Throughout the world and through the ages, the wedding has been a time of great joy, celebration – and ritual. Each culture develops its own set of trends and traditions. As well as a time to look forward, the wedding day is often a time to look back. Traditions lend us a way to retain a sense of past yet still build a bridge to the future by continuing a timeless ritual.

At a more practical level, today’s bride and groom can “borrow” from the past to inject a sense of magic into the ceremony. WedNet presents a number of ideas that you can incorporate into your ceremony to set your day apart from other weddings.

Ties That Bind

Throughout the world there are many cultures that recognize the idea of matrimony as the “ties that bind”. For example in some African cultures, long grasses are braided together and used to tie the hands of the groom and bride together to symbolize their union. Delicate twine is used in the Hindu Vedic wedding ceremony to bind one of the bride’s hands to one of the hands of the groom. In Mexico the practice of having a ceremonial rope loosely place around both of the necks of the bride and groom to “bind” them together is common. In your own ceremony, consider symbolizing your commitment to each other by adapting some element of these cultural practices. Silk ribbons, garland of flowers or just holding hands can be a romantic way of showing your ties that bind.

Flower Ring Bearer

In the early 1900’s brides would have their rings delivered by their ring bearer inside a calla lily. This unique and beautiful alternative adds a romantic touch to the ceremony. The calla lily can have streams of thin wispy silk ribbons tied around the stem of the lily. We recommend a slightly older child be given this responsibility so that they can confidently steady the flower with the ring as they walk down the ceremonial path.

Good Luck Knots

During the Medieval period knots were used as an intrinsic part of the design in art, clothing, architecture, weapons, pottery etc., to symbolize good luck, steadfastness and hope. In the wedding ceremony, the brides of the times used and decorated with knots to show this important symbolism. For example their bouquets were often tied with several knots. This symbolic and beautiful tradition can be carried over by adorning the ring pillow or the kneeling pillow with silk cords that are knotted at each of the corner ends with fringe tassel to finish. Tie clips or cuff links, necklaces or earrings that are adorned with sculpted knots make a touching and elegant gift to your ushers and bride maids.

The Natural Path

The ceremonial path that the bride and groom walk down has traditionally been decorated with natural decorations that symbolize luck, fertility and love. In the Finnish and French traditions laurel branches are used; the Germans often use some form of evergreens and the English use strands of ivy along the path of the bride and groom to and from the ceremony. In a garden ceremony, ask your ushers to give the guest bags of herbs, flower petals or sprigs of greenery so that they may be sprinkled over the path as the couple begins their happy procession away from the ceremony.

Ribbons, Ribbons and Ribbons

Since the medieval times, ribbons have been used as a celebratory declaration and given as gifts to the wedding guests. Today ribbons continue to be used to adorn hair, decorate flower bouquets, to add color to garlands, tie around stems of glasses, the handle of the wedding cake knife, around the bonbonnieres etc. Personalized ribbon is a beautiful way to make the ribbons you use special. Advertising specialty companies, stationary stores, party suppliers or specialty printers can offer this service.

Every Bridesmaid is Lucky

During the days of American colonialism it was customary that the bride would especially make miniature bouquets so that each bridesmaid is tossed one for good luck. In keeping with this tradition, rather than arbitrarily tossing one bouquet to a lucky catcher, make several miniature ones that each of your bridesmaids receive.


In many cultures the use of incense, for purification of the air and carrying prayers and wishes to the heavens or gods, at the ceremony site is quite common. African, European, Central American and South American cultures share this aromatic practice. Whether indoors or outdoors, burning incense adds a special ceremonial feel to the event.

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