Sarah and John wanted to include two rituals I had never done before into their wedding ceremony -a Sapling Planting and a Circle of Love.
They got the idea for the Circle of Love from John & Kate Plus 8, when they had their vow renewal in Hawaii (side note: watching that episode last week for research made me a little sad with the Gosselin’s recent news).
It’s a traditional Hawaiian ritual, but I couldn’t find a lot of information online. Most of what I found was about using the Circle of Love as more of a floral decoration (i.e., creating the altar where they would get married, with perhaps a brief mention in the ceremony itself - like a decorative chuppah) than a ritual. But Sarah and John wanted to incorporate their family into it, having them place the flowers to create the Circle of Love during the processional, in lieu of having a traditional bridal party.
As I mentioned, I loved this idea so much and that I used it, in a slightly different capacity, for a beach wedding, creating the Circle of Love out of shells. Here’s the wording that I created for Sarah and John’s wedding:
As our bride and groom’s siblings entered, they placed a flower, forming a Circle of Love that now surrounds our bride and groom. This Circle of Love will form the altar, the sacred space where John and Sarah will make their vows and promises to each other, as they are joined together in marriage.
But these flowers not only represent this new beginning for our bride and groom, marking this spot and this moment in their lives - but also the love of each person who placed it. Each flower is an individual, beautifully unique in its own way - just as the love and support of the person who placed it. Each flower is a show of support for our bride and groom as they become husband and wife, and as they begin this new, amazing, and wonderful journey together, as partners in life. Sarah and John are surrounded by these flowers, this Circle of Love, just as they are surrounded by their cherished family’s love today - and everyday!
The other ritual they wanted to include was a Sapling Planting ceremony. Again, I went to my favorite resource (the internet!) to do some research, and found some information on it via 2000 Dollar Wedding (that post is a great jumping off point for thinking outside the box and creatively if you’re writing your own ceremony, by the way).
Drawing inspiration from Sarah and John’s personal story, as well as quotes, my own ideas, and 2000 Dollar Wedding’s ceremony, this was the wording and action I came up with:
Sarah and John 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.
Sarah told me that she and John spend all of their spare time working in their yard. They even call themselves “hobbits” because they are always gardening! So it is very appropriate for them to choose a living tree to symbolize their unity and marriage.
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.
Sarah and John, would you please plant the sapling?
Sarah and John plant the sapling.
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.
Sarah and John, would you please water the sapling?
Sarah and John 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.
I love adding rituals into weddings, especially when I get to be creative and write them myself! I think adding a little “action” into a wedding ceremony adds interest, emotion, and fabulous memories for both the bride and groom AND their guests.
Are you planning to incorporate any rituals into your wedding ceremony?