Special Ceremony Additions

Listed below are the Special Ceremony Additions you can add to your Standard Wedding Ceremony to make it more meaningful. These Special Ceremony Additions all involve the use of props (physical items) that you would use symbolically to enhance your wedding. It is not necessary to include any of these additions in your wedding ceremony - they are listed for your consideration. Click on the links below to explore your options.


However, if you have not already had a look at the Standard Wedding Ceremony, you may want to have a look at that first and then return to this page.


There is also a selection of Wedding Readings and Poems that can be incorporated into your Standard Wedding Ceremony.


These Special Ceremony Additions can be added to your Standard Wedding Ceremony:


1. The Rose Ceremony

2. The Stone Ceremony

3. The Sand Ceremony

4. The Lighting of the Unity Candle

5. The Hands Ceremony

6. The Butterfly Release Ceremony

7. The Balloon Release Ceremony

8. Tree Planting Ceremony

9. Dove Release Ceremony



1. The Rose Ceremony

The Rose Ceremony is simple yet profoundly moving. The bride and groom exchange two red roses, symbolizing the giving and receiving of their love for each other throughout their entire married life. The Rose Ceremony also conveys how to use the rose and its symbolism in difficult times, in order to forgive each other.


"Your gift to each other, for your wedding today has been your wedding rings – which shall always be an outward demonstration of your vows of love and respect; and a public showing of your commitment to each other.


You now have what remains the most honorable title which may exist between a man and a woman – the title of "husband" and "wife". For your first gift as husband and wife, that gift will be a single rose.


In the past, the rose was considered a symbol of love and a single rose always meant only one thing – it meant the words "I love you". So it is appropriate that for your first gift – as husband and wife – that gift would be a single rose.

Please exchange your first gift as husband and wife.


In some ways it seems like you have not done anything at all. Just a moment ago you were holding one small rose – and now you are holding one small rose. In some ways, a marriage ceremony is like this. In some ways, tomorrow is going to seem no different than yesterday. But in fact, today, just now, you both have given and received one of the most valuable and precious gifts of life – one I hope you always remember – the gift of true and abiding love within the devotion of marriage.


_____________ and _____________, I would ask that wherever you make your home in the future – whether it be a large and elegant home – or a small and graceful one – that you both pick one very special location for roses; so that on each anniversary of this truly wonderful occasion you both may take a rose to that spot, both as a recommitment to your marriage – and a recommitment that THIS will be a marriage based upon love.


In every marriage there are times where it is difficult to find the right words. It is easiest to hurt who we most love. It is easiest to be most hurt by who we most love. It might be difficult some time to say "I am sorry" or "I forgive you"; "I need you" or "I am hurting". If this should happen, if you simply can not find these words, leave a rose at that spot which both of you have selected – for that rose than says what matters most of all and should overpower all other things and all other words.


That rose says the words: "I still love you". The other should accept this rose for the words which cannot be found, and remember the love and hope that you both share today.

_________ and _________, if there is anything you remember of this marriage ceremony, it is that it was love that brought you here today, it is only love which can make it a glorious union, and it is by love which your marriage shall endure".


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2. The Stone Ceremony

Each guest receives a stone as they arrive at the door of the venue. This is given to them by someone whom the bride and groom have chosen.


Each guest receiving a stone, is told that the stone must be held all during the wedding ceremony. This explanation can be given by the "stone giver" at the door and also by the officiant in his opening remarks.


The bride and groom must have a nice container, that will hold all the stones, it could be marked "blessing stones", or engraved with whatever the bride and groom wish. After the ceremony, each guest can deposit their stone in the container. By holding the stones all during the wedding ceremony, each guest is transferring their love and blessings to the newly married couple.


The bride and groom will take the container with them when they leave the venue, thus taking with them all of the love and blessings that have been given to them by their guests.


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3. The Sand Ceremony



__________ and __________, you have committed here today, to share, the rest of your lives with each other. We’ve witnessed your giving and receiving of rings, as well as the exchange of vows.


Now, we will perform a sand ceremony to visually represent these promises. We were formed from the earth, and we shall return in the same way. The sand you both hold in your hands represents your two bodies, and as you pour the sand into one, so shall you two become one. As the two colours of sand mix together, your lives become intertwined. It is this blending that is marriage.



(Bride’s Name) and (Groom's Name), you have just sealed your relationship by the giving and receiving of rings and the exchange of a kiss, and this covenant is a relationship pledge between two people who agree that they will commit themselves to one another throughout their lives. You have committed here today to share the rest of your lives with each other.


Today, this relationship is symbolized through the pouring of these two individual containers of sand - one, representing you (Bride’s name) and all that you were, all that you are, and all that you will ever be, and the other representing you, (Groom's Name), and all that you were and all that you are, and all that you will ever be.


As these two containers of sand are poured into the third container, the individual containers of sand will no longer exist, but will be joined together as one. Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so will your marriage be.



(Bride’s Name) and (Groom's Name) today you join your separate lives together. The two separate bottles of sand symbolize your separate lives, separate families and separate sets of friends. They represent all that you are and all that you'll ever be as an individual. They also represent your lives before today.


As these two containers of sand are poured into the third container, the individual containers of sand will no longer exist, but will be joined together as one. Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so will your marriage be.



_______________ and _______________, today you are making a lasting commitment to each other. That commitment is symbolized through the pouring of these two individual containers of sand; one that represents _______________ and the other that represents _______________.


Each of you comes to this relationship with unique strengths, vulnerabilities, and histories. As individuals, you are beautiful people all on your own. Yet when the two of you are blended together, you form something even more beautiful. Those strengths can blossom, those vulnerabilities can be cared for, and those people can soar.


As the two containers of sand are poured into the vase, (both ______ & ______ simultaneously pour their remaining sand in the central vase) the separate colors of sand now blend into a new color. You have now blended your families into a new family, as you start your journey in marriage, loving and strong as husband and wife, as inseparable as these grains of sand.



You need: additional vases for the number of family members you are including, as well as additional sand for each vase - usually there is a different color of sand for each family member.


Be sure to get a table low enough that the kids can easily reach. A wide mouth vase is helpful for less coordinated little hands, and some kids may need assistance with their pouring.


When to add: The bride and groom pour SOME of their sand first, together, as a foundation to the marriage. They do not pour it all right away – they save some to pour with the children.


Then, the children AND the bride and groom pour their sand together, until all the individual containers are empty.



(Bride’s Name) and (Groom's Name) today you join your lives together. These bottles of sand of various colors symbolize your individual spirits of you and that of your children, (Child’s name) and (Child’s Name). Each container is unique, representing who you are. As these containers of sand are poured into a larger container, the different colors will join together to form something quite beautiful. You are joined together today, not only in marriage, but as a family.



Today as (Bride’s Name) and (Groom's Name) have sealed their commitment to each other with the exchange of rings they make a commitment to their children. We recognize the significant role that (Child’s name) and (Child’s name) play in this marriage celebrated today. They will now join (Bride’s Name) and (Groom's Name) in this commitment to each other into one blended family.


Today, this relationship is symbolized through the pouring of this sand, each representing a member. As each individual’s sand is poured into the family's one united container, the individual containers of sand will no longer exist, but will be joined together as one. Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so will become the bond with your family



(Bride’s Name) and (Groom's Name) today you are making a commitment to share your lives with each other, joining your two families into one. First, you will each separately pour a small layer of sand into the vase, representing who you are as an individual.
Pause while they each pour a small amount of sand


But you are also making a bond with your children, (Child’s name) and (Child’s Name). As they also contribute their unique personalities and strengths to this new family, they will also individually add a layer of sand to this unity vase.


Now, you will all pour together, blending your colors, which represent your commitment to each other. As the individual grains of sand can no longer be separated, may your bond also be inseparable.


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4. The Lighting of the Unity Candle

The two outside candles have been lit by the parents to represent the lives of [bride] and [groom] till this time.


The lights, representing the faith, wisdom, and love they have received from their parents, are distinct, each burning alone.


They come into their marriage relationship as individuals and they do not lose their identity, rather they create through their commitment the relationship of marriage. 
They light the center candle to symbolize the union of their lives.


As this one light burns undivided, so will their love be one.
This center candle before us symbolizes the joining of [bride] and [groom] and of the new family they have formed here today. 

May the radiance of this one light and their journey together be a testimony of their unity.


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5. The Hands Ceremony

(Officiant) – "I ask that you join hands. I ask the Best Man and Maid of Honor, __________and ___________, to prepare the hand ceremony”.

_________, (Best Man), please place the ceremony cloth over the joined hands of (Groom) and (Bride).
_________, (Maid of Honor), please tie the cord over the ceremony cloth.


(Officiant) – "These are the hands of your best friend, full of love for you.
These are the hands that will work alongside yours as together you build
your future. The hands that will passionately love you and cherish you
through the years, and with the slightest touch will comfort you like no other.

These are the hands that will hold you when you fear, or grief temporarily
comes your way.

These are the hands that will countless times wipe tears from your eyes, tears of sorrow and tears of joy.

These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children.

These are the hands that will give you support and encouragement to chase your dreams.

That will hold you tight as you struggle through difficult times, and give strength when you need it.

And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged will still be reaching for yours,
still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.”


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6. The Butterfly Release Ceremony

The butterfly symbolizes new beginnings and rebirths. What better way to celebrate the beginning of a new life together than with the releasing of butterflies at your wedding. Every release is unique and special just as every wedding and every moment of our life is unique and special. Releasing butterflies is a magical and unique experience that will put a smile on every guest’s face. Their shimmering beauty and graceful flight are a wonder to young and old alike. Your "butterfly release" will inspire a memorable and unique experience to be cherished for a lifetime.


This part of the celebration is usually at the conclusion of their ceremony, after the pronouncement of marriage and often during the kiss. A butterfly release provides a memorable and photogenic conclusion. Their release is environmentally safe and helps in the restoration of the butterfly population.


Your guests or just the Bride, Groom, Bridesmaids and Groomsmen can participate in a butterfly release. The choice is yours. Often the minister will hand the Bride and Groom a beautiful white box containing the butterflies for the Bride and Groom to release as he reads some or all of the ceremony below.


Upon opening the lid of the box, the butterflies will flutter around and may even land on close-by objects including the Bride and Groom, providing unique photo opportunities. Have you ever held a beautiful, live butterfly in the palm of your hand? Watch closely as it responds to the warmth of your skin and slowly open its magnificent wings.


Here is the speech:

Legend says

"If anyone desires a wish to come true they must first capture a butterfly and whisper that wish to it.

Since a butterfly can make no sound, the butterfly can not reveal the wish to anyone but the Great Spirit who hears and sees all.

In gratitude for giving the beautiful butterfly its freedom, the Great Spirit always grants the wish.

So, according to legend, by making a wish and giving the butterfly its freedom, the wish will be taken to the heavens and be granted.

Today, we have gathered to grant this couple all our best wishes and are about to set these butterflies free in the trust all these wishes will be granted".


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7. The Balloon Release Ceremony

Now we will have the balloon release ceremony.

Today we have gathered to grant this couple all our best wished and are about to set these balloons free, in the trust that all their wishes will be granted.

Every balloon release ceremony is unique and special just as every wedding and every moment of our life is unique and special.


As these beautiful balloons float upwards, may they represent the high hopes and dreams of the bride and groom.

We trust that all the cares of the bride and the groom will be as light as these balloons.

You may now release your balloons.


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8. Tree Planting Ceremony

__________ and __________ will now take part in a Tree Planting Ceremony, to symbolize the roots of their relationship, and the continued growth of their love, as they become each other’s family today.


Love is the essence of human experience and emotion. It is the root of all and everything we, as humans, do. Love richens our experience, and fills our lives with meaning. It gives us a firm base from which to grow, to learn, and change.  


Let your relationship and your love for each other be like this tree you plant today. Let it grow tall and strong. Let it stand tall during the harsh winds and rains and storms, and come through unscathed. Like a tree, your marriage must be resilient. It must weather the challenges of daily life and the passage of time. And just like the tree you are planting, marriage requires constant nurturing and nourishment.


__________ and __________, would you please water the sapling? Remember to nourish each other, with words of encouragement, trust, and love. This is needed on a daily basis so you each can grow and reach your fullest potential – just like this tree. 

__________ and __________ will plant this tree in their backyard to always be a symbol of their love for each other.


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9. Dove Release Ceremony

A professional release of Pure White Doves is a natural part of wedding ceremonies, lending a special celebratory note to the exchange of vows.

White Doves are the living symbol of everlasting love, fidelity, peace and harmony. These lovely birds mate for life, building a home and raising their young together.

The Bride and Groom each release a single White Dove symbolizing their love for one another.

  • Doves symbolize love, peace, happiness, and prosperity, and can be released outdoors as the couple leaves the church or during an outdoor ceremony. 
  • The trained white doves, ranging in number from two to 20, circle the couple and then fly away, denoting the newlyweds’ departure from their families and toward life’s new journey.
  • It is said that if doves are seen on your wedding day it will assure a happy home, good fortune, and ever- lasting love.


To be read as the doves are released:

The Symbolism of a White Dove Release
First, you will note that our doves are pure white.  This represents the bride and groom as they begin their life’s journey together in purity and with no regrets of their past. 

Second, a wedding ceremony begins a journey of two lives working together for life’s happiness.  The actions of the doves demonstrate this beautifully.  Once released, the doves fly higher and higher together as they seek their way home. 

While still separate, they work as a team until they can find their bearings.  Once they discover the direction they need to travel, these beautiful white doves climb to greater and greater heights. 

Similarly, a bride and groom do not know what the future holds for them.  Their path may change many times along the way, but with faith and love they will find their way together.  Just as our doves have the instinct to find their way home, the wedding couple will always know where "home" is, as home is wherever they are together. 


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