Wedding Ceremony, Commitment  Ceremonies, The Unity Candle Ceremony, The Blending of The Sands Ceremony and Handfasting Ceremony !


Wedding Ceremonies ( Spiritual or Religious )  Commitment Ceremony, The Unity Candle Ceremony, Letting Go Ceremony

 and 

The Blending Of The Sands Ceremony: 

With Rev. Kari Chapman

All cultures use rituals and ceremonies to mark life events, to celebrate life, to support healing, to mourn loss and to let go of what no longer serves us. We experience much change throughout our lives, and rituals and ceremonies can help us to adjust to these changes. These rites of passage, or life events, include birth, marriage and death as well as others such as coming of age, moving in or out of a house, starting or ending a job, and many more. Any of life's events, any everyday activity can be viewed as being a container for the sacred. Rituals help us gain a spiritual perspective about all of life.

On a deeper level, rituals have the power to transform our lives. They open our awareness and connect us with the world around us and with our deeper selves, our sacred being. They empower us, and help us take responsibility for our lives, and cope with and master the many changes we encounter. Ceremonies offer us a framework, a container within which we can experience our deepest feelings and share them with others. We enter sacred time and sacred space through rituals and ceremonies, stepping outside our ordinary reality to experience the greater reality of our higher Self. Transformation and healing can take place in this beyond-the-ordinary time and place. Rituals celebrate, and give us an experience of, the mysteries of life.

For some of us, traditional rituals and ceremonies may no longer hold meaning. So re-creating, re-shaping these rituals to meet our needs is important for finding the balance and wholeness in life we seek. I offer you my heartfelt assistance in developing and adapting ceremonies and rituals to give your life meaning. All religions offer wisdom and sacred practices,  while honoring all.

Spiritual ~ A non-religious spiritual ceremony is a civil ceremony, in the sense that it does not contain specific religious references.

Religious ~ All of the denominational, non-denominational and inter-faith ceremonies discussed above are "spiritual" by virtue of evoking a sacred or divine feeling in a very specific way -- by focusing on the beliefs of a particular religious sect.

Non-religious ~ A non-religious spiritual ceremony uses wording, elements and rituals that reflect the essence of the couple's sense of morality, values and fulfillment by emphasizing a spiritual approach to love and life.  The couple may elect to have the marriage blessed by calling upon a "higher power", or by simply calling upon the goodness of the human character and the strength of an individual's soul.  Some non-religious ceremonies follow rituals and passages that are specific to organized schools of thought.

 

Rev. Kari will work with you to design a personalized ceremony that expresses your personal Spiritual path. Whether it is a wedding, renewal of vows or commitment ceremony, a sacred space is made to celebrate and honor the marking of a transition or welcoming of that which is emerging in your life.

We provide a unique service to the community in that we offer a way to help you create the special occasion YOU desire. In this time of eclectic Spirituality we recognize the need for open-minded Spiritual counselors. We acknowledge that there are many people who are Spiritually led who are not committed to one Religion or Church or are blending elements from several traditions. We recognize and respect the Truth in all paths.

The Spiritual journey you are about to take together, is one of the most important decisions of your life. Marriage is a very transforming, magical, and enlightening life experience and your wedding ceremony is as special as the love you share. One great way to show your love for each other is through a customized wedding ceremony that reflects the beauty, commitment, and unity you both share. Your customized ceremony reflects your wishes, cultural elements, theme, music, favorite quotes, beliefs, personal life experiences, and personal vows of love.

Many couples are now seeking Spiritual weddings outside the restrictions of a particular denomination and as an alternative to civil weddings devoid of spiritual content. Meaningful wedding ceremonies are always a real honor and joy. Each ceremony is designed to capture the essence and purpose of your relationship, to consecrate the vision of your lives together and to anchor your love within a Spiritual context.

Commitment Ceremonies : Commitment Ceremonies are for any adult couple of any sexual orientation who wish to celebrate their formal commitment to each other without undergoing a legal marriage or cannot marry for legal reasons. You can elect for a ceremony with guests or for a private occasion with just the couple in attendance.

Every Commitment Ceremony is unique. Working within the Ceremony framework, couples create their own unique celebration by selecting words, poems and readings that hold a special meaning for them. The venue, number of guests and involvement of other guests are also chosen by the couple, creating, in all, a very meaningful and personal experience.

"We Are All Spirits On A Human Journey"

We provide a unique service to the community in that we offer a way to help you create the special occasion YOU desire. In this time of eclectic Spirituality we recognize the need for open-minded Spiritual counselors. We acknowledge that there are many people who are Spiritually led who are not committed to one Religion or Church or are blending elements from several traditions. We recognize and respect the Truth in all paths.

When two people make a commitment together, they are promising that they will live in a loving, mutually honoring and cherishing union. They are acknowledging they belong with each other and this is an opportunity for great celebration.

In most states, same sex marriages are not yet legal, however many gay and lesbian couples choose to have a commitment ceremony.

This ceremony is a time for you to publicly declare your partnership, and love for each other, before your family and friends in a dignified manner. A commitment ceremony is very similar to a traditional wedding ceremony with just a few subtle changes. Incorporated into the ceremony may be music, readings, vows, and the exchange of rings, signing and presentation of certificates and of course the kiss

We will work with both of you to create a unique ceremony, that reflects your personalities, your beliefs and ideals.

While a commitment ceremony is based on a traditional wedding, so many traditional wedding customs are inherently based on the mixed gender of the couple. There are a number of ways in which this can be addressed for same sex couples.

In planning a commitment ceremony, you can start with a blank sheet. There are no hard-and-fast customs that everyone believes you MUST adhere to (well, apart from the ring and the always-important kiss after the declaration). As a result, you can do whatever is authentic to you as a couple. You can have whoever you want stand up with you, and you can enter the ceremony space accompanied by whomever you wish.

In terms of your attendants/supporters, there is already a precedent for mixed genders in straight wedding parties. Because more and more people are having the people they are close to stand up with them, rather than sticking with the traditional gender divide, we are starting to see a neutralization of the gender of the roles by referring to the matron/maid of honor/chief bridesmaid and best man as "honor attendants" and bridesmaids and groomsmen as "attendants".

One of the decisions that needs to be made and conveyed early to your celebrant, is how you want to be referred to and addressed during the ceremony. Our advice, stick with your names. Just as your relationship is unique and special, so are your names. Groom and Groom or Bride and Bride can be awkward, Partners has a nice gender-free inclusive ring, and for heavens sake, avoid stereotypical awkwardness caused by assigning a "male" role and a "female" role.

Ceremonies:
Although there are only two essential parts to a wedding ceremony;
  • the vows or promises you make to one another (the most personal part and the cornerstone of the ceremony) and
  • the pronouncement of marriage by the person officiating that you are now married. . .
remember, this is your day and you get to choose how you want the wedding to progress. Each ceremony will be completely customized to fit your specific needs. You determine the level of formality.

You can write your own vows, delete whole sections of our popular "romantic" ceremony template (other than the two sections mentioned above), move certain parts around and decide to include music, readings (your favorite romantic song lyrics make a great reading) and whatever you feel is appropriate. There are absolutely no restrictions on what on what goes in your ceremony.

The words spoken will be what unite you and your intended. This wedding has never happened before. Choose your words wisely.

Kari can help you fine-tune the words that will mean the most to you and your guests.

Whatever the chosen structure of the ceremony, it is important that both the bride and groom have some agreement and ownership of the words in the marriage rites. A wedding is a distinctly personal experience; a very personal occasion and should define the bride and groom not the families expectations. Your Mom had her wedding, this one is for you!

Do not be afraid to "step outside the box" and be unique. Don't let anyone convince you that a boring, stuffy, stale wedding ceremony is for you. This is your wedding day! Do what you like and have a blast! Your guests will love attending a wedding that makes them wonder what will happen next. Relax protocol, have fun and don't be afraid to ask Kari or your wedding coordinators for additional advice or ideas.

Some of the most meaningful ceremonies are those with elements honoring cultural customs ; Native American blessings and rituals;  the Serenity Prayer and more.

Have a surprise wedding! Invite guests to a luncheon or dinner, promise them a very special "surprise". When everyone arrives, announce that they've been gathered to witness your wedding vows! While unorthodox, it's very different and a whole lot of fun. It also takes the pre-wedding pressure off!

Don't expect a "perfect" ceremony. Children may cry; your bridesmaid's hair may be dyed purple; your grandmother may flub the reading or the 3 year-old ring bearer may get cold feet and freeze. That's okay. Remember, the guests do not know what you are supposed to be doing so you can't get it wrong. If mistakes are made, it's important not to call attention to them.

Spoken promises of love will always be part of a good marriage, so finding the perfect wedding ceremony will reflect your love for one another.

The following ceremonies are meant to give you some ideas from which to work, etc., etc. Remember, ceremonies are a kind of poetry that you may adjust, add to, or modify as you wish. Anything goes!


Kari honors and respects all beliefs and traditions - religious, spiritual, non-religious, or secular.

It's "your" day. . . you get to choose. Rev. Kari Chapman will customize your ceremony to fit your needs. 
The Unity Candle Ceremony
The Unity Candle Ceremony is a popular choice for both religious and non-religious ceremonies because it is non-denominational and has no religious significance.

A Unity Candle Ceremony can easily be added to any marriage ceremony. It is placed near the end of the ceremony, following the Exchange of Rings. However, the mother's usually lights the two outer candles as they are escorted forward at the beginning of the ceremony. If there are breezes present, they may want to light the taper candles just prior to the Unity Candle Ceremony.

A Unity Candle set consists of two slender candles (called tapers) and a large center candle. They are usually white candles.

The two outer candles represent your individual lives before today. They represent all that you are from your vast experiences, and they represent your individual families. As you each take a single candle and light the center candle, you will extinguish your individual candles.

Often the Bride will blow out the Groom's taper candle and the Groom will blow out the Brides taper candle. This represents the closing of the chapters in your individual Books of Life and the beginning of new chapters as you begin to write a new book of Life as wife and husband!

Another way to do this is to allow the two taper candles to continue to burn. By allowing the flame of the two taper candles to remain lit, it represents that the Bride and Groom accept the individuality of each other as a means to fulfilling their commitment to one another.

If you would like to have the entire audience participate, give everyone a candle as they enter. When lighting the Unity Candle, each of you turn and share your light with the first row of seated guests on your side. Let the guests share the flame from their own small candle with the person sitting next to them until all the candles are aglow and you are pronounced wife and husband. The minister can suggest that everyone make a good wish for the Bride and Groom and blow out the candles.

Some couples choose to have soft music playing during the Unity Candle Ceremony.

If you are creating a new family you may want to include the children in the lighting of the Unity Candle. Often this is done by having the bride and groom light the candle for the children and then everyone lighting the center candle together. This is an excellent way to involve children from a previous marriage.

Unity Candle Ceremony - Bride and Groom

Minister:  You will observe that there are three candles on the Unity table. Through the love and illumination of God, your paths have come together, and in this symbolic ceremony, you will each take a lighted candle, representing your previous separate pathways, and together you will light the Unity candle, symbolizing your willingness to walk life's pathways together as one.

You may now proceed in the lighting of the candle.

Bride, Groom light the Unity Candle.

Minister: May a kind God forever bless this marriage. And so it is.

Unity Candle Ceremony - Bride, Groom and Children

Minister:  You will observe that there are _______ candles on the Unity table. Through the love and illumination of God, your paths have come together, and in this symbolic ceremony, you will each take a lighted candle, representing your previous separate pathways, and together you will light the Unity candle, symbolizing your willingness to walk life's pathways together as one family.

_______ (# of Children) children will share in this marriage.

Minister to the Children:  _______ and _______ will you please come forward.

Minister:  The gathering of this new family will have a deep influence upon the children. We realize that in order for the home to be a happy one, it is essential that there be love and understanding between the children and the adults being married.
Blending of the Sands Ceremony

The "Blending of the Sands" ceremony can be a beautiful and meaningful alternative to the "Unity Candle" ceremony. Like a Unity candle the pouring of two different colored sands together is used to symbolize the joining of the bride and groom or the joining of their families. Sand from the desert, a favorite beach or vacation spot also works.

This ceremony requires three small vials or vases, one for you and your fiancé to pour the sand into and two for each of you to pour the sand from. Each of the two vials of colored sand symbolizes the separate lives of the bride and groom and their families. The two outside vials or vases can be used later to display fresh flowers following the wedding. Some couples pour the sand from two sea shells. You can put your vase containing your combined sand on display as a constant reminder of your special day!

If your wedding ceremony is being performed on a beach, have the minister scoop up a little sand from the beach with a sea shell and pour it into the small bottle to symbolize the building of the foundation of the relationship and to give you a memento directly from the beach.

 Use two different colored sands which you can find at most arts and crafts stores. Small glass bottles or vials are usually found there as well. A nice touch is to pour the colored sands into a small "heart-shaped" bottle. Later, you can melt some wax to seal it to hold the sand in place, then seal it with a cork or lid. Have your names and your wedding date etched in the glass bottle prior to the ceremony.

After the minister reads the text below (or any text you choose), the bride and groom pour the two containers of sand into the third container simultaneously.

 You may wish to leave a small amount of sand in each vial to symbolize that although you are now joined as one, you are still free to express your own individuality.

 If you are including children in the ceremony, obtain several extra vials with different colored sand for each child.
The combined sand makes a wonderful wedding keepsake for the bride and groom and a constant reminder of their promises on their wedding day.

Blending the Sands Ceremony #1 - Bride and Groom

Minister:  (If you use two sea shells to pour the sand) _________ and _________, may your love always be as constant as the never-ending waves, flowing endlessly from the depths of the sea. Just as there will never be a morning without the ocean's flow, may there never be a day without your love for each other.

 Minister:  (If your ceremony is on a beach, provide another sea shell for the Minister) - I will now pour some of the sand from this beautiful beach into this bottle to represent the foundation of your love relationship and to provide a memento of the sandy beach where your wedding vows were spoken.
. . . if not:
 
Minister:  _________ and _________, today you are making a life-long commitment to share the rest of your lives with each other.

Your relationship is symbolized through the pouring of these two individual containers of sand; one, representing you, _________ and all that you were, all that you are, and all that you will ever be, and the other representing you, _________, and all that you were and all that you are, and all that you will ever be.

Each one holds its own unique beauty, strength, and character. They can stand on their own and be whole, without the need of anything else. When the two are blended together they represent an entirely new and extraordinary love relationship. Each grain of sand brings to the mixture a lasting beauty that forever enriches the combination.

The Bride and Groom pick up the containers of sand

As you each hold your sand the separate containers of sand represent your lives to this moment; individual and unique. As you now combine your sand together, your lives also join together as one.

You may now blend the sand together symbolizing the uniting of the bride and groom into one.

The life that each of you have experienced until now, individually, will hereafter be inseparably united, for the two shall become one. Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so will your marriage be.

Blending the Sands Ceremony #2 - Bride, Groom and Children

Minister:  _________ and _________, today you are making a life-long commitment to share the rest of your lives with each other and honor your children as well. Your family relationship is symbolized through the pouring of these individual containers of sand; one, representing you, _________ and all that you were, all that you are, and all that you will ever be, one representing you, _________, and all that you were and all that you are, and all that you will ever be and another container for each child.

There are children who will share in this marriage. _________ will now come forward to help us with the Blending of the Sands. The gathering of this new family will have a deep influence upon them. We realize that in order for the home to be a happy one, it is essential that there be love and understanding between the children and the adults being married.

As you each hold your sand the separate containers of sand represent your lives to this moment; individual and unique. As you now combine your sand together, your lives also join together as one family.
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An example of using sand in the Blending of the Family ceremony
You may now blend the sand together symbolizing the uniting of the children and bride and groom into one.

Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so will your marriage and your family be.

Blending the Sands Ceremony #3 - Bride, Groom and Parents

Minister:  _________ and _________, today you are making a life-long commitment to share the rest of your lives with each other. Your relationship is symbolized through the pouring of these individual containers of sand; one, representing you, _________ and all that you were, all that you are, and all that you will ever be, and the other representing you, _________, and all that you were and all that you are, and all that you will ever be.

As you each hold your sand the separate containers of sand represent your lives to this moment; individual and unique. As you now combine your sand together, your lives also join together as one family.

At this time, I would invite the parents of _________ and _________ to come forward. These four vials of sand represent the bride and groom and each family.

You may now blend the sand together symbolizing the uniting of the two families into one.

Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so will your marriage and your families be

Minister to Bride and Groom:  _______ and _______, is your love for each other broad enough to include _______ and _______ and deep enough to honor their presence in this marriage and to pledge yourselves to love and care for them?

Bride and Groom:  We will.

Minister to the Groom (or Bride):  _______, please light the taper candles for the children.

Minister:  You may all now proceed in the lighting of the Unity candle.

Bride, Groom and children all light the Unity Candle.

Minister:  May a kind God bless you all as family, and bless this marriage and this home, wherever you may be. And so it is.

Blended Family Ceremony
Most often we think of marriage as the joining of two people to be wife and husband. In reality, marriage is often much more than that. It is also the coming together and merging of family and friends. When the bride and/or groom have children, it is appropriate for the children to be included in the wedding ceremony. With children present, the wedding ceremony also becomes the proclamation of a new family or a "family wedding."

Generally speaking, children will accept a parent's remarriage more readily when they feel included in the wedding plans, the wedding ceremony and are given a tangible symbol of being embraced by a new family; perhaps a beautiful bracelet, a gold-banded birthstone ring or some other significant token of love.

Blended families are often referred to as step-families or co-families. This ceremony can easily be incorporated into the wedding ceremony.

Pouring different colored sands together is another way to symbolize the joining of the bride and groom and their family together. See The Blending Of Sands Ceremony .
 
Blended Family Ceremony #1

Officiator Remarks: It is the desire of _________ and _________ to extend their commitments to each other by making some promises to the children of this family. As you all join hands to form a new circle of love, we will seal this union with spoken promises like the rings this bride and groom have exchanged.

Officiator to the Bride/Groom: Do you _________ and _________, promise to be faithful, loving, tender and nurturing parents, always there for _________ (child/children's name), not only providing their/her/his physical needs, but their/her/his emotional needs as well, always a good listener, a loving counselor and a friend?

Bride & Groom: We do.

Officiator to the Mother/Father (Speaking to the Child/Children): (Repeat after me). _________, I want you to know that I love your mother/father very much. I will not and cannot replace a mother/father loved by you, however I can promise you that I will love you and care for you as if you were my own. I promise to be a committed listener. I promise you my trust, to be fair, my support, what knowledge I can share, to be your friend, and to provide a shoulder to cry on. I promise to be available to you as I am to your mother/father.

Bride/Groom to Child/Children: _________, I give you this _________ (gift) as a sign of my loving promises made this day.

Officiator to Child/Children: Do you accept the promises made by _________?

Child/Children: I do or We do.

Officiator: May a kind God now bless you all as family, and bless this marriage and this home, wherever you may be. And so it is.

Blended Family Ceremony #2

Officiator: There are children who will share in this marriage. The gathering of this new family will have a deep influence upon them. It will both complicate and enrich their lives. They will also have much to contribute to this new family. We realize that in order for the home to be a happy one, it is essential that there be love and understanding between the children and the adults being married.

Officiator to Bride and Groom: Is your love for each other broad enough to include _________ (name the child/children) and deep enough to honor their/her/his presence in this marriage and to pledge yourselves to love and care for them/her/him?

Bride and Groom: We will.

Officiator to Child/Children: You are a vital part of this new marriage. _________ and _________ give you their unconditional love and honor your presence in their lives.  _________, you will have a share in this union, for your life/lives will be touched by the covenant being made here today. Your participation is requested to help develop the bonds of a new family.

As _________ and _________ have exchanged their pledges in holy union, we ask from you also a pledge, that you will join together to weave a fabric of mutual help and comfort, of challenge and support, and that you will help create a home and a way of life in which all of you may grow into the fullness of the best people you can be. Will you now pledge to do your best to help make a happy and successful home for all of you by your love and cooperation?"

Child/Children: I will or We will.

Officiator: And so it is.

The Interview

The interview and wedding planning session gives the bride and groom an opportunity to get acquainted with me, their prospective wedding Officiator, and to learn about the many effective options I bring to wedding ceremonies. During this time you will share with me how you envision your ceremony and I will advise you on the best ways of putting that together. I will also help you identify the accessories you will need to purchase as well as the types of vendors to be contacted.

During this interview, the advice I give you is bounded by traditional business relationships. I do not tamper with your religious or philosophical convictions, nor do I impose a rigid format for your ceremony that thwarts the authentic expression of who you are. Your ceremony will be customized to your wishes and will express your feelings about marriage through the words and events of your choosing. Your planning session is where all of this is learned.

As with all ceremonies, any readings, blessings, prayers, poems, music, or anything else that is meaningful may be included. Many couples choose to write their own marriage vows, which can be immensely strengthening for the relationship. Together we will create a beautiful moving ceremony that reflects your unique vision and marks the start of the shared life you are consciously entering.


The Rehearsal

It is very important then that you understand how to do all of these things tellingly. In the rehearsal session you will learn all that is required of you, and then you will practice it. From this experience will come confidence, and from confidence will come poise. There is no more preferable frame of mind to be in during your ceremony than calm, collected and confident. All of which you gained from your rehearsal.

Rehearsal sessions are typically an hour or more in length. In a ceremony performance is everything, and an extensive rehearsal session thoroughly prepares you for this most special of events.

A Ceremony for "Letting Go!"

To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven - a time to break down, a time to build up. . . a time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to keep, and a time to cast away. - Ecclesiastes

This ceremony is specifically for couples who have decided to move on with their separate lives with grace and style. It is appropriate for relationship break-ups and divorces. It focuses on moving apart with clarity, good will for the other, and more.

A couple going through a break-up or divorce can honor each other even in the midst of crisis. While some may find this option inconceivable, remember, those who can put aside their differences and send each other on their way with elegance, class, style and little bit of flair, will find it much easier to find closure.

Breaking up is hard to do and. . . it doesn't have to get nasty. That is only and always up to both partners.

Ever wondered why so many second marriages come apart so early on in the relationship?  Perhaps it may be because both partners have not released the past to make way for the future.

This ceremony is a very personal one. It will help to erase the stigma of a relationship breakup or divorce from our hearts; to help ease the pain of devastation, guilt, and failure; to create an opening for breakthroughs of awareness that can mend a broken heart, bless the past and help you move forward.

The setting, content, wording, style, everything is decided by those for whom the ceremony is held with the assistance of  Rev. Kari.

This "Letting Go" ceremony signifies each partner's willingness to:

  • Honor the truth that your partnership or marriage can no longer continue
  • Bless the past
  • Accept responsibility for your share of the problems that caused the breakup
  • Release each from their marriage vows
  • Be fair and kind to one another
  • Acknowledge both the anger they may feel toward their partner for past behaviors as well as the sadness that comes with having lost a shared dream to be together
  • Support each other
  • Never belittle each other or old friends or to the children
  • Help the children to understand that mommy and daddy had agreed not to live together; they are not being abandoned, that this breakup or divorce is not their fault, and their love for the children is strong and will never end
  • Recommitment for continued loving parenting of the children
  • Honor and treasure the shared memories made through the years
  • Not be vindictive or allow the separation or divorce to be nasty
  • Continue to communicate effectively if their are children
  • Recognize the opportunity for growth in crisis and to acknowledge that out of chaos can come order and balance
  • Publicly forgive each other for past mistakes
  • Let go of each other, old habits, old beliefs and old behaviors
  • Express gratitude for the time shared together and good wishes for the other
  • Honor and respect each other in your separate and independent lives
  • Go gently and with a caring spirit, with grace, honor and respect
  • Begin again alone

What about the children?  -  They suffer the pain of a changing relationship too. It is a fact that most of the damage children experience during divorce comes when parents continue to fight afterwards. It doesn't have to be this way.

Often couples include their children as witnesses in a "Letting Go" ceremony; to use it as an opportunity to make a formal commitment aloud that they will always be parents to their children no matter how they feel about each other and even though apart, they will always love them.

Relationships never end. Death, divorce or separation does not end a relationship, it only changes it.

A "Letting Go" ceremony is not a legal ceremony, however it is - in a sense - a spiritual way for couples to complete their relationship with forgiveness and healing.

Separation or divorce is a "wake-up" call. It can be an adventure when it is the outward expression of love characterized by compassion and the courage to let go. It takes no strength to let go. . . only courage. Broken hearts can heal.

This very imaginative ceremony and public declaration of continued respect for each other in the company of friends can encourage harmonious cooperation in spite of acknowledged differences, to publicly release each other from your promises to be a loyal and faithful partner, a sense of peace and speed up the healing process.
 
 
The "Letting Go" Ceremony

Officiators Welcome and Opening Remarks

Welcome, one and all. How beautiful is the day that is touched by love! We have come together in the presence of God to witness and bless the the separation of this man and this woman who have been bonded in the covenant of marriage. The courts have acknowledged their divorce and we, this day, gather to support them as they give their blessing to one another as they each seek a new life.

In creation, God made the cycle of life to be birth, life, and death. We recognize that relationships often follow this pattern. While the couple have promised in good faith to love until parted by death, in some marriages the love between a wife and a husband comes to an end sooner. Love fades, and when that happens we recognize that the bonds of marriage, based on love, also may be complete.

It is wise to remember that relationships never end. Death, divorce or separation does not end a relationship, it only changes it. As long as you both have memory, you will always have a relationship with one another. We are gathered together today to mutually accept that change that is occurring now.

God calls us to right relationships based on love, compassion, understanding, acceptance, and trust. Whenever any of these elements is absent from a marital relationship, then that partnership no long reflects the intentionality of the wedding vows.

The good news is that we are forgiven our failures, we are raised from the dead (so to speak) and restored to a new life. The passing of love, like the passing to the grave, has no power to rob us of the life that is intended for all people.

Thus we gather this day to support and bless ________ and ________ as they acknowledge their mistakes, forgive one another, receive God's blessing, celebrate the new growth that has occurred in each of them, and make new commitments for a new life.

The Declaration of Consent

Officiator to the Man: ________, do you enter into this new beginning of your own free will; do you acknowledge before God, and ________, your past mistakes? Do you seek forgiveness for the mutual respect and trust that you have failed to give and agree to set your spouse free of this relationship, that you and she may receive from God and from one another the gift of new life and move toward health and wholeness once again?

Man: I do.

Officiator to the Woman: ________, do you enter into this new beginning of your own free will; do you acknowledge before God, and ________, your past mistakes? Do you seek forgiveness for the mutual respect and trust that you have failed to give and agree to set your spouse free of this relationship, that you and he may receive from God and from one another the gift of new life and move toward health and wholeness once again?

Woman: I do.

The Undoing of the Vows

(The man faces the woman, takes her right hand, and says):

In the name of God, I, ________, release you, ________, from your vow to be my wife. I thank you for the love and support you have given me. I ask your forgiveness for my part in the failure of our marriage.

Woman: You are forgiven.

(The woman faces the man, takes his right hand, and says):

In the name of God, I, ________, release you, ________, from your vow to be my husband. I thank you for the love and support you have given me. I ask your forgiveness for my part in the failure of our marriage.

Man: You are forgiven.

(The Officiator asks each in turn to place their rings on the same finger of the opposite hand):

Minister: ________ and ________, These rings, which you gave to each other as a symbol of your marriage are now cast aside and by removing them from your left hand now sets you free. I pray you will both find peace and joy in your new life separate and apart from each other. And so it is.

Note: In some cases each partner will choose to give the rings back to the other, in which case this symbolic gesture will also release each from their marriage vows and the Officiator's words would reflect this.
This ceremony can be used for a number of things in ones life that they are willing to let go of, changing a few of the words.

HANDFASTING Ceremony. We can tailor for the couple and combine any of the below.

Is an ancient Celtic wedding ritual in which the couples' hands are tied together with a ceremonial ribbon or cloth (if you saw the movie BRAVEHEART you might remember the scene where they were married in the forest. The priest wrapped their hands in a strip of cloth, his family's tartan).  It's tied in a bow with an opening loose enough so that the hands can come out freely, or simply draped across the hands. The couple saves the ribbon or cloth as a keepsake. Here are some words that can be said with handfasting:

Officiator  "(Bride and Groom), as your hands are bound together now,

so your lives and spirits are joined in a union of love and trust.

Above you are the stars and below you is the earth.

Like the stars your love should be a constant source of light,

and like the earth, a firm foundation from which to grow."

Handfasting Ceremony - with 4 cords:

Officiator   to (Bride and Groom)

have chosen to incorporate the ancient Celtic ritual of Handfasting into their wedding

ceremony today. Traditionally, in the British Isles it was performed by a priest or priestess, who would invoke the energies of the four natural elements to create a sacred circle in which the couple could be joined as embodiments of god and goddess. The cloth that binds their hands was usually the tartan plaid, representing the bride's clan or family group. One of the things we like about handfasting is that it is also a declaration of intent,

where the bride and groom clearly state that they are marrying of their own free will.

Officiator    (Bride and Groom), know now before you go further, that since your lives have crossed in this life, you have formed eternal and sacred bonds.

As you seek to enter this state of matrimony you should strive to make real the ideals that to you, give meaning this ceremony and to the institution of marriage.

With full awareness, know that within this circle you are not only declaring your intent to be handfasted before your friends and family, but you speak that intent also to your creative higher powers.

The promises made today and the ties that are bound here greatly strengthen your union and will cross the years and lives of each soul's growth.

Do you still seek to enter this ceremony?

Yes.

  Officiant: ***(casts the circle, either out loud or in silence.)*** As I cast the circle, please take a moment to visualize loving, positive energy for __________ and __________The circle has been cast, and this is now a sacred space. 


INVOKING THE FOUR DIRECTIONS

In many cultures it is believed that the human soul shares characteristics with all things divine.

It is this belief which assigned virtues to the four cardinal directions;

East, South, West and North.

It is according to this belief that we align ourselves with these elements.

Each of these blessings from the four cardinal directions emphasizes

those things which will help you build a happy and successful union.

[Guests are invited to stand and face the four directions]

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the East and the element of Air, for openness and breath, communication of the heart, and purity of the mind and body. From the east you receive the gift of a new beginning with the rising of each Sun, and the understanding that each day is a new opportunity for growth.

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the South and the element of fire, for energy, passion, creativity and the warmth of a loving home. From the fire within you generate light, which you will share with one another in even the darkest of times.

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the West, the element of water, for your capacity to feel emotion. In marriage you offer absolute trust to one another, and vow to keep your hearts open in sorrow as well as joy.

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the North, the element of earth, which provides sustenance, fertility and security. The earth will feed and enrich you, and help you to build a stable home to which you may always return.

[guests are seated]

(Bride and Groom)

, I bid you look into each others eyes.

Will you honor and respect one another, and seek to never break that honor?

We will

[the first cord is draped over the couples' hands]

And so the first binding is made.

Will you share each other's pain and seek to ease it?

We will [Second cord is draped over the hands]

And

so the binding is made

Will you share the burdens of each so that your spirits may grow in this union?

We will

[third cord is draped over the couples' hands]

And so the binding is made.

Will you share each other's laughter, and look for the brightness in life and the positive in each other?

We will

. [fourth cord is draped over the couples' hands]

And so the binding is made.

[Tie cords together]

(Bride and Groom), as your hands are bound together now, so your lives and spirits are joined in a union of love and trust.

Above you are the stars and below you is the earth.

Like the stars you love should be a constant source of light,

and like the earth, a firm foundation from which to grow.

(from this point the ceremony can move on to traditional vows and/or the traditional ring exchange)

BLESSINGS AND BENEDICTIONS

May the Winds of communication blow ever between you; may the Fires of love sustain you; may the Waters of life heal and soothe you; and may the strength of the Earth bind and steady you throughout your time together.

Lord and Lady, in Your sight have these people promised themselves to one another, made vows before You and these people. Bless them in their new life together.

As the Air you breathe brings you life, may you always speak truthfully to one another. (For truly does each falsehood act as a little death).

As the Fire of love burns within you, may you always find a spark even in your anger. (For without Love, we are but weak shadows upon the stones).

As the Waters of life flow within your bodies, may your personal tides move in unison, and your emotions flow. (For Water contains life, sustains life, and without it we are but dry husks).

As the Earth grounds and steadies you, may you always remain strong for one another. (For strength adds to strength and builds upon itself).

All this do I charge you, for as long as Love shall last.

(Section in parentheses may be spoken by the Officiator  or by the partners)

May the God and Goddess bless this union. May all who encounter it be blessed with love. May your lives be full and your hurts be few. So Mote It Be.

By the grace of the Lord and Lady has your love, through Their love, brought you together upon this day. May the Gods sustain and strengthen your bond, bless you and keep you, for as long as love shall last.

By the Winds that bring change, by the Fire of love, by the Seas of fortune and the strength of the Earth do I bless this union.

CLOSING AND PRESENTATION

You have witnessed the promises made by _________ and _________ one to another, and the exchange of the symbols of their union. They are now connected to experience together whatever life may bring them.

You have made your vows, one to the other, before the Gods and this company, and exchanged tokens of your love. By the power of your love, I do pronounce you Husband and Wife. (Or whatever titles are wished).

I am happy/honored to present to you, (names).

In the binding of yourselves have you created life anew. Step forth, therefore, into that new life, and rejoice in your love.

Through the powers of Love, and the blessing of the Lord and Lady (or God and Goddess) do I now pronounce you Handfast! Blessed Be!

Through the powers of Love between yourselves and this company, and the blessing of the Lord and Lady, do I now pronounce you Handfast! Blessed Be!

 or use this,

Conclusion:

    Officiant:    And now, we will dismiss this sacred space. As I close the circle, please send all of your loving energy towards our newly handfasted couple, so that they may begin their life together with all of your blessings and warm wishes.

(Officiant goes around the circle, dismissing the quarters.)

    Officiant:     The circle has been dismissed. Friends, please take a moment to congratulate  ___________   and  __________!

HANDFASTING Ceremony. We can tailor for the couple and combine any of the below.

Opening Blessing:

(Groom and Bride. Facing each other--hold hands)

Officiant:  A wise man said when he saw the rushing river . . . I could drown or ride the white water. He dove and then grew gills.

                 A wise woman said as she stood at the edge of a cliff . . . I could fly or fall. She jumped and then grew wings.

                 It is a blessing when someone believes in the dream of our ideal selves . . .while still loving the real. And even greater when someone wants to help make the dream come true.

               __________ and __________, You both have already weathered many challenges together. You have met them with humour, understanding and compassion. Time has proved that you are well matched. Yet you make no small commitment. You have carefully considered both the beauty and
                obligations assumed when lives are wed. Thus, we rejoice and celebrate one of Life’s richest gifts  --the love you share--

                Above you . . . are the stars,
                below you, the stones,
                as time blesses you . . .
                like the stars, may your love be constant,
                like the stones, may your love be strong.

                Friends, family, loved ones. We are all here today to see two people, ________ and ________, join hands and be bound together by their love, now and forever. Before we begin the ceremony, we will turn this place into sacred ground.

 As I cast the circle, please take a moment to visualize loving, positive energy for __________ and __________
           
            ***(casts the circle, either out loud or in silence.)***   The circle has been cast, and this is now a sacred space. We will now take a moment to consecrate the rings.

            ***(consecrates the rings with the four elements)***

             The circle itself is an infinite thing. It is magical and never-ending, never changing and yet always adaptable, a ring with no beginning and no conclusion. Like the circle, true love itself is infinite. It goes on, knowing no boundaries or restrictions. It flourishes and blooms in the light  and in the dark, laying down no ultimatums, making no demands at all. Love, in its infinite form, is something that cannot be forced. It cannot be taken away. It is a gift we give to ourselves, and an honor we give to others from the bottom of our hearts and souls.

            When two people come together and give one another this gift, this most sacred gift of all, it is certain the universe is sitting back and smiling upon us, laughing and showering us with every possible blessing.

            Today is a day to celebrate the love of ________ and ________. They are two people who are the halves of a whole. Two souls, coming together to form one single being; two hearts, beating in a single rhythm.

            Blessed be this marriage with the gifts from the east -- new beginnings that come each day with the rising sun, communication of the heart, mind, body and soul.
            Blessed be this marriage with the gifts of the south -- the light of the heart, the heat of passion, and the warmth of a loving home.

            Blessed be this marriage with the gifts of the west -- the rushing excitement of a raging river, the soft and pure cleansing of a rainstorm, and a commitment as deep as the ocean itself.

            Blessed be this marriage with the gifts of the north -- a solid foundation on which to build your lives, abundance and growth of your home, and the stability to be found by holding one another at the end of the day.

            ______  and  _______, these four simple blessings will help you on your journey that begins today. However, they are only tools. They are tools which you must use together to create the light, the strength, the infinite energy now and forever of a love you both so richly deserve.

Vows:

   Officiant:     We have come here to witness your vows to one another. Are you ready to make them?

   Couple:     We are

    Officiant (to Groom):    ____________, Repeat after me:
               
                I, _____, take you, _______, in marriage,
                To be my life partner,
                To walk, run, and dance this new path together,
                To love, care and share,
                To let the winds dance between us,
                Let the fires burn within us,
                And the waters flow through us,
                On our sacred journey together.
                On this day may a new consciousness begin,
                On this day I thee wed,
                With my heart's faithful affections,
                And my love to you forever.

    Officiant (to Bride):     _________, Repeat after me:
               
                I, _______, take you, _________, in marriage,
                To be my life partner,
                To walk, run, and dance this new path together,
                To love, care and share,
                To let the winds dance between us,
                Let the fires burn within us,
                And the waters flow through us,
                On our sacred journey together.
                On this day may a new consciousness begin,
                On this day I thee wed,
                With my heart's faithful affections,
                And my love to you forever.

   Officiant:    These promises you make by the sun and the moon, by fire and water, by day and night, by land and sea. With these vows you swear to be full partners, each to the other. If one drops the load, the other will pick it up. If one is a discredit to the other, their own honor will be forfeit.

                      The constant circle of love you share is symbolized in these rings.

Exchange of Rings:

    Officiant:     These rings symbolize the union in which your two lives are now joined in one unbroken circle, in which, wherever you go, you will always return to one another in your togetherness. Let these rings remind you of your commitment to love one another, to share your hopes, your  difficulties and your triumphs.

                       Now, I bid you look into one another's eyes and hearts. (Groom,) __________, please place the ring on  (Bride) ________ finger. Do you promise to show __________ your honor and fidelity, to share her laughter and joy, to support and stand by her in times of difficulty, to dream and hope together with her, and to spend each day loving her more than the day before?

    (groom )          I do.

    Officiant:     (Bride ) _________, please give (Groom ) ________ the ring. Do you, (Bride)__________, promise to show  (Groom )__________ your honor and fidelity, to share his hopes and dreams, to laugh with him and share endless days of joy, to stand side by side with him in times of trouble, and to spend each day loving him more than the  day before?

    (Bride )   I do.

Binding of Hands:

    Officiant:     The vows of love have been spoken. I ask you now to cross your hands over each other, and take one another's hands.

(Couple joins hands. Officiant comes forward with ribbon and wraps it loosely over couple’s hands)

    Officiant:    _______  and  ________, As this knot is tied, so are your lives now bound.

            This cord symbolizes so much. It is your life, your love, and the eternal connection that the two of you have found with one another. The ties of this handfasting are not formed by these ribbons, or even by the knots connecting them. They are formed instead by your vows, by your  
            pledge, your souls, and your two hearts, now bound together as one.

            Woven into this cord, imbued into its very fibers, are all the hopes of your friends and family, and of yourselves, for your new life together. With the fashioning of this knot do I tie all the desires, dreams, love, and happiness wished here in this place to your lives for as long as love shall
            last.

            In the joining of hands and the fashion of a knot, so are your lives now bound, one to another.

            By this cord you are thus bound to your vow. May this knot remain tied for as long as love shall last.

            May this cord draw your hands together in love, never to be used in anger. May the vows you have spoken never grow bitter in your mouths.

            May the bond of your vows be no heavier to bear than this ribbon. Above you are the stars; below you are the stones. As time passes remember like a star your love should be constant. Like the earth your love should be firm. Possess one another yet be understanding. Have patience  
            one with the other. For storms will come, but they will go quickly. Be free in giving of affection and warmth.

            Let the sun and the moon and the stars and these our brothers and sisters bear witness that Joel and Denise have been joined together and are husband and wife. You may now kiss.

(Couple kisses, Officiate unwraps cord without untying knot).


    Officiant:    Please turn to face your friends and family who love you. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Mr. and Mrs. _______________ !

Conclusion:

    Officiant:    And now, we will dismiss this sacred space. As I close the circle, please send all of your loving energy towards our newly handfasted couple, so that they may begin their life together with all of your blessings and warm wishes.

(Officiant goes around the circle, dismissing the quarters.)

    Officiant:     The circle has been dismissed. Friends, please take a moment to congratulate  __________ and _________ !

Or you can use this ceremony to close

CLOSING AND PRESENTATION

You have witnessed the promises made by _________ and _________ one to another, and the exchange of the symbols of their union. They are now connected to experience together whatever life may bring them.

You have made your vows, one to the other, before the Gods and this company, and exchanged tokens of your love. By the power of your love, I do pronounce you Husband and Wife. (Or whatever titles are wished).

I am happy/honoured to present to you, (names).

In the binding of yourselves have you created life anew. Step forth, therefore, into that new life, and rejoice in your love.

Through the powers of Love, and the blessing of the Lord and Lady (or God and Goddess) do I now pronounce you Handfast! Blessed Be!

Through the powers of Love between yourselves and this company, and the blessing of the Lord and Lady, do I now pronounce you Handfast! Blessed Be!

Conclusion:

    Officiant:    And now, we will dismiss this sacred space. As I close the circle, please send all of your loving energy towards our newly handfasted couple, so that they may begin their life together with all of your blessings and warm wishes.

(Officiant goes around the circle, dismissing the quarters.)

    Officiant:     The circle has been dismissed. Friends, please take a moment to congratulate  __________ and _________ !

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Handfasting Cords/ Ties and their colors and  meanings : 

 

The term "tying the knot", which is still used widely today, originates with the practice of handfasting. During the ceremony, the couple's hands are tied together with one or several colored cords or ribbons, symbolizing the desire of the couple to be united. The cord is often kept by the couple in a box or ornate bag as a reminder of their vows. Handfastings, done in the past as a commitment for a year and a day, can be combined with ring vows and a license to make it a legally binding contract.

We have several beautiful ceremonies to choose from, from the very simple one cord handfasting to the longer 6 cord ceremony. All of our handfastings can be customized to fit your needs.

In handfasting cords, all of the colors have meaning.
The handfasting cords themselves can either be several colors twisted into one cord and then used for a single cord ceremony or each color can be draped individually as in the six cord handfasting.

Here are some of the meanings attached to the colors:

Red will, love, strength, fertility, courage, health, vigor, passion

Orange - encouragement, adaptability, stimulation, attraction, plenty, kindness.

Yellow -
attraction, charm, confidence, balance, harmony

Green -
fertility, luck, prosperity, nurturing, beauty, health, love

Dark Blue -for a safe journey, longevity & strength

Light Blue -
tranquility, understanding, patience, health

Purple -
healing, health, strength, power, progress

Black -
strength, empowerment, wisdom/vision, success, pure love

White -
spiritual purity, truth, peace, serenity and devotion

Gray - balance, neutrality, used in erasing, canceling, neutralizing, and return to the universe without repercussion

Pink -
love, unity, honor, truth, romance, happiness

Brown -
for healing , skills & talent, nurturing, home & hearth, the earth.

Silver -
for creativity, inspiration & vision, and protection.

Gold -
for unity, longevity, prosperity, strength.

 

MORE   HANDFASTING Ceremonies. We can tailor for the couple and combine any of the below.

HANDFASTING Ceremony. We can tailor for the couple and combine any of the below.

Is an ancient Celtic wedding ritual in which the couples' hands are tied together with a ceremonial ribbon or cloth (if you saw the movie BRAVEHEART you might remember the scene where they were married in the forest. The priest wrapped their hands in a strip of cloth, his family's tartan).  It's tied in a bow with an opening loose enough so that the hands can come out freely, or simply draped across the hands. (The saying of Tying the Knot in marriage originated from the Celtics in the Handfasting ceremony) The couple saves the ribbon or cloth as a keepsake. Here are some words that can be said with handfasting:

Officiator  "(Bride and Groom), as your hands are bound together now,  so your lives and spirits are joined in a union of love and trust.

Above you are the stars and below you is the earth.  Like the stars your love should be a constant source of light,  and like the earth, a firm foundation from which to grow."

Handfasting Ceremony - with 4 cords:

Officiator  (Bride and Groom) have chosen to incorporate the ancient Celtic ritual of Handfasting into their wedding  ceremony today. Traditionally, in the British Isles it was performed by a priest or priestess, who would invoke the energies of the four natural elements to create a sacred circle in which the couple could be joined as embodiments of god and goddess. The cloth that binds their hands was usually the tartan plaid, representing the bride's clan or family group. One of the things we like about handfasting is that it is also a declaration of intent, where the bride and groom clearly state that they are marrying of their own free will.

Officiator    (Bride and Groom), know now before you go further, that since your lives have crossed in this life, you have formed eternal and sacred bonds. As you seek to enter this state of matrimony you should strive to make real the ideals that to you, give meaning this ceremony and to the institution of marriage.

With full awareness, know that within this circle you are not only declaring your intent to be handfasted before your friends and family, but you speak that intent also to your creative higher powers.

The promises made today and the ties that are bound here greatly strengthen your union and will cross the years and lives of each soul's growth.

Do you still seek to enter this ceremony?  _________  and __________

  Officiant: (casts the circle, either out loud or in silence.) As I cast the circle, please take a moment to visualize loving, positive energy for __________ and __________The circle has been cast, and this is now a sacred space. 

INVOKING THE FOUR DIRECTIONS

In many cultures it is believed that the human soul shares characteristics with all things divine. It is this belief which assigned virtues to the four cardinal directions;  East, South, West and North. It is according to this belief that we align ourselves with these elements.                                                                      

Each of these blessings from the four cardinal directions emphasizes those things which will help you build a happy and successful union.

[Guests are invited to stand and face the four directions]

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the East and the element of Air, for openness and breath, communication of the heart, and purity of the mind and body. From the east you receive the gift of a new beginning with the rising of each Sun, and the understanding that each day is a new opportunity for growth.

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the South and the element of fire, for energy, passion, creativity and the warmth of a loving home. From the fire within you generate light, which you will share with one another in even the darkest of times.

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the West, the element of water, for your capacity to feel emotion. In marriage you offer absolute trust to one another, and vow to keep your hearts open in sorrow as well as joy.

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the North, the element of earth, which provides sustenance, fertility and security. The earth will feed and enrich you, and help you to build a stable home to which you may always return.  [guests are seated]

(Bride and Groom)  , I bid you look into each others eyes.  Will you honor and respect one another, and seek to never break that honor?     We will,      [the first cord is draped over the couples' hands]   And so the first binding is made. 

Will you share each other's pain and seek to ease it?   We will   [Second cord is draped over the hands] And so the binding is made

Will you share the burdens of each so that your spirits may grow in this union?  We will     [third cord is draped over the couples' hands]     And so the binding is made.

Will you share each other's laughter, and look for the brightness in life and the positive in each other?  We will    . [fourth cord is draped over the couples' hands]    And so the binding is made.

[Tie cords together]

(Bride and Groom), as your hands are bound together now, so your lives and spirits are joined in a union of love and trust.

Above you are the stars and below you is the earth. Like the stars you love should be a constant source of light,  and like the earth, a firm foundation from which to grow.

(from this point the ceremony can move on to traditional vows and/or the traditional ring exchange)

Using RINGS  (consecrate the rings with the four elements)     

The circle itself is an infinite thing. It is magical and never-ending, never changing and yet always adaptable, a ring with no beginning and no conclusion. Like the circle, true love itself is infinite. It goes on, knowing no boundaries or restrictions. It flourishes and blooms in the light  and in the dark, laying down no ultimatums, making no demands at all. Love, in its infinite form, is something that cannot be forced. It cannot be taken away. It is a gift we give to ourselves, and an honor we give to others from the bottom of our hearts and souls.
            When two people come together and give one another this gift, this most sacred gift of all, it is certain the universe is sitting back and smiling upon us, laughing and showering us with every possible blessing.

            Today is a day to celebrate the love of ________ and ________. They are two people who are the halves of a whole. Two souls, coming together to form one single being; two hearts, beating in a single rhythm.

            Blessed be this marriage and rings with the gifts from the east -- new beginnings that come each day with the rising sun, communication of the heart, mind, body and soul.
            Blessed be this marriage and rings with the gifts of the south -- the light of the heart, the heat of passion, and the warmth of a loving home.
            Blessed be this marriage and rings with the gifts of the west -- the rushing excitement of a raging river, the soft and pure cleansing of a rainstorm, and a commitment as deep as the ocean itself.
            Blessed be this marriage and rings with the gifts of the north -- a solid foundation on which to build your lives, abundance and growth of your home, and the stability to be found by holding one another at the end of the day.

            ______  and  _______, these four simple blessings will help you on your journey that begins today. However, they are only tools. They are tools which you must use together to create the light, the strength, the infinite energy now and forever of a love you both so richly deserve.

BLESSINGS AND BENEDICTIONS 

May the Winds of communication blow ever between you; may the Fires of love sustain you; may the Waters of life heal and soothe you; and may the strength of the Earth bind and steady you throughout your time together.

Lord and Lady, in Your sight have these people promised themselves to one another, made vows before You and these people. Bless them in their new life together.

As the Air you breathe brings you life, may you always speak truthfully to one another. (For truly does each falsehood act as a little death).

As the Fire of love burns within you, may you always find a spark even in your anger. (For without Love, we are but weak shadows upon the stones).

As the Waters of life flow within your bodies, may your personal tides move in unison, and your emotions flow. (For Water contains life, sustains life, and without it we are but dry husks).

As the Earth grounds and steadies you, may you always remain strong for one another. (For strength adds to strength and builds upon itself).
                                                                                             

All this do I charge you, for as long as Love shall last. May the God and Goddess bless this union. May all who encounter it be blessed with love. May your lives be full and your hurts be few. So Mote It Be.
By the grace of the Lord and Lady has your love, through Their love, brought you together upon this day. May the Gods sustain and strengthen your bond, bless you and keep you, for as long as love shall last.
By the Winds that bring change, by the Fire of love, by the Seas of fortune and the strength of the Earth do I bless this union.

CLOSING AND PRESENTATION

 You have witnessed the promises made by _________ and _________ one to another, and the exchange of the symbols of their union. They are now connected to experience together whatever life may bring them.

You have made your vows, one to the other, before the Gods and this company, and exchanged tokens of your love. By the power of your love, I do pronounce you Husband and Wife. (Or whatever titles are wished).

I am happy/honored to present to you, (names)._____________________________________ In the binding of yourselves have you created life anew. Step forth, therefore, into that new life, and rejoice in your love.

Through the powers of Love, and the blessing of the Lord and Lady (or God and Goddess) do I now pronounce you Handfast! Blessed Be! Through the powers of Love between yourselves and this company, and the blessing of the Lord and Lady, do I now pronounce you Handfast! Blessed Be!  

 or you can  use this,

 

Conclusion:

    Officiant:    And now, we will dismiss this sacred space. As I close the circle, please send all of your loving energy towards our newly handfasted couple, so that they may begin their life together with all of your blessings and warm wishes.

(Officiant goes around the circle, dismissing the quarters.)

    Officiant:     The circle has been dismissed. Friends, please take a moment to congratulate  ___________   and  __________!

 

HANDFASTING Ceremony. We can tailor for the couple and combine any of the below.

 

Opening Blessing:  (Groom and Bride. Facing each other--hold hands)

Officiant:  A wise man said when he saw the rushing river . . . I could drown or ride the white water. He dove and then grew gills. A wise woman said as she stood at the edge of a cliff . . . I could fly or fall. She jumped and then grew wings.
                 It is a blessing when someone believes in the dream of our ideal selves . . .while still loving the real. And even greater when someone wants to help make the dream come true.

               __________ and __________, You both have already weathered many challenges together. You have met them with humour, understanding and compassion. Time has proved that you are well matched. Yet you make no small commitment. You have carefully considered both the beauty and obligations assumed when lives are wed. Thus, we rejoice and celebrate one of Life’s richest gifts  --the love you share--

                Above you . . . are the stars,   below you, the stones,
                as time blesses you . . .
                like the stars, may your love be constant,   like the stones, may your love be strong.

                Friends, family, loved ones. We are all here today to see two people, ________ and ________, join hands and be bound together by their love, now and forever. Before we begin the ceremony, we will turn this place into sacred ground.   As I cast the circle, please take a moment to visualize loving, positive energy for __________ and _________
           
            (casts the circle, either out loud or in silence.)   The circle has been cast, and this is now a sacred space. We will now take a moment to consecrate the rings.

            (consecrates the rings with the four elements)

             The circle itself is an infinite thing. It is magical and never-ending, never changing and yet always adaptable, a ring with no beginning and no conclusion. Like the circle, true love itself is infinite. It goes on, knowing no boundaries or restrictions. It flourishes and blooms in the light  and in the dark, laying down no ultimatums, making no demands at all. Love, in its infinite form, is something that cannot be forced. It cannot be taken away. It is a gift we give to ourselves, and an honor we give to others from the bottom of our hearts and souls.
            When two people come together and give one another this gift, this most sacred gift of all, it is certain the universe is sitting back and smiling upon us, laughing and showering us with every possible blessing.
            Today is a day to celebrate the love of ________ and ________. They are two people who are the halves of a whole. Two souls, coming together to form one single being; two hearts, beating in a single rhythm.

            Blessed be this marriage and rings with the gifts from the east -- new beginnings that come each day with the rising sun, communication of the heart, mind, body and soul.
            Blessed be this marriage and rings with the gifts of the south -- the light of the heart, the heat of passion, and the warmth of a loving home.
            Blessed be this marriage and rings with the gifts of the west -- the rushing excitement of a raging river, the soft and pure cleansing of a rainstorm, and a commitment as deep as the ocean itself.
                                                                                                                                                                

  Blessed be this marriage and rings with the gifts of the north -- a solid foundation on which to build your lives, abundance and growth of your home, and the stability to be found by holding one another at the end of the day.

            ______  and  _______, these four simple blessings will help you on your journey that begins today. However, they are only tools. They are tools which you must use together to create the light, the strength, the infinite energy now and forever of a love you both so richly deserve.

Vows:

   Officiant:     We have come here to witness your vows to one another. Are you ready to make them?          Couple:     We are

    Officiant (to Groom):    ____________, Repeat after me:
               
                I, _____, take you, _______, in marriage,
                To be my life partner,   To walk, run, and dance this new path together,   To love, care and share,
                To let the winds dance between us,   Let the fires burn within us, And the waters flow through us,
                On our sacred journey together.  On this day may a new consciousness begin,
                On this day I thee wed, With my heart's faithful affections, And my love to you forever.

    Officiant (to Bride):     _________, Repeat after me:
               
                I, _______, take you, _________, in marriage,
                To be my life partner,  To walk, run, and dance this new path together, To love, care and share,
                To let the winds dance between us,  Let the fires burn within us, And the waters flow through us,
                On our sacred journey together. On this day may a new consciousness begin,
                On this day I thee wed,  With my heart's faithful affections,  And my love to you forever.

   Officiant:    These promises you make by the sun and the moon, by fire and water, by day and night, by land and sea. With these vows you swear to be full partners, each to the other. If one drops the load, the other will pick it up. If one is a discredit to the other, their own honor will be forfeit.

                      The constant circle of love you share is symbolized in these rings.
Exchange of Rings:

    Officiant:     These rings symbolize the union in which your two lives are now joined in one unbroken circle, in which, wherever you go, you will always return to one another in your togetherness. Let these rings remind  you of your commitment to love one another, to share your hopes, your  difficulties and your triumphs.

 Now, I bid you look into one another's eyes and hearts. (Groom,) _____, please place the ring on  (Bride) _____ finger. Do you promise to show ____ your honor and fidelity, to share her laughter and joy, to support and stand by her in times of difficulty, to dream and hope together with her, and to spend each day loving her more than the day before? (groom )          I do.

 

                                                                                                                                               

  Officiant:     (Bride ) ____, please give (Groom ) ______ the ring. Do you, (Bride)_____, promise to show (Groom )    _____ your honor and fidelity, to share his hopes and dreams, to laugh with him and share endless days of joy, to stand side by side with him in times of trouble, and to spend each day loving him more than the  day before?  (Bride )   I do.
Binding of Hands:

    Officiant:     The vows of love have been spoken. I ask you now to cross your hands over each other, and take one another's hands.

(Couple joins hands. Officiant comes forward with ribbon and wraps it loosely over couple’s hands)

    Officiant:    _______  and  ________, As this knot is tied, so are your lives now bound.

            This cord symbolizes so much. It is your life, your love, and the eternal connection that the two of you have found with one another. The ties of this handfasting are not formed by these ribbons, or even by the knots connecting them. They are formed instead by your vows, by your  pledge, your souls, and your two hearts, now bound together as one.  Woven into this cord, imbued into its very fibers, are all the hopes of your friends and family, and of yourselves, for your new life together. With the fashioning of this knot do I tie all the desires, dreams, love, and happiness wished here in this place to your lives for as long as love shall last.

            In the joining of hands and the fashion of a knot, so are your lives now bound, one to another. By this cord you are thus bound to your vow. May this knot remain tied for as long as love shall last. May this cord draw your hands together in love, never to be used in anger. May the vows you have spoken never grow bitter in your mouths.

            May the bond of your vows be no heavier to bear than this ribbon. Above you are the stars; below you are the stones. As time passes remember like a star your love should be constant. Like the earth your love should be firm. Possess one another yet be understanding. Have patience one with the other. For storms will come, but they will go quickly. Be free in giving of affection and warmth. Let the sun and the moon and the stars and these our brothers and sisters bear witness that____ and ____ have been joined together and are husband and wife. You may now kiss.

(Couple kisses, Officiate unwraps cord without untying knot).


    Officiant:    Please turn to face your friends and family who love you. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Mr. and Mrs. _______________ !

Conclusion:

    Officiant:    And now, we will dismiss this sacred space. As I close the circle, please send all of your loving energy towards our newly handfasted couple, so that they may begin their life together with all of your blessings and warm wishes.

(Officiant goes around the circle, dismissing the quarters.)
 

                                                                                                                                                      
    Officiant:     The circle has been dismissed. Friends, please take a moment to congratulate  __________ and _________ !

Or you can use this ceremony to close

 

CLOSING AND PRESENTATION 

You have witnessed the promises made by _________ and _________ one to another, and the exchange of the symbols of their union. They are now connected to experience together whatever life may bring them.

You have made your vows, one to the other, before the Gods and this company, and exchanged tokens of your love. By the power of your love, I do pronounce you Husband and Wife. (Or whatever titles are wished).

I am happy/honoured to present to you, (names). _______________________________

In the binding of yourselves have you created life anew. Step forth, therefore, into that new life, and rejoice in your love.

Through the powers of Love, and the blessing of the Lord and Lady (or God and Goddess) do I now pronounce you Handfast! Blessed Be!

Through the powers of Love between yourselves and this company, and the blessing of the Lord and Lady, do I now pronounce you Handfast! Blessed Be!

Conclusion:

    Officiant:    And now, we will dismiss this sacred space. As I close the circle, please send all of your loving energy towards our newly handfasted couple, so that they may begin their life together with all of your blessings and warm wishes.

(Officiant goes around the circle, dismissing the quarters.)

    Officiant:     The circle has been dismissed. Friends, please take a moment to congratulate  __________ and _________
                                                                                                                                

Handfasting Cords/ Ties and their colors and  meanings : 

 

The term "tying the knot", which is still used widely today, originates with the practice of handfasting. During the ceremony, the couple's hands are tied together with one or several colored cords or ribbons, symbolizing the desire of the couple to be united. The cord is often kept by the couple in a box or ornate bag as a reminder of their vows. Handfastings, done in the past as a commitment for a year and a day, can be combined with ring vows and a license to make it a legally binding contract.

We have several beautiful ceremonies to choose from, from the very simple one cord handfasting to the longer 6 cord ceremony. All of our handfastings can be customized to fit your needs.

In handfasting cords, all of the colors have meaning.
The handfasting cords themselves can either be several colors twisted into one cord and then used for a single cord ceremony or each color can be draped individually as in the six cord handfasting.

Here are some of the meanings attached to the colors:

Red will, love, strength, fertility, courage, health, vigor, passion

Orange - encouragement, adaptability, stimulation, attraction, plenty, kindness.

Yellow -
attraction, charm, confidence, balance, harmony

Green -
fertility, luck, prosperity, nurturing, beauty, health, love

Dark Blue -for a safe journey, longevity & strength

Light Blue -
tranquility, understanding, patience, health

Purple -
healing, health, strength, power, progress

Black -
strength, empowerment, wisdom/vision, success, pure love

White -
spiritual purity, truth, peace, serenity and devotion

Gray - balance, neutrality, used in erasing, canceling, neutralizing, and return to the universe without repercussion

Pink -
love, unity, honor, truth, romance, happiness

Brown -
for healing , skills & talent, nurturing, home & hearth, the earth.

Silver -
for creativity, inspiration & vision, and protection.

Gold -
for unity, longevity, prosperity, strength.