Wedding Customs


There are many wedding customs, here are some examples you may wish to use or consider.

The reason why the bride stands to the left of the groom, is because this is the side closest to the groom’s heart. In Feudal times, the right arm was considered the sword arm of most fighting men. If a man had to protect his bride, he would hold her with his left hand, and fight off attackers with his right arm.

“Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and a silver sixpence for your shoe.” This is a Victorian tradition, where something old refers to the links with the bride’s family and her old life. From that time most brides wore something belonging to their mother or grandmothers.

Something new usually referred to future good fortune and success and came to be something presented by the groom to his bride, such as a necklace or personal jewellery. Wearing something borrowed from a happily married woman was important, as was something blue, which in Biblical times represented purity, modesty and fidelity. Blue also denoted the purity of the Virgin Mary and as religions consolidated, this sort of symbolism became increasingly important. Many Israeli brides wore a band of blue on their wedding attire and in modern times, many garters are blue for that reason.

Placing a silver sixpence in the bride’s left shoe is a symbol of wealth. This is not just to bring the bride financial wealth but also a wealth of happiness and joy throughout her married life. Traditionally, the leap year proposal was an anomaly of English law, where the leap year day had no recognition. The day was ‘leapt over’ and therefore as it had no acknowledgement the normal rules and traditions also didn’t apply. So the woman could ask the man to marry her. The word ‘bride’ originally was the term for a ‘cook’!

WEDDING RESOURCES GUIDE © Australian Federation of Civil Celebrants 2017




Here are examples of rituals you may like to have as part of your wedding ceremony

Sand ceremony: Two vessels of sand are poured together from individual containers into a third keepsake vessel, to represent your lives coming together. Each person holds their sand in the separate container. Each container of sand is to represent your life at this moment; individual and unique.

Dove release: The release doves are used to commemorate important milestones of life and offerings of hope at weddings. “Our white doves are a symbol of Love, Peace and Hope. They pair for life, and at the end of each day they return to the same home for the night.

Butterfly release ceremony: According to an American Indian legend if anyone desires a wish to come true, they must first capture a butterfly and whisper that wish to it. Since a butterfly can make no sound, the butterfly cannot reveal the wish to anyone but the Great Spirit who hears and sees all. Ingratitude for the giving the beautiful butterfly its freedom, the Great Spirit always grants the wish. So, according to legend, by making a wish and giving the butterfly its freedom, the wish will be taken to the heavens and be granted. “we have gathered to grant this couple all our best wishes and are about to set these butterflies free in the trust that all their wishes will be granted. You have given me wings with which to fly. Now I breathe in deep and spread them wide as we lift off from the silken petals into the wind where the butterflies glide”. Butterflies can be arranged through

Ring warming: This is a lovely addition to a wedding ceremony and allows your guests to become intimately involved. During the ceremony, and before the exchange of rings, the marriage celebrant asks each guest to make a wish for the couple’s health and happiness. The rings are passed to each guest so that they may hold them for a moment saying a silent wish or prayer for the couple, for their marriage and for their future. When the rings come back, they are filled with all the love and hope from family and friends

Unity candle ceremony:  The unity candle ceremony uses two taper candles with a large pillar candle (called the “unity candle”) in the centre. The candles are almost white. At the beginning of the wedding ceremony, a representative from each family (usually the mothers of the bride and groom) light the two taper candles. Later in the ceremony (usually after the formal vows), the bride and groom use the two taper candles to light the large pillar(unity) candle together. The lightening ceremony may be accompanied by special music. It is customary for the couple to save the unity candle and relight it on their anniversaries.

Sharing of wine: The goblet of wine is symbolic of the cup of life. “As you share this wine, you promise to share all that the future will bring. All the sweetness the cup of life holds for you is sweeter because you drink it together, and whatever drops of bitterness it contains are less because they are shared”. Bride and groom sip from the goblet.

WEDDING RESOURCES GUIDE © Australian Federation of Civil Celebrants 2017

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Diane Mogie

Marriage Celebrant
Renewal of Vows and Commitment Ceremonies
Birth of Child (Naming) Ceremonies
Graduation and Award Celebrations

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Conducting ceremonies throughout the Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu Peninsula, Adelaide metropolitan and near country areas