American Association of Wedding Officiants

Professional Wedding Officiants

Archive for the ‘Rituals’ Category


Posted by AAWO on April 14, 2009

Traditions have for the most part remained the same over the last 100 years but couples have been personalizing some of the standard ones in recent years.

With more couples being married outside the church and in the great outdoors, the unity candle has become a challenge. We have heard ideas like drill out the center of the candles and insert the trick birthday candles so if blown out they will relight again and again.

2Also couples have moved on to sand ceremonies, unity bouquets even the mixing of wines. Here we see a sand ceremony coupled with their own tradition of jumping sugar cane. Both families are from sugar producing islands and sugar cane has always been a happy and positive entity in their lives.

1Rituals also provide an excellent opportunity to include family. Here we have a couple both with three children by utilizing a unity candle the youngest each lit a candle and passed the flame to the next until reaching the parents whom in turn lit the unity candle.

When planning a ceremony speak with your experienced Officiant –  ideas and challenges for new ideas are always shared among them.

Submitted by Reverend Michael Scarlett


Posted in Ceremony, officiant, Rituals | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

SCREECH Unity Ceremony

Posted by AAWO on April 10, 2009

Shawn & Peggy’s Wedding
Philips Old Colony House,  South Boston, MA

Unity Ceremonies are not only for a joining together of two individuals but may also depict a merger of families, cultures and traditions. Candles, colored sand, flowers and sometimes a special beverage may be used as symbols depicting this joining.

Our Bride Peggy hails from Newfoundland where the drink of choice is SCREECH, a dark and flavourful rum (you can imagine how it got it’s name) and so it is most appropriate that what is also called “Newfie Holy Water” was included as part of their wedding ceremony!

The Bride drinks... the Groom drinks... and then the JP gets in on it, too!

Submitted by Alan Ulrich
Justice of the Peace

Posted in Ceremony, Rituals, Weddings | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Jumping the Broom

Posted by AAWO on April 2, 2009

“Jumping the Broom” at a wedding is a custom that has lost its origin but adopted widely in England and the USA.

It is believed to be from a West African practice brought by slaves to the southern United States but adopted by many local people who could not find or afford a civil or religious celebrant of marriage.   Some think the Roma culture also had a similar tradition along with some Celtic tribes.

From where ever it came, it is now part of our wedding ceremony traditions and incorporated in marriage ceremonies in many places. Couples like to vary what is said and done at their wedding,  whether it be a special ceremony like giving a rose to mothers, a “Unity Candle”,  or a wine ceremony.

Using a decorated broom to jump just for the fun of doing a different tradition during the service has caught on locally. I have used it in many informal weddings I have done over the past 18 years as a wedding officiant and each time it gets a laugh from the people watching.  It is said who jumps the highest is the head of the new household but a man in slacks has the advantage.   Some couples like to decorate the broom in meaningful colors or flowers and may include a story about who will be in charge of the broom after the wedding.

Adding interesting elements to a wedding ceremony makes it a little more special for the occasion.

Submitted by Chaplain Jerry Schwehm

Posted in Ceremony, Rituals | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

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