Ritual is a wonderful way of ensuring your ceremony is memorable for your guests, but more importantly, it’s a way of making your ceremony meaningful and unique for you. We have lots of suggestions to share with you for ancient rituals, as well as ideas for modern, and creative and quirky rituals.
Whether you’d like a ritual to involve just you, or to involve all your guests, or just your children, or just your parents, or just the bridal and groom parties, there’s something for you ranging from colourful, to dramatic, to sacred, to eco, to Celtic. You might be wondering what could be eco? Well, we’ve had some couples exchange trees instead of rings, and one couple planted a tree during the ceremony as a thanksgiving offering to the place in nature where we held the ceremony.
You can draw ideas from any culture and tradition. For example hand tyings have actually been used throughout history the world over, however, these days, many would most strongly associate them with Scotland. Whether you’re considering a hand tying because you’ve seen it on the big screen in Outlander or Braveheart, or Game of Thrones, or perhaps you just like the idea but have never witnessed one, we have several versions to offer you.
- Candle Lighting Ritual
We don’t imagine candle lighting rituals will ever go out of fashion. They can be elegant and timeless, or colourful and creative, giving the opportunity to light a central candle to remember loved ones, or to light a marriage candle to represent unity, or to include the children to represent a new family unit coming into being. They can be one of the most visually beautiful symbolic gestures.
- Sand Ritual
Another way to involve children is by having a sand ritual, which might include sand from your favourite beaches, or a different colour of sand to represent each family member. You might also involve parents, or you might simply pour two colours of sand to represent each of you as individuals, and as the grains of sand mix, they create a new pattern representing your new union.
There are lots of different versions we look forward to telling you about.
- A Quaich Ritual
Whisky is very strongly associated with Scotland, and it’s probably no surprise that sharing a drink from the traditional Scottish drinking vessel known as a Quaich is very popular – but don’t be put off if you don’t like whisky. Over the years couples have chosen other drinks they enjoy more, including gin and tonic, juice, water, and champagne!
We also know of a whisky mix you might like even if you don't ordinarily like whisky! We're full of ideas!
- A Handfasting
Consistently one of the most popular rituals you might choose to have, a handfasting ritual includes some form of hand binding or hand tying.
There are several versions we can tell you about - some involve other people such as parents and children, or family and friends, and some are incredibly simple.
If you've been inspired by big screen romantic hand tying moments like Outlander, Braveheart or Game of Thrones, we look forward to re-creating your own version of a very moving and special moment.
- Unusual Ritual
Some of the more ancient rituals are less known, and so less popular, but still great fun!
Some involve money, as in days gone by when the bride and groom attempted to leave the church or churchyard, they would find the doors closed to them until the groom paid up to pass! You find this kind of ritual in other cultures too.
We like the version known as ‘Groom’s Siller’ with wording to honour the bride and groom’s intention to care and provide for each other. (Please note this photo needs replacing!)
- Sharing Food And Drink
Food and drink can be very enjoyable to share in a ceremony, either with everyone present depending on numbers, or just with the couple getting married.
If you enjoy fine wining and dining, or growing your own produce or making your own wine, this can be very symbolic and personal, or we can take ideas from a traditional handfasting such as sharing cakes and ale, or from the Christian tradition in which sharing bread and wine is symbolic.
- A Ring Warming
A ring warming offers a way of involving all your guests and is not as nerve-racking as it sounds!
Your rings are made secure in a bag or box or tied together with ribbon, so your guests are not likely to lose the rings even if they drop them!
As each guest holds the rings they are invited to imagine they can infuse the rings with their positive thoughts, prayers or well wishes.
- Unique Celtic Ritual
Many grooms will don a kilt for their wedding, and part of the traditional kilt outfit is to tuck a small single edged knife known as a Sgian Dubh (pronounced skeen-DOO in Scottish Gaelic) down the sock of the same side as the dominant hand. The hilt of the knife is still visible. We have created a very Celtic ritual around this kind of knife, using a sword and tartan, which involves the bride and groom, and others if wished - it's great fun!
- Jumping The Broom
And finally jumping the besom or broom looks fantastic! You can ‘jump’ or some couples prefer a more sedate ‘stepping’!
Very often this ritual will close a ceremony, and represent the sweeping away of the past, to make way for the unknown adventure of the future.
We have a broom we are happy to lend you, or you might prefer to source your own and take it home as a keepsake! And some couples get a 'witchy' kind of broom with a very twiggy end, and we have seen just ordinary hardware store long handled brushes used.
- Exchanging Rings
And the most popular ritual of all - that of exchanging rings. The exchanging of rings has to be one of the best ways to express your uniqueness and there are many, many extraordinary jewellers across Scotland who can help create that perfect ring for you - or maybe you'll do a workshop and make your own?
Whether you'll have a plain and simple band, or something ornate or unusual, you can quite simply place the ring on one another's finger in silence, or you can enlist the help of a child ring bearer, or a bestman or bestwoman, or incorporate some kind of blessings or vow exchange at the point of the ring exchange.
And rings don't have to be metal - they can be made of wood, or ceramic or enamel, or thread - or if you're a plumber, plumbers' pipe?! - or it's possible to have a ring tattooed.