Rhode Island Wedding Guide

Wedding Planning

Ceremonies within Ceremonies

From Christain Friedrichsen's Intimate Weddings: Planning a Small Wedding that Fits Your Budget and Style, intimate-weddings.com
RI wedding ceremonies
Photo by Michele-Yvette Photography

Whether you choose to write your vows or use the old favorites, you have other ways to make your wedding ceremony special:

Unity Candle Ceremony
One of the more popular ceremonial touches is the lighting of the unity candle, which can be done in a variety of ways. One of the more popular versions is as follows: The mothers of the bride and groom each light one taper candle at the front of the church. This usually happens just before they are seated.

Once wedding vows and rings are exchanged, the officiant explains the significance of the candles. The bride and groom each take one of the two candles that represents their individual lives and use the flames to light a third, symbolizing their oneness as husband and wife.

This activity need not be limited to the bride and groom. The couple can have their parents, grandparents, friends, children, and any other special people join in the lighting of the unity candle.

Rose Ceremony
During the rose ceremony, which has been gaining in popularity, the bride and groom exchange roses as first gifts to one another. This usually occurs after the couple has been pronounced husband and wife.

During Keely and Xan's rose ceremony, the minister spoke about the rose being a symbol of love. He asked the couple to always remember the significance of the red rose. "It is our wish that wherever you make your home there be special place in it for red roses and that on each anniversary of this special occasion you celebrate it, at least in part, by each of you bringing to that special place a red rose," he said. He also spoke about the difficulties of marriage and how the red rose can be used to remind one another to always come back to love.

Following the ceremony, the bride and groom gave the roses to the new mothers-in-law. "It was a wonderful way to end our ceremony," says Keely.

Wine Cup Ceremony
During their wedding, Shannon and Robert had a wine cup ceremony to symbolize their willingness to share in both the joys and the disappointments of life. According to Shannon, the wine cup ceremony was a way for the couple to express their view of their future together. "We knew there would be difficulties mixed in with the good, and we were affirming to ourselves and our friends that we knew this and were taking this step together," says Shannon.

For this ritual, which took place before the couple was pronounced husband and wife, each of them drank from a cup filled with wine. "We felt that the words . . . reflected who we are and what our expectations of life are. We also felt that this ceremony had not been 'overdone' like so many of the new rituals at weddings," says Shannon.

Other Wedding Rituals
You can use other rituals to personalize your wedding ceremony. The water ceremony, where the bride and groom each pour a vessel of water into one container to symbolize their union, is an alternative to the unity candle ceremony. The sand ceremony substitutes sand for the water. Couples who have children might consider the family medallion ceremony. If you choose one of these rituals, feel free to modify it to further suit you. You can even start from scratch and create your own.

Learn more on the unity sand ceremony | Find a location for your wedding ceremony