that they had “tied the knot”! It is a Celtic custom and often used in festival type weddings. This is a lovely addition to a wedding ceremony as you an bring in members of the family or friends to bring forward several ribbons, cords etc.

The colours of the ribbons/cord used can also be a symbol for the couple. Here are some examples:

RED represents a passion for life physical energy, and health. It is also representative of physical love, and the  ties of blood and family. These have particular importance regarding marriage.

PINK is the colour of tenderness and femininity. It is the colour associated with romantic love.

ORANGE emphasises sweetness, trust and creativity. It represents warmth and a compassionate heart. Orange can also signify the a healing of a wounded heart.

YELLOW evokes respect, light, sunshine and spontaneity.

GREEN is for compassion, unconditional love and balance. It reflects  the colour of  nature, life and healing.

LIGHT BLUE represents communication, contentedness , harmony and self expression. It is the colour that represents  honesty.

DARK BLUE is for intuition, wisdom, emotional intelligence and charisma. As it is the colour of the ocean and the sky it could also symbolise the unknown future of adventure that lays ahead for the newly weds.

PURPLE represents peace, spirituality and selflessness. It also evokes royalty and richness, could be used then to symbolise the depth of your love.

WHITE represents a new beginning and evokes safety, honesty and  perfection. White could also represent the blank pages upon which the couple will write their story.

Ring Warming Ceremony
This is an old Irish ceremony that enables first row guests to be part of your ceremony.  The Bride and Groom’s wedding rings are passed around the guests on the first row during the ceremony. (NB: there is not usually time for this to be handed to the all of the guests, the other guests can be invited to make a wish etc etc.) Each person briefly holds the rings and makes a wish, a blessing or short prayer for the couple. The  Wedding Rings are then returned warmed by all the the positive vibes for a long and happy marriage.

Candle Ceremony
 (not recommended for outdoor weddings)
This is a popular choice where the  Bride & Groom can participate in the ceremony and give their guests  a good visual  representation of the love that they have for each other. It is usually done  by the Bride and Groom each having a lit taper candle which they together light the main centre  candle .It symbolises the union of the couple and the merging of their two lives.

Sand Ceremony

Sand is used here to symbolise the coming together of two lives. The bride and groom  each pour a coloured sand  into a glass vessel. This ritual can easily be extended to include children or members of the family or guests. The colours of the sand used can  be used to provide extra symbolic meaning.

The vessel once completed makes a lovely keep sake  and looks attractive with the many layers of sand.

First Kiss - Last Kiss
This is a very tender and poignant and  special moment, where the Mother’s of the Bride and Groom are called upon before the pronouncement of Husband and Wife, before they take their first kiss..

In this ceremony the Celebrant invites the bride and grooms Mum’s to come forward explaining how these two woman were the first to welcome these children into the world and kiss them for the first time. Now they will be the last to kiss them in their single life and wish them well into their marriage. It can sometimes be an emotional moment for the Mum’s, Bride and Groom and their guests.

Jumping the Broom
This ritual symbolises a new beginning and takes place at the start  or at the end of a wedding. It represents the sweeping away of problems and burdens of the past and  the ‘leap’ into their new life. It also signifies the joining of the two families. The broom can be decorated with ribbons and flowers and kept afterwards as a keep sake of the day. The choice of colours can be give  added meaning as in symbols of colour give in a hand fasting colours.   This is an old African-American tradition and very current today.

Wine Ceremony
The Wine Ceremony or also known as “Cup of Life” includes the sharing of a glass of wine between the bride and Groom at the end of the ring exchange. Usually two cups are used for the ceremony. However if one cup is used it is referred to as he ‘Loving cup’ and typically has two handles. As the couple take their first cup as Man and Wife, it not only celebrates their lives to this point but an expression of hope and faith for their future life together.

Rose Ceremony

Roses have long been seen as a symbols  of love. This is a simple ritual which can be added to the Ceremony. The Bride  and Groom exchange the gift of a single rose as a symbol of  their love for each other. Specific wording of this ritual can be added to the ceremony, so that it can be publicly acknowledged to their guests.

Chocolate Ceremony

This is a simple and quick ritual! Quite simply the Bride and Groom each eat a piece of chocolate to symbolise their love for each other and a life of richness in love to follow.  A selection box of chocolates could be used symbolising life choices ahead for them, with which they each eat one.

Anniversary Box
(also known as Love Letters or Wine Box Ceremony)

This is still a fairly new ceremony and  has a romantic notion behind it.  Before the wedding the Bride and Groom write love letters to each other. During the ceremony, in front of the guests seal them in a box, and add a bottle of wine if desired. The box is opened at a later date such as anniversary or other milestone. Guests can also add their notes of love and wishes too.

Four Elements Ritual
This has been adapted from a Nigerian tradition, it uses the four elements of  bitter, sweet, hot and sour. These four elements represent  the ‘for better or worse’ for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health’ aspect of the ceremony, it enables a modern slant on these traditional words. It is a visual and  auditory as the Celebrant will talk the Bride and Groom through the ritual as they taste the elements:

Bitter - either of the following:     Coffee - Beer - Unsweetened Cocoa - Lemon Juice
Sour -  either of the following:       Dry wine - Diluted Cider Vinegar - Grapefruit Juice
Hot -    either of the following:       Chili sauce - Curry sauce - Pepper sauce
Sweet - Either of the following:      Milk Chocolate - Honey - Strawberries   

Oathing Stone Ritual
Whilst the reading and reciting of the Wedding Vows are taking place, the Bride and groom hold the Oathing stone in their hands. Traditionally it was believed that in holding the stone at this time was that it “casts the words into stone”.

The stone can be engraved or painted with the couple’s initials on, date and time. The chosen stone can be a semi-precious stone, or have other significance such as stone from a certain region. After the Wedding  the Oathing Stone can be kept as a keepsake.

The Oathing Stone is  an old Celtic tradition and originally the  stone was “released back into nature” by throwing it together into a river or leaving it in a place of beauty!

Tel: 07964 290933   email: hello@celebrant-dulcie.co.uk  www.celebrant-dulcie.co.uk