Wedding Planning

10 Ideas for a non-traditional Wedding Ceremony

More and more, we are seeing couples move away from traditional religious wedding ceremonies. But once you make the decision not to have a traditional ceremony, then comes the hard part of deciding what your ceremony will look like. For us, we always know e would not be having a traditional Catholic Church wedding; neither of us are religious and frankly I have issues with the Catholic Church. But when we sat down to think about our ceremony, we weren’t sure where to start. But rest assured, there are so many really nice things you can include to your ceremony which can be both meaningful and fun. Here are some ideas below:

Our wine box ceremony

1.How about a Wine Box Ceremony? Yes, you read that right – WINE! When I read about this one I absolutely loved it and just knew we had to include it on our wedding. You pick out a nice bottle of wine, and a wine box ahead of time. The, at some point before your wedding, you and your partner both sit down and write a “love letter” to each other. This can be about how you’re feeling about your partner as the wedding approaches, how much you love them, how excited you are for your wedding etc. On the day of your wedding, you then lock your bottle of wine, along with love letters into the wine box. It is sealed and to remain that way until your 5th wedding anniversary OR if you have a really big fight before the 5 years is up, you can open it. The idea being that drinking your wine and reading your love letters will remind you of why you love your partner and hopefully that fight will be long forgotten. Now, myself and Phil were not going to keep wine locked away for 5 years, that’s just not in our blood lol. So instead, we are opening ours on our first anniversary (this weekend!). We will then put a new bottle of wine into the box this weekend, and that will get opened on our second anniversary! You could also put a new love letter in so you also have a letter to read on every anniversary!


2. Handfasting Ceremony. We also did this one and I absolutely loved it. This is an ancient Celtic tradition. In ancient Ireland, when two people chose to be married, they were brought together to have a braided cord or ribbon tied around their hands in the presence of a priest. This is where the phrase “tying to knot” came from. We used ribbons, our officiant had us choose 6 ribbon colours ahead of time (each colour signifies something different). On the day, our Celebrant first explained the meaning of the ceremony to all our guests. Next, you and your partner stand facing each other, and your hands are bound together using the ribbons, with the ribbons being tied in a knot at the end. Our bridal party was also involved, they each came up and picked out a colour and draped it over our hands. When you remove the ribbons, you remove them with the knot still intact and then that’s a keepsake of your ceremony that you will have forever.

3. Ring Warming Ceremony. This is a special way to include your guests in your ceremony, but might be better suited to a smaller, more intimate ceremony. In this ceremony, your wedding rings are passed around among your guests so that each guest can imbue your wedding bands with their blessings, wishes and happy thoughts for you as a couple.

Exchanging our rings

4. Pass the Rope. This one has a similar sentiment to the ring warming ceremony, but might the boho couple better! You pass a piece of rope around to all your guests, this signifies their commitment to support your marriage. When the last guests gets the rope, they pass it back to the couple and the couple then braids it to symbolize their union together (and to God if they are religious).

5. Sand Ceremony. My sister and her husband did this one and it was really nice. You are your partner each pick a different colour sand, and then during the ceremony, your pour your sands into one large vessel to symbolize your coming together as a couple. You then have your sand vessel to take home after your ceremony and keep in your house.

6. Gather Round. This one would work for very small, intimate weddings. Gather all your guests in a circle around you and your partner, and they can share something about the couple, or their wishes for the couple aloud. You would need to give your guests advance warning so they can have something prepared. I think it’s a lovely way to get your guests ore involved.

7. Pant a Tree. Perfect for an outdoor ceremony! Plant your tree to represent groth, something you and your partner will do together. You and your partner should each have a separate container of soil to place on top of the planting to represent you coming together as one.

8. Beer Blending. This a cool one, for the modern beer drinking couple! Similar to the sand ceremony, but instead of sand, you will be using beer!  One partner pours light beer and the other partner pours a dark beer into the same glass. And then you both drink – cheers!

9. Wedding Time Capsule. For the sentimental couples. This one is very similar to the Wine Box Ceremony, but instead of wine and love letters, you can lock anything of sentimental value into the box! You could put some mementos from your wedding there in the box, I would still put a bottle of wine in too though 😉

10. Family Vows. This is a way to include more than just the couple in the wedding ceremony and is an awesome addition when you’re bringing together two families with children. A family vow is an opportunity for the couple and their children to all say I do and to take each other as parents and children. 

Remember, that if you are having a non-tradition wedding ceremony, then the world is your oyster, you can have it exactly the way you want it and it can be as personal as you want. That’s the beauty and honestly I absolutely loved our wedding ceremony. It was short, we included the few rituals that we wanted, our Celebrant was a woman, and she talked about how our whole love story from how we met, to some of the adventures we have had. It was truly just about us as a couple, our life together and our love for each other and if I was going back do it again, I wouldn’t change a thing about the ceremony !

Disclaimer: All pictures in this post were taken by our amazing photographer InAlexphotography.

Happy planning 🙂

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