How to officiate a wedding: What is a sand ceremony?
Symbolism and metaphor are effective ways to dramatize any ceremony. Imagery helps to make a great wedding by starting a new tradition, creating a keepsake or getting guests involved. Using imagery also makes for excellent photos.
I usually say….
“Bride and Groom have chosen to commemorate their marriage by blending sand. (Nod to couple or ask them to head over to the unity sand table) For those of you who aren’t familiar with the sand ceremony, it’s meant to represent separate lives coming together as one. Bride and Groom, today you join your lives together. The separate bottles of sand represent your lives before today. Each grain of sand not only represents every memory and experience you’ve had individually, but also represent your combined experiences going forward for many years to come. (Tell Bride and Groom to blend sand now) As these two containers of sand are combined, the individual containers of sand no longer exist, but will be joined together as one. Just as these grains of sand aren’t easily separated and poured again into their individual containers, so will your marriage be.” and then ask your couple to return to their spots.
I give my couples 16 different pieces of imagery to choose from. The most common are the sand ceremony, unity candle, and letter box or wine box. Ceremonies that don’t incorporate some piece of imagery are often too short and lack the same interest as ceremonies that use some sort of imagery. It’s a great way to keep guest’s attention and is a great way to get guests involved.
Wedding imagery often includes the unity candle, sand ceremony, wine or champagne sharing, flowers to VIPs, the blessing tree, butterfly release, parental vows, giving gifts to kids, letter box, wine box, tying the knot, hand-fasting, Irish bell of truce, stone blessing, signing the license and stomping the glass.
Often times people are invited up to participate. For example, moms are usually invited up to light their children’s individual candles before the couple then lights the unity candle. Immediate family is usually invited up to put letters into the couple’s letter box. One of their dads is often asked to present the couple with their bell, if they’ve chosen to incorporate the Irish Bell of Truce. Kids from previous relationships are often invited up to pour sand too or even light a candle. I tell couples that they’re welcome to make something up and create their own piece of imagery.
If this process still feels a bit overwhelming, click here to find out how to reduce your and your couple’s stress.
Matt T. Nathanson, 1st Officiant
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