Saptapardi – The Seven Steps

Saptapardi wedding ritual - around the sacred flame

Each step around the sacred fire represents a commitment that the couple makes. In the traditional Hindu wedding the accompanying words are spoken in Sanskrit, however you may choose an English interpretation that makes sense to you, or adapt to suit your own beliefs and needs.An interpretation of the meaning of the seven steps

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Bell of Truce

Irish wedding custom - a bell of truce rung to bring couple back to harmony

A tradition from the West of Ireland, where the Celtic temperament has undoubtedly led to some very firey, passionate marriages.

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Drinking from a Shared Cup

Bride and groom drink from a shared cup

There is a lovely tradition from several different places where the bride and groom celebrate their union by drinking from a shared cup.
In the Celtic/Irish version, the couple drink three times from the Loving Cup –  to the love they have shared in the past,  to the love they are sharing in this moment, and to the love they will share in all the days to come.

Those with Scottish heritage might want to use a Claddagh cup for this little ritual.

Those with French connections might like to incorporate the ceremonial blending of two wines, symbolising the union of two families.

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Benediction – Words of Blessing

Words of blessing spoken at the end of a wedding ceremony

Traditionally, the first part of the wedding ceremony is about where you have come from, the middle part is about the commitments you are making today, and the closing part is future oriented, about receiving the blessings and well wishes of your community.
I often use these words, taken from a traditional Irish blessing, in the closing segment of the ceremony.  But you may prefer to choose another reading or prayer to use here – to be read by the celebrant or by another person of your choice.

“As you go forth from this place to continue your lives together,
may your joys be as bright as the morning,
your years of happiness as numerous as the stars in the heavens,
and your troubles but shadows that fade in the sunlight of love.

May your home be filled with laughter and the warm embrace of a summer day.

May you find peacefulness and beauty, challenge and satisfaction,
healing and renewal, love and wisdom as in a quiet heart.

May you always feel that what you have is enough.”

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Jumping the Broomstick

Ceremonial crossing the threshold at end of wedding

An old Romany custom, also adopted by African Americans during the slave times when they were unable to legally marry.
If it appeals to you, jumping the broomstick together could make a great finale to your wedding ceremony.

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Pebble Ceremony

Pebble ceremony ritual for wedding guests

A nice way for all your guests to be included in your ceremony.
Can be done with river stones, polished gemstones such as rose quartz, glass wishing stones, shells or other found items.

Other options for involving guests include: the Community Pledge of Support, or having a wishing tree that guests can tie little cards on to with their good wishes for your marriage.  Or perhaps you have a creative idea of your own?

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Elemental Blessings

Symbolic qualities of fire, earth, water and air are invoked to bless the couple in their union.

Invoking the blessings of Earth, Air, Fire and Water – with words or symbols. This could be done by the celebrant, or by special guests who are happy to have a speaking part in your ceremony.

Earth =  stability, endurance, the body, nourishment.  Earth symbols include feeding each other, food, stones, crystals, soil.

Air = breath, communication, harmony, the mind.  Air symbols include blowing bubbles, feathers, fan, incense/smudge.

Fire = energy, passion, the blood, transformation. Fire symbols include candle lighting, lanterns, sparklers.

Water = purification, flexibility, the emotions. Water symbols include pouring  a libation, drinking from a shared cup, chalice or bowl of water or other liquid.

Curious to know more? Here’s a link to a site which offers some additional suggestions about the elements. 

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The Wedding Kiss

Symbolism of the wedding kiss

A very traditional part of most weddings. The symbolism is about sealing the contract, or in a more romantic interpretation, the two lovers inhaling some of each other’s souls…

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Overcoming Symbolic Obstacles

Traditional Chinese custom for the groom to be presented with challenges before he can reach the bride

In traditional Chinese culture the groom is stopped at the door to the bride’s house where he must overcome obstacles and challenges playfully set by the bride’s family before he can carry her off from her family home for the wedding.
Perhaps you have some Chinese heritage, or perhaps you also have had to overcome some challenges to be together?

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