As you plan your wedding ceremony, you undoubtedly want to personalize it to who you and your future spouse are as a couple. This is probably the most important and meaningful part of your wedding day, so of course you want to make it special. While most weddings that are religious in nature usually come with their own standard traditions, marriages performed outside a religious affiliation (commonly referred to as “secular” ceremonies), don’t come with built-in traditions. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t create a wedding ceremony without meaning. Here are some interesting secular wedding traditions to consider as you work through planning your ceremony.
Unity Candle Lighting Ceremony
A common secular wedding tradition is to light a candle. This is a beautiful way to symbolize your unity and new marriage. Each set of the couple’s parents can light a candle before the ceremony. Then, the couple uses the two candles to light one larger candle as a means of sealing their union during the ceremony. It’s even more special since it can get parents involved.
The Padlock Ritual
This ritual is one where the couple writes or engraves their names on a padlock, also denoting their wedding date. They can also choose to write an agreed upon wish. Then, the couple will lock the padlock and throw away the keys. This is a way of symbolizing their union and undying love and commitment to one another. It’s very romantic and easy to do, making it a wonderful tradition to enlist for your ceremony.
Jumping the Broom
Another secular wedding tradition is to jump the broom. This is a longstanding tradition dating back to the 1600s, and was originated by African-Americans during a time when slaves were not permitted to marry. As a way of uniting, they would literally jump over a broom on the floor. This can be done at the end of a secular wedding ceremony to symbolize a new beginning together and “sweeping” the past behind.
Planting a Tree
Trees are very symbolic in a secular wedding ceremony. This is because it’s a living thing that grows into the earth and high into the sky. The roots of the tree represent a healthy foundation. Planting a tree is the perfect tradition for nature lovers who want to symbolize the budding of their new marriage and how they expect it to grow into something lifelong and everlasting.
The fun thing about this tradition is that it involves all of your guests! This tradition is believed to have Celtic origins. Here, you pass the wedding rings to all guests at the ceremony using a uniting ribbon or thread. Ask guests to “warm” the rings as they enter the ceremony, where they will place a silent blessing or well wish onto these important symbols of your love and unity.
Wine Box Tradition
If you and your future spouse are wine lovers, this is the perfect tradition for you! However, you may have to do a bit of planning. Each partner writes a love letter to the other. Then, you each pick out a bottle of wine and find a box that will hold both. During the wedding ceremony, your officiant can say something meaningful and place the bottle and the letters into the box. It will then be sealed until your five-year anniversary, when you’ll drink the wine and read the letters. How special, right?
These traditions are simply suggestions for your own wedding. Be sure to pick those that make sense for you as a couple and that resonate the most with you.