The Lighting of a Unity Candle: In many Christian ceremonies, the bride’s parents light a candle, and then the groom’s parents light another. Together, the bride and groom use these two candles to light a third, larger candle of their own. This ritual represents the joining of two families in a love that burns as brightly as a flame.
Jumping the Broom: African-American couples will sometimes choose to honor their ancestors by jumping over a ribbon-festooned broom—a ritual created during the time of slavery, when marriage between slaves was illegal.
Handfasting: In a ritual that originated in Great Britain during pagan times, the bride and groom bind their hands together with a ribbon, symbolizing the joining of their lives. Today, many couples do this immediately before or after the exchange of rings.
Rose Presentation: Some brides and grooms will present a single rose—a symbol of love—to their mothers early in the ceremony as a gesture of love and gratitude.
Medallion Presentation: In a wedding that includes children from a previous marriage, the new stepparent might present a medallion, charm or other piece of jewelry (like a ring or pin) to the partner’s children during the wedding ceremony. This gift, like the couple’s rings, serves as a reminder of commitment to each member of the newly blended family.
Tweaking Tradition: Fresh Takes on Old Customs
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