A symbolic ceremony is not a legally recognised marriage ceremony, therefore no documents are required. It may be an addition to a civil ceremony. A symbolic ceremony allows you to express your love for each other where, when and how you wish without any legal requirement in a relaxed way. You will only need a celebrant to perform your ceremony. If you do choose to have a symbolic ceremony you will need to also have an official civil wedding ceremony to obtain a legally binding marriage certificate.
Why choosing a symbolic ceremony?
Many couples choose to get legally married in their country of residence prior to going abroad, to avoid
complicated legal formalities in a foreign country.
A symbolic wedding is a powerful addition to a civil ceremony, which is often perceived as too short or too impersonal. It is a lovely way to personalise your wedding. It makes it unique for you and your guests with words and music that have real meaning to you.
Traditional, or casual and romantic or creative
A symbolic wedding ceremony can be very similar to a religious ceremony without the religious aspect. It may include the same elements, such as the bride entrance, the exchange of vows and wedding rings, but it will be performed in a more relaxed and intimate manner.
Alternatively, some couples choose to have a more original event with rituals, friend’s contributions, surprises, etc.
This type of ceremony could also be a great alternative if you have children and wish for them to be part of the ceremony. In fact, it can be used not just to symbolise the union of your love, but to also symbolise your union as a family. You may consider including children or other guests in the ceremony as well.
Who may perform the ceremony?
As wedding celebrant you can literally choose anyone to perform your ceremony. Although, choosing a professional one would help you create the right structure, select powerful readings and add rituals according to your wishes. Their experience would contribute to the success of your event and spare some additional stress to your friends and relatives!
Where can symbolic ceremonies take place?
Symbolic ceremonies in Italy can take place in a garden, on a sea-view terrace, or any other special place which has a special meaning for the couple.
What are the most common rituals?
Whatever structure you decide for your wedding, adding some rituals may make the ceremony more emotional and tell more about you, your love and your personal way of life.
There are many of them which either go back to some traditions or have been developed for creative couples. The most popular and also my preferred ones are the Unity Candles, the Sand Ceremony, and the Hand Fasting.
This ceremony involves the lighting of two single candles. Each representing the two people as individuals and the energy and light that comes from their own being.
The couple then bring their individual flames together to light a central pillar candle or “unity candle” on the altar. This demonstrates the stronger energy that is formed in the flame, when they marry their own energies together. The larger lit unity candle symbolises that they now light a clearer path for each other as one.
You can also involve your children or your family members (mothers or fathers) to light the single candles and pass them to you to simbolise the blessing of your original family to the new one.
The pouring of two different coloured sands into one shared vessel is a contemporary symbolic ceremony. It is often used to represent the coming together of two people in a very visual and permanent way.
The coloured sands celebrate you both as individuals. By mixing these sands together into one container, we demonstrate how through marriage we still exist as individuals with our own “colour” to be appreciated, but by combining our colours we create something which is more beautiful than was once separated. To separate these grains of sand later would not be impossible, but it would certainly be a challenge!
The container of combined sand also makes for a decorative keepsake which can be kept as a commemorative item in the home afterwards. Some couples even use an hour glass, and turn the sands each year on their anniversary.
Hand Fasting (or “Tying the Knot”) is often used in modern ceremonies to represent the coming together of two people and their lives by the tying of their hands with a chord or a ribbon.
There are many ways to tailor this ceremony, but generally the couple will place their palms together, and with each spoken promise or given virtue, the chord is wrapped around the hands. The ceremony is then completed with the tying of a knot to form an eternal loop in the material. Then the hands are released and the loop is taken home to be kept as a visual reminder of their bond.
Couples can opt to use one single chord, or involve multiple coloured chords plaited together to represent a combination of different promises and virtues. You can even symbolise the union of different people being brought together by the marriage, by using the coloured ribbons to represent each person within the family unit.
You could also ask friends or family members to come forward and assist in adding their own cords to the finished piece.
To sum up, what is the power of a symbolic ceremony?
A symbolic ceremony allows any couples to get married where, when and how they wish (destination weddings, same-sex weddings, divorced members. etc.).
It can be personalised to reflect who you are as individual and as a couple.
You may involve children, friends, relatives to share the blessing of the new union.
It can include any readings, music, or elements that have a meaning to the couple.
This ceremony enables the bride-and groom-to-be to express their love to each other with their own vows in their native language
If you had not considered it before, you may take it into consideration now!