As the coronavirus pandemic is forcing people to rearrange their weddings, a Whitehaven celebrant is sharing rituals people could include in their ceremonies in the future.

From ring warming to breaking the glass, Val Marshall, of Lakesceremonies, explains a few of the rituals they could include on their dream day.

The Loving Cup

This involves the couple, and sometimes family and friends too, sharing a drink from the same cup or glass.

This symbolises their united life together. Some couples do this in a very solemn manner, and include a prayer or reading about the unity of love and the bond the couple now shares either before or after the drink is shared.

The Unity Candle Ceremony

This is a really moving wedding or partnership ceremony. Couples use two lit taper candles, which symbolise their individuality, to light one big central candle as a symbol of two lives becoming one in commitment.

Sometimes, when the bride is walking into the ceremony, the mothers of the couple light a taper candle in honour of their son or daughter perhaps at a small table at the front of the room. The tapers stay lit all through the ceremony.

After the vows and rings have been exchanged, the officiant will explain to the guests the symbolism of the Unity Candle. They will ask the couple to take their candle and bring them both to the large candle, lighting one flame with their two individual flames. During the lighting of the Unity Candle, couples will often have a song sung or played, or a guest special to the couple or the wedding officiant will read a poem to accompany the symbolism of the ceremony.

Ring Warming Ceremony

A ring warming is when the couple give their loved ones the opportunity to hold and confer on the wedding rings a wish, blessing or prayer for their marriage. By the time the rings make it on to the couples fingers, they will be saturated with the love of their friends and family.

A modern variation of this is to send the rings around the assembled guests locked together with a padlock and when the rings have gone round the guests and arrived at the front for the couple the padlock is unlocked and the couple are then free to exchange the warmed and blessed rings.

The Unity Sand Ceremony

This ritual is known across the world for its beauty. Using different coloured sands, each of the couple takes turns filling a Unity Vase as they speak their chosen vows. The sand colours can be chosen based on the colours the couple love or on the colours of the wedding theme.

After the ceremony the vase can be on display at the couples home to symbolise the start of their new life together.

If either of the couple have children a modified version of the ceremony can be adapted to involve them. This ceremony can include children and other members of a new blended family which creates a Unity Vase filled with many colours.

Rose Ceremony

The Rose ceremony is a simple ceremony where the couple each have a red rose bud and exchange them with each other, this symbolises the giving and receiving of their love for each other throughout their entire married life. Roses can also be symbolic in difficult times and giving them to each other can symbolise forgiveness.

Couples sometimes stop after the ceremony, as they leave, and hand parents or friends their rose and whisper ‘I love you’, knowing that love is not love until you give it away. This is a nice way of involving others in your ceremony.

Breaking the Glass

This is a Jewish tradition. Crushing a wine glass under the groom’s foot at the end of the ceremony is a tradition said to have many meanings. It’s a symbol of the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem; a representation of how fragile relationships are; a reminder that marriage changes the lives of individuals forever. Or, it could be drinking the wine represents the joys and the sweetness of life, and crushing the glass represents the hardships.

Jumping the Broom

This marriage ritual is found in ancient Celtic and African-American cultures. Its use in a ceremony symbolises leaving the past and stepping into married life. The broom itself was symbolic of the beginning of the homemaking for the couple. It was also symbolic of the defiance of enslaved people to the law that they could not marry.

The broom is placed on the floor behind the couple and, at the end of the ceremony, the couple turn and hold hands, jump the broom before they leave the room. Alternatively, two of the guests hold the broom up and all the wedding guests encourage the couple to jump and the broom is then lowered to enable them to jump over.