13 Unique Wedding Ceremony Ideas & Activities

Though the wedding ceremony takes up just a short part of your wedding day, it’s a huge part of what makes the day a wedding – this is the moment you’ve been waiting for! You say your vows, exchange rings, and officially tie the knot. While there are plenty of traditional ceremony scripts and Bible verses, shouldn’t the moment you say “I do” feel true to you? 

Many couples also choose to say their vows privately and exchange a separate ceremony when in front of their guests. Incorporating a ceremony activity is the perfect way to get the best of both worlds.

Adding a personal touch to your ceremony is the perfect way to make your ceremony feel like your ceremony – so here are 12 unique wedding ceremony ideas and activities to consider!

1. Handfasting

Handfasting is a wedding ceremony idea that traditionally comes from Ireland, but it’s become popular all over the globe! Before, during, or after your vows, the two of you will hold hands as the officiant loosely wraps a cord, ribbon, or scarf around them. Whatever item you choose, handfasting is a symbol of unity, and the two of you coming together!

2. Knot Tying

Knot tying is a traditionally religious unity ceremony idea that comes from a Bible verse that reads, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” 

This tradition isn’t limited to religious couples, as the symbolism of being stronger together than apart holds true regardless! During the wedding ceremony, take turns braiding three strands together and securing the end with a knot. Your cord is now stronger, just like your commitment to each other.

3. Light a Candle

A candle is a popular way to symbolize the two of you coming together, and a great wedding ceremony idea! Traditionally, there are three candles – two smaller ones and a large one in the middle. Someone from each of your families lights the two smaller candles, and then the couple uses the flames to light the large candle, signifying your families joining together. If you want to get more family members involved, you can add more candles and light the center one together!

4. Honor a Loved One

Whether a family member or friend is deceased or couldn’t attend the wedding, honoring them during your ceremony can be so meaningful. It can be something small like wearing your grandmother’s jewelry, or something more visible like leaving a photo on a chair in the front row. As happy as wedding days are, they can be a difficult reminder for those who have lost a loved one, and a small gesture during the day is a great way to have them with you in memory.

5. rock, paper, scissors!

What’s a better tradition of a friendly game of rock, paper, scissors? Now you have a game to play that helps you determine who goes first to pick their vows. It’s also a great option that is simple, yet fun to break some laughs in.

6. Write Letters

Before or during your wedding day, write letters to each other that describe how you’re feeling or anything you wish to say to the love of your life. During the ceremony you can put them in a box or decide to open it on your anniversary – whether it’s one, five, or ten years from that day! Getting a custom box made adds a personal touch, and gives you something to keep and look forward to after the wedding day.

7. Sand Ceremony

In a sand ceremony, each person pours from their own cup of sand into one larger cup, or vase. The sand combining is a symbol of unity as the two of you tie the knot, and if you use different colors of sand, can make a great piece of art to keep in your home after the wedding! You can even get a clear frame to pour into.

8. Take a Shot

Sharing a shot of alcohol is fun and easy to do! Not to mention that it might loosen you up a bit. Sealing it with a shot could even include customized shot glasses and special alcoholic beverages. My favorite vodka is from Wild Roots and best cocktails from Straight Away Cocktails. If you don’t drink alcohol, you could still do this celebration with sparkling cider, kombucha, coffee, tea, or even Capri Sun.

9. Pot a Plant

For nature lovers especially, potting a plant together is a great symbol of unity. As your plant grows, so will your relationship. Get two pots of soil, and during your ceremony combine them to make one new one, and plant your seeds, or repot a plant!

10. Ring Warming

Ring warming is a great way to get your guests involved in your ceremony! Pass around your rings to each guest, so that they can bless the rings with love and well wishes for a happy marriage. Once they’re done, the rings will be passed back to you so that you can exchange them!

Want to learn more on how to incorporate your family into your elopement day? You might like this post!

11. Exchange Gifts or Jewelry

Giving gifts during your ceremony can really speak your partner’s love language! It also give you two an item to reflect on that special time of your relationship each time you go to use or wear the gift. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive, but it should reflect your love and be authentic.

These two wanted to surprise each other with new watches to wear and were a special touch to their exchange of admiration.

12. Incorporate Cultural Traditions

Incorporating your heritage or cultural traditions into your wedding day is really special and is a great way to honor your loved ones that may or may not be present. Each tradition is quite unique so there is an endless list of what you could incorporate into your ceremony, but don’t forget that this is an option!

Emily and Emma decided to celebrate their Hawaiian culture by exchanging authentic leis during their ceremony, while mike and machal had a complete traditional ceremony celebrating their afghan background.

13. Music

Don’t forget about including music! Most of use really enjoy the art of music or even have a special song that represents your love. Hiring a musician or even playing a song/playlist during your ceremony is a great way to connect.

Plan Your Ceremony

Whether it’s a wedding or an elopement, your ceremony is a major part of the day! If you’re ready to plan yours and need some ideas, reach out! I’m not just an elopement photographer – I’m your guide to a wedding day and ceremony that’s unique and completely you – from beginning to end!

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