Sunday 5 March 2023

Wording for a Wedding Ceremony - Pagan Elements & Handfasting

If you're the kind of couple who haven't attended many weddings, it can be difficult to come up with ideas when it comes to thinking about your own wedding ceremony. It's easy to get caught up in planning the party, the food and the cake, but many forget that it is at the ceremony they actually become husband and wife. It is the words they say to each other and the declarations made in front of their guests that will be looked back upon as the years pass.

Usually your celebrant or officiant will provide you with plenty of options to consider for your ceremony, but a ceremony that has been personalised with some of the things that are truly special to the couple and reflect who they are always leave those in attendance with a sense of connection and sincerity. 

Today we thought we would bring you an actual ceremony that was put together by a couple who wanted to incorporate some Pagan elements to their day. We hope you enjoy it and we look forward to bringing you some more ceremony options.





The Ceremony


Welcome:

(Warming of the rings) On behalf of Andrew and Kathryn I would like to welcome you here today to celebrate with them as they pledge their commitment to one another in marriage. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for being here and showing them your support.

 

Introduction:

We have come together here in celebration of the joining together of Kathryn and Andrew. There are many things to say about marriage. Much wisdom concerning the joining together of two souls, has come our way through all paths of belief, and from many cultures. With each union, more knowledge is gained and more wisdom gathered. Though we are unable to give all this knowledge to these two, who stand before us, we can hope to leave with them the knowledge of love and its strengths and the anticipation of the wisdom that comes with time.

 

The law of life is, love unto all beings. Without love, life is nothing, without love, death has no redemption. Love is anterior to Life, posterior to Death, initial of Creation and the exponent of Earth. If we learn no more in life, let it be this.

 

Marriage is a bond to be entered into only after considerable thought and reflection. As with any aspect of life, it has its cycles, its ups and its downs, its trials and its triumphs. With full understanding of this, Andrew and Kathryn have come here today to be joined as one in marriage.

 

Giving of the bride:

Celebrant: Others would ask, at this time, who gives the bride in marriage, but, as a woman is not property to be bought and sold, given and taken, I ask simply if she comes of her own will and if she has her family's blessing.

 

Celebrant: Kathryn, is it true that you come of your own free will and accord?

 

Kathryn: Yes, it is true.

 

Celebrant:  And with whose blessings accompany you. 

Bride's attendant: She’s accompanied with her father’s blessings.

 

Envoking the elements:

In times past it was believed that the human soul shared characteristics with all things divine. It is this belief which assigned virtues to the cardinal directions; East, South, West and North. It is in this tradition that a blessing is offered in support of this ceremony.

 

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the East. Communication of the heart, mind, and body Fresh beginnings with the rising of each Sun. The knowledge of the growth found in the sharing of silences.

 

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the South. Warmth of hearth and home The heat of the heart's passion The light created by both To lighten the darkest of times.

 

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the West. The deep commitments of the lake The swift excitement of the river The refreshing cleansing of the rain The all encompassing passion of the sea.

 

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the North Firm foundation on which to build Fertility of the fields to enrich your lives A stable home to which you may always return.

 

Each of these blessings from the four cardinal directions emphasizes those things which will help you build a happy and successful union. Yet they are only tools. Tools which you must use together in order to create what you seek in this union.

 

Any Legally Required Words

 

Reading: Why Marriage? - Mari Nichols-Haining

Why Marriage? Because to the depths of me, I long to love one person, with all my heart, my soul, my mind, my body .

 

Because I need a forever friend to trust with the intimacies of me, who won't hold them against me, who loves me when I'm unlikable, who sees the small child in me, and looks for the divine potential of me.

 

Because I need to cuddle in the warmth of the night with someone who is thankful, with someone I feel blessed to hold.

 

Because marriage means opportunity to grow in love in friendship.

 

Because, knowing this, I promise myself to take full responsibility for my spiritual, mental and physical wholeness, I create me, I take half of the responsibility for my marriage together we create our marriage.

 

Because with this understanding the possibilities are limitless.

 

  

The Handfasting:

Celebrant:  

Please join hands. As your hands are joined, so now are your lives.

Above you are the stars

below you are the stones

as time does pass

Remember

Like a star should our love be constant

Like a stone should your love be firm

Be close, but not too close

Posses one another, but be understanding

Have patience with one another

For storms will come, but they will go quickly

Be free in the giving of affection and warmth

Make love often, and be sensuous with one another

Have no fear and let not the ways or words

of the unenlightened give you unease for the Gods are with you.

 

Vows: 

I ask you now to exchange your vows. We’ll start with you Andrew.

 

Andrew:  I ask all present to witness that I, Andrew James Lane, take you, Kathryn Cameron, to be my lawful wife. I pledge to share my life openly with you, to speak the truth to you in love. I promise to honour and tenderly care for you, to cherish and encourage your own fulfilment as an individual for the rest of my life. I am honoured to call you my wife, my soul mate and I will love you unconditionally forever and some more.

 

And now it’s Kathryn’s turn.

 

Kathryn:  I ask all present to witness that I, Kathryn Cameron, take you, Andrew James Lane to be my lawful husband. I pledge to share my life openly with you, to speak the truth to you in love. I promise to honour and tenderly care for you, to cherish and encourage your own fulfilment as an individual for the rest of my life. I am honoured to call you my husband, my soul mate and I will love you unconditionally forever and some more.”

 

Celebrant:  Andrew and Kathryn have made their vows to each other in the presence of those dear to them; I then take this cord and bind them to those vows.

 

(Celebrant ties the ribbon around hands).

 

The Asking/Exchange of Rings

Celebrant Kathryn and Andrew, as these circles are designed without an ending, they speak of eternity. May the incorruptible substance of these rings represent a love glowing with increasing lustre through the years. Bless these rings which you give to each other as the sign of your love, trust, and faithfulness.

 

Celebrant: Andrew will you take Kathryn to be your wife and soul mate, to travel through all your lives together, to love, laugh, cherish, communicate and understand each other as long as love may last?

 

Andrew; I Will.

 

Celebrant to bride;

Kathryn will you take Andrew to be your husband and soul mate, to travel through all your lives together, to love, laugh, cherish, communicate and understand each other as long as love may last?

 

Kathryn; I Will.

 

Bride and groom say together

“Heart to thee, soul to thee, always and forever, so mote it be.

 

Celebrant: So mote it be

 

Guests: So mote it be.

 

Announcement:  Now that you have joined yourselves in marriage, may you strive always to meet this commitment with the same spirit you now exhibit. We all bear witness to this ceremony you have just performed, may the gods bless this union, and may the majesty of this earth protect you in your joined lives together. You may now kiss your bride.

 

Signing:

We will now be taking a few minutes to sign the legal paperwork. Please Feel free to take photos.

 

Presentation:

Having said that It now gives me great pleasure to introduce to you for the first time as a married couple……Andrew and Kathryn Lane.

 


Sunday 12 February 2023

Valentine's Day - What's it all about?

 


Every year, the 14th day of February sees all of us, no matter what age or sex, scurrying about organising surprises, no matter how big or small and presenting our loved ones with flowers, chocolates and whatever other treat or gift we can think of to show our love.

Every table in every good restaurant is usually taken well in advance and God help the poor boyfriend, husband or fiancée who didn’t get a chance to shop!

While we give cards and gifts and hope we have someone care enough about us to leave a little surprise the history of St Valentine's day is actually very sweet and deserves some recognition.

Valentine's day, some say, originates from a bishop named Valentine, who was stationed in the Roman Empire. At that time the Emperor was Claudius II, who took it upon himself to decide that men who were not yet married actually made better soldiers than did the ones with wives and families.

It was this belief that brought about his decision to make it a rule of law that young men could not marry. Such an outrageous decision caused distress for so many young men and their sweethearts that round 270 A.D., it was bishop Valentine who took great pity on these poor and lonely soldiers who were pining for their loves and he began performing secret marriages against the ruling of the Emperor.

Once the secret marriages were found out Claudius II was enraged and jailed Valentine. While imprisoned Claudius II began his attempts to convert Valentine insisting that he worship only the Roman Gods, but Valentine refused and Instead, he began his own campaign to convert Claudius to Christianity.

Valentine was sentenced to be executed on February 24, 270.

There is also another version of the history of Valentine’s Day which tells a more romantic side to the story (which we all love of course!)

While imprisoned, Valentine fell in love with his jailer’s daughter. Just before his death, he sent his beloved a note telling her of his love and at the end the signature read “from your Valentine.” With the tale of deceit, romance and death, those who knew the story began to talk of the demise of Valentine and over time his fame was far reaching.

Bishop Valentine, having not only sacrificed his own life to help the young couples in love, also overcame the reality of his predicament to fall in love with his executioners daughter, became what a “Patron Saint” of love.  As time passed his legend lived on and many considered him the patron or spiritual overseer of an annual festival held on the 14th of February, in which young couples would give cards of love and affection to those they were not only already in love with, but to those they wished to date.

There are even Valentine cards in museums worldwide that date back to 1415.

We will leave you on this day of celebrating the uniqueness and beauty of love with this:

Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments.

Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove:

0, no! it is an ever-fixed mark, that looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wandering bark,

Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.

Love’s not time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle’s compass come;

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, but bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

 

 Happy Valentine's Day!

 

Wednesday 1 February 2023

Wedding Rituals and Traditions - Hindu - The Seven Steps Tradition

 


A traditional Hindu ceremony, in most cases, is quite extravagant and beautiful, incorporating many different rituals and traditions. It is often filled with chanting and Sanskrit blessings dating back to a time long ago. The wedding ceremony is known as 'Samskara', and in India, it can last for days or even weeks. In the West these ceremonies have been modified, they are usually a little less extravagant, but can still last over two hours.

Requirements:  Sari, Fire, Puffed Rice

The central component of a Hindu wedding ceremony is 'Saptapadi', or the 'Seven Steps'. In this ritual the Bride’s Sari is tied to the Groom’s Kurta. Alternatively, a shawl may be draped from his shoulder to her sari. The couple then link ‘pinky’ fingers and the Groom leads his Bride in seven steps around a ceremonial fire.

While this is taking place the celebrant chants the seven blessings and vows for a strong union. These are adapted here in English from the Hindu ceremony.

Example:

1. “May this couple be blessed with an abundance of resources and comforts, and be helpful to one another in all ways.

2. May this couple be strong and complement one another.

3. May this couple be blessed with prosperity and riches on all levels.

4. May this couple be eternally happy.

5. May this couple be blessed with a happy family life.

6. May this couple live in perfect harmony… true to their personal values and their joint promises.

7. May this couple always be the best of friends.”

With each step, they throw small pieces of puffed rice into the fire, representing prosperity in their new life together. The action of walking around the fire indicates that they agree to these seven blessings. This is considered the most important part of the ceremony as it seals the bond forever.

This ancient ritual can be easily adapted into a contemporary civil marriage ceremony with the use of an ornamental pot of fire that can be placed on a small table. The bride and groom can then take seven steps around the table, while the seven blessings are spoken in English.

It is not necessary to be Hindu to incorporate a ritual such as the Seven Steps in a marriage ceremony. Rituals and Traditions are becoming ever popular, with couples all over the world trying to find a ritual that is different and unique, that will make their ceremony memorable. As long as they remain respectful of the culture to which the ritual belongs, the use of it then makes for a beautiful and meaningful experience for all.

Tuesday 24 January 2023

Wedding Rituals and Traditions - Gorgeous Wedding Earth Ritual

 This is one of our all time favourites!



Requirements: Guest participation, medium sized plant pot and seedling

In most wedding traditions, the main focus is naturally on the bride and groom, and where appropriate, their children. They seek to convey the significance and beauty of bringing two individuals together or in uniting a family. The ‘Earth Ritual’ does this, but it goes a little further by involving all of the family and friends in attendance. They not only take part, but are asked to contribute and it is this contribution that sets the foundation for the ritual.

When sending out wedding invitations a small note is included, asking each guest to bring a small container filled with some soil from around their home. (it only needs to be a small amount, especially if it is a large celebration.)

A medium sized plant pot and a seedling are placed on a nearby table. At a certain point in the ceremony, the celebrant may introduce the ritual that is to be performed.

Example:

‘Amanda and Alex have chosen to include a special ritual in their ceremony that involves all of you as their loved ones – those people that they hold most dear.

Each of you has been asked to bring a small amount of soil which was lovingly taken from your own home, filled with love and hope, and today it is hoped that as each of you place your earth into this vessel, it will retain that love.

Once the pot is full, Amanda and Alex will plant the seedling that rests beside it, ready to grow and be nourished by the love of all of you.

I would now like to invite the parents and grandparents to come forward.’

(Once they’ve finished)

‘If everyone else could now please come forward.’

(When everyone has added their earth)

‘Amanda and Alex – your pot has now been filled with the love, hope and best wishes of all of your family and friends. It has been taken from their own lives, their own homes and now passed on to you as symbolic foundation of your future life together. As you now plant the seedling, let its growth and beauty be a constant reminder of the blending of your two lives and families and the love and support that they have for you as they watch you grow together.’

(Couple finish planting the seedling and the celebrant returns to the concluding of the ceremony)

This ritual is easy to do and very effective. As long as everyone participates, its significance is beautiful and memorable. The wording can be changed and easily adapted to suit all situations.

The Wedding Gurus xx

Thursday 12 January 2023

Wedding Rituals and Traditions - Handfasting with Children




Some time ago we brought you a version of a 'handfasting' which has been very popular on the blog, so we thought we would follow it up with a fabulous way of including children in this wonderfully meaningful ritual.


Including children in a handfasting:


Celebrant
: 'When we think about marriage we immediately visualize the joining of two people. But this is not always so. Marriages unite families and as is the case in many families today who already have children, they give us a wonderful opportunity to celebrate and embrace some of the other important relationships in our lives.


During a wedding ceremony rings are sometimes exchanged with a promise. As (Bride) and (Groom) are not exchanging rings, but instead binding their hands, they thought appropriate that their children should also take part as a reminder of their promise to them on this day.


(Bride & Groom) wanted to find a way to let their children know now how special and wonderful they are, and how privileged and blessed they feel to be their parents'.


Children step forward and their hands are bound with the parents

Celebrant addresses children:

'(Insert children’s names): These are the hands that will support encourage and protect you through all of life’s ups and downs, happy times, sad times, love and we hope, great joy. This binding is a reminder of the love and respect that each of you have for the others and that which will last for a lifetime'.

You can amend the wording of any of our ritual examples to suit your own family circumstances. Check out some of the others we've shared in previous posts.


The Wedding Gurus x

 


Tuesday 3 January 2023

Hens Night planning - The Basics you need

 

Planning a Hens night can be stressful, but we're  here to help.


There are loads of ideas that can be found online, but here's a little overview to get you started.



3 Months prior

-    The hens night planning should begin at least 3 months  prior to the wedding, the last thing you want is for the night to be a flop and the bride to feel disappointed because you left it to the last minute. 

      Ask the bride what type of hens night she is hoping for: a night on the town, a weekend getaway, a day of pampering or a fun night at home. Aim to understand her comfort level remember what you may consider as a fun night out she may consider as a nightmare and there is nothing worse than a humiliated bride. Determine the demographics of your guest list and plan accordingly, your aim as the organiser is to ensure all your lovely guests have a safe, fun and memorable night.

-    Next you should establish a date, we suggest for this to be between 2-3 weeks before the wedding, NEVER EVER EVER do it the night before! The only exception to this golden rule is if the bride or bridal party are flying in for the wedding – and if so keep it low key. If there is any inclining that the bride is still under the influence of alcohol on the wedding day, the priest/celebrant won’t allow the ceremony to go ahead not to mention a sick, hung over bride and an angry groom, are the last things you want on your conscience.

-    Write your guest list, again correspond with the bride, she may want only her close friends or her entire family,  in some cases she may even be inviting people from interstate or overseas– either way you must respect her decision and invite accordingly.

 

2 Months prior

-    Send out a ‘save the date’ email 2 months prior to determine the number of available attendees whilst ensuring you have given the best opportunity for everyone to attend.

-    Brainstorm ideas including the location of the event, possible activities / games / tours etc. If it is necessary to make reservations then make sure you make your enquiries and book nice and early to avoid disappointment of missing out.

-    Remember at this point that you don’t want to overschedule the night by cramming in too many activities, the last thing you want is to make your guests feel rushed or scattered by jumping from one location to another.

-    Think responsible, the inevitable part of a hens night is alcohol so organise appropriate transport and accommodation to ensure your guests have a fun and safe night.

 

1 Month prior

-    Send out your invitations approximately 1 month prior to ensure all of the brides busy friends have time to clear their schedules. This should not only include the basic information such as time/date/location/theme but also a polite request for payment if necessary and an itinerary if your planning a pub crawl or something similar.

-    If you are planning a night on the town consider starting at a restaurant - a meal before the big night is a good way to soak up that alcohol later on. Set out your itinerary organising appropriate transport between each location if they are not within walking distance of one another. Inform the pub/clubs of your attendance and in doing so hinting for hens night discount or freebie.

-    If you are planning your party at home organise for nibbles, refreshments, alcohol, games, music and decorations, (stayed tuned for our top fun games and decoration ideas posted up each month).

 

1 Week to go

-    So, its 1 week before and now the fun begins, the best part about the hens night is the shopping hunt for the male genital paraphernalia and other naughty props. Of course if this is not what the bride is ‘in to’ as such other accessories such as tiaras, veils and sashes are also a fun and a valuable part of the night.

-    Make sure you have all of the equipment you require for the games, and most importantly a great knowledge and understanding of how they are run, nothing ruins a good party like a clueless host.

-    Lastly confirm your guest list as they are your most important asset, there is nothing that reads ‘bad host’ or ‘failed hens-night’ like no guests and a disappointed bride.

 

It’s Party time!

-    Given you have carefully followed this checklist, have done your research and are fully prepared there is nothing you should be worried about On the day so most importantly let loose and HAVE FUN!

Good Luck & Happy Planning

 


Wedding Rituals and Traditions - The Dove Release

In this post we've chosen to bring you a look at the Dove Release which can be a beautiful and symbolic addition to any wedding ceremon...