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Humanist Weddings Elements

Below are some of the ceremony elements you can incorporate into your Humanist Wedding ceremony. They can be customised as needed and are just suggestions you can use them all some or none in your actual ceremony. This is one of the advantages of having a Humanist wedding in that the content can be customised by you and your celebrant to be exactly what you wish.


X & Y, have chosen to incorporate the ancient Celtic ritual of hand fasting into the ceremony today. Hand fasting is the marriage ritual that was common in Ireland & Scotland in pre-christian times. It’s where the phrase ‘tying the knot’ comes from. The tradition includes the concept of ‘soul love’; the old Gaelic term for this is ‘Anam Cara’.  Anam – soul , Cara – friend - and hand fasting is an expression of such love. Would you please stand & clasp hands?
X & Y, in declaring your intent to be hand fasted, you are also declaring your intent to live by all the vows and commitments you make today.
Do you vow that these are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever?   We do       
Do you vow that these are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future? The hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other?    We do                 
Do you vow that these are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind? The hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow, and tears of joy?             We do      
Do you vow that these are the hands that will tenderly hold your children? The hands that will help you to hold your family together as one?        We do
Do you vow that these are the hands that will give you strength when you need it, the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch?             We do

As your hands are bound together so your lives are joined in a union of love and trust.
Above you are the stars and below you is the earth. Like the stars your love should be a constant source of light, and like the earth, a firm foundation from which to grow.


Sand/water/soil  Ritual

You can buy coloured sand or maybe better for each party to collect sand from a beach or river that has special significance for them or their family). We can explain that significance

X & Y have chosen to incorporate a sand/ water/ tree planting ritual in their wedding ceremony. This container (hold it up) represents X and contains sand/water/soil  from????? and this one (hold it up) represents Y with sand/water/soil from??????. The two sands will be poured into the large container to symbolize X & Y’s combined destinies and lives. 
Please blend the sand together as a symbol of your union 
(X & Y combine the sands in the big jar)

Just as the grains of sand/soil/molecules of water  can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so it is with X & Y – they’re inseparable. 

Tree planting

Soil - I had one couple who took soil from their respective grandparents gardens (they’d both spent childhood summers with grandparents) and they planned to use that soil when planting a tree in their garden – a living monument to their lives & their marriage.

Now can you pour the mixed soil into the container holding the (name species) tree. This tree will be planted in (name place) as a living monument to their marriage. Just as the tree is nourished by the soil from both your home places so your marriage is supported by the strong families you both come from. Both the tree & your marriage will provide shelter & nourishment for the family you plan to have yourselves


These containers hold sands special to both X & Y. They have collected them from all over Ireland and abroad, from places that have a significant meaning to each of them.
When you combine the sand it represents your lives joined together as one and just as the grains of sand can never be separated your lives will alwa
ys be intrinsically entwined. You may now blend the sand together as a symbol of your union.

(If couple have children)
Invite children to join us and add their contribution. These bottles of sands, of various colours, symbolise the(number) children. Let’s add them to the mix, 
(the kids pour thei
r sand into the big jar & one of them gives the whole lot a good stir)
All the sands combined will form something quite beautiful and represent the all of you joined together as a family. 

Water: - Often people use water from special rivers/lakes/beaches.
The process is similar to the sand ceremony


Chocolate Ceremony

Life can be full of both sweet and bitter times to symbolise this our couple will now take part in a chocolate ceremony. Party1 will firstly feed Party2 a square of Milk Chocolate to represent the light and sweet things they will experience as a couple.
Then Party2 will feed Party1 a square or Dark Chocolate to represent the dark and bitter times they may experience but like the Chocolate their love for each other will melt them away!

Take a Shot

Life is full of highs and lows, full of sweet and bitter times. While it is important to have someone who stands by you in the tough times its just as important to have someone to celebrate with in the good times.
To symbolise this and to steady their nerves for what’s to come our couple will now Take a Shot Before They Tie th
e Knot!

Irish Wedding Coin

No Irish marriage is complete without the passing of a coin between groom and bride. The groom will hand his bride a newly minted silver coin and say the words, “I give you this as a token of all I possess.”
The coin is kept as a memento of that moment, and becomes a family keepsake. The mother will pass the coin to her eldest son on his wedding day, and he will pass a new coin to his bride to restart the tradition.


Fisherman’s knot

X & Y have chosen to incorporate the ritual of the fisherman's knot into the ceremony. It’s a true lovers knot, which becomes stronger under pressure.
These two cords represent each of you as individuals and the unique and special attributes you bring to your marriage. Knotting the cords together represents the joining of your lives. The completed knot represents your future, secure in the knowledge that your relationship will continue to be strong, despite the inevitable challenges you will face. 
Although the fisherman's knot is one of the simplest to tie, it is also one of the sturdiest. As stress is applied, the knot becomes stronger. It is the goal of marriage to achieve a blending of hearts and minds but there must also be space to encourage and nurture the individual growth of you both as you hold one another in mutual concern and shared respect,
X & Y pull on the cords & see the knot strengthen. Let this knot indicate the strength of your love and be a symbol of your unity from this day forward.

Salt Ceremony

The Salt Ceremony is another old tradition you could incorporate.

The table holds 3 small bows ( I have a set ) 2 contain salt of different types and the 3rd bowl is empty

Script can include – Our couple have chosen to incorporate the ancient tradition of salt exchange into their ceremony today.
In the past salt was a very valuable item and mixing salt was often used to symbolize how important and significant the ceremony was.

Each person takes a pinch of Salt from their individual bowls and they mix them in the 3rd bowl. Just as the grains can never be put back from where they came from so it is with the couples live it is unbreakable.

Wine Box

X & Y have written private letters to one another which they will now put in a box along with a bottle of wine. When they have their first Fight or on the occasion of their 1st  anniversary whichever comes first... , they will open the box, drink wine together, and read the letters that they wrote to one another to reflect on why they fell in love with and married each other in the first place. 
They will now proceed to seal the box shut.


We have one final ritual. X & Y have written private letters to one another which they will now put in a box along with this bottle of wine. A bottle that wouldn’t be great if it were drunk today but in 5yrs time will be at its very best.
On their 5th anniversary they will open the box, read their own letters, read each other’s letters, swim in a sea of romantic nostalgia and get tipsy on the wine & their memories of young love, their wedding day & all of you wonderful people who were with them today.

To quote ― W.B. Yeats
“WINE comes in at the mouth 
And love comes in at the eye; 
That's all we shall know for truth 
Before we grow old and die. 
I lift the glass to my mouth, 
I look at you, and sigh.” 

Let’s lock the box and leave it in the care of an honourable upright citizen, if there’s one in the company, who could be trusted to mind alcohol for the next 5years.

wine box.jpg
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