Alternative Wedding

Alternative Wedding

People have been proclaiming their commitment to one another through wedding ceremonies of one form or another for centuries. Traditional services have meant different things in different times. Many of what are considered today to be alternative wedding ceremonies actually have deep roots in ancient rituals. Increasingly, when two people find their soul mate in one another, they may not come from the same cultural or religious background. Borrowing from the old traditions, or new variations of some old traditions, may help bridge the gap to make a ceremony both meaningful and inclusive. Here are a few examples of wedding celebrations to consider when you are looking for a new/old way to honor your union.

Pagan Roots

A ceremony known as hand-fasting is often incorporated into Pagan-style marriage services, even though the practice predates both Pagan and Christian traditions. Hand fasting is a fairly literal name for the practice of binding a couple's hands together to symbolize their spiritual closeness to one another in addition to their physical life with one another. The two people may swear oaths to each other that they have prepared themselves. These promises express their individual approaches in vowing to love, honor, protect, and respect one another and their family. The ceremony demonstrates the couple's responsibility to the relationship and to their public commitment. Handfastings and Pagan-style services generally take place in the outdoors, on a site marked with a circle. This is the sacred and natural place where they will make their vows. Their right hands are bound (or tied fast) with ribbon as they swear their oaths.

Buddhist Celebrations

People who wish to incorporate elements of Buddhist traditions into their wedding ceremonies enjoy quite a bit of freedom to pick and choose how they want it to look and feel. In Buddhism there is no set service for weddings. These events are considered more of a social occasion than a sacred ceremony. The Buddha stated that marriage may be based on deep mutual respect between two people it should be a partnership of equals. Someone who practices Buddhism is welcome to marry anyone from any religion without compromising their Buddhist principles in any way. A good marriage is considered a harmonious blend of two individuals with different and complementary strengths and abilities. While a ceremony that seeks to be mindful of the teachings of Buddha may entail a reading by an officiant from the Dharma to mark the occasion, it is not required. Really, almost anything else goes, as long as it is joyful.

Humanist Services

A ceremony in the humanist tradition is not necessarily a legally binding service, but a very personal way to commemorate a commitment between two people in a manner unique to them. In a humanist wedding, there are no hard and fast rules, no scripts, and no particular protocols. Often there is an officiant who may oversee a ceremony of the couple's design. Two people may include traditions that feel meaningful to them, or they may invent their own. Rings and vows may be exchanged or not. At a humanist event, friends and family may be invited to witness the commitment ceremony, or it may take place just between the couple and an officiant. Whatever form the event takes, at its heart a humanist wedding honors the decision for two people to share a life with one another.

Follow a Unique Path

These days, there are as many ways to celebrate a wedding as there are couples who want to get married. Whether it is a special destination that makes an event unique or a newly minted tradition, a little planning may go a long way in making the day all it can be. Remember, unless a couple chooses the humanist approach and eschews a marriage license, it is the officiant's job to make sure the documents are signed and delivered to the appropriate agency after the celebration.

Category: Get Ordained Perform a Wedding

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