Symbolic Rituals for your Destination Wedding Ceremony

For those of us who do not follow a religion, it can be hard to find symbolic rituals and ceremonies to include in our wedding day that aren’t overtly religious. This is especially true if you are planning a destination wedding. But, pagans have no fear, there are some very unique and romantic symbolic ceremonies that can be included in your big day to celebrate your love with a touch more flair.

Here are the top Symbolic Rituals that are Perfect for a Destination Wedding Ceremony.

Hand-fasting Ritual

Perhaps the mother of all pagan wedding rituals, this ceremony is of Celtic origin and was actually used before Christian marriages became the norm in Scotland, Wales and Ireland in the British Isles. The hand-fasting ceremony begins when the bride and groom start their vows. The bride places her hand atop the grooms and a length of rope, cord or ribbon is wrapped around their hands as the ceremony progresses. This process represents the strength of their commitment to each other, and the finality of their decision, which is represented more specifically when the ends of the material are tied firmly into a knot. This symbolic ritual won’t take up much room in your suitcase and is ideal for a destination wedding ceremony.

Unity Candle


Arguably, the most popular secular wedding ritual is the Unity Candle ceremony. This symbolic ritual begins when a representative from each of the two families lights a small candle, usually a white pillar candle, for the bride or groom.  The couple recites their vows and, at the end of the ritual, each takes their families candle and uses it to simultaneously light a larger candle that represents them as a new, distinct family unit. Many couples choose to keep this third candle and use it in a repeat ceremony which marks milestone anniversaries in later years. Not such a great idea for beach weddings, unless your altar is protected well from the wind.

Blending of the Sands Ritual


This unique ceremony is truly fitting for a beach wedding, and is especially good for couples who have children they wish to involve in the proceedings as it can be modified very easily. During this ceremony the bride and groom choose colored, or otherwise distinct, sands to represent their past and present and pour them into a large glass vase to represent the shared future they are choosing to enter into. The truly interesting thing about this ritual is that as many different sands as you wish can be chosen. You could choose different colors for each child you both have or add sand from the beach you were married on.

Pebble Ceremony

The pebble ceremony is very simple, but has great meaning. Marriage, much like life, has its ups and downs. It ebbs and flows like the ocean waves, and in order to represent this the pebble ceremony involves the bride and groom each choosing a pebble from the beach. They imbue it with their hopes and then toss, in unison, their stone into the ocean in order to symbolize their willingness to accept the highs and lows of their marriage with love and devotion. You could also substitute a pebble for shells for a beach wedding.

Arras or Coin Ceremony

The coin ceremony is of Mexican origin and is probably the most common of all ritualistic wedding ceremonies in Latin America. The Arras ceremony involves the passing of thirteen gold or silver coins between the bride and groom to represent their dedication to supporting and providing for one another as well as any children their union might produce. Unlike many others this ceremony recognizes the part of the woman in the health of a couple’s joint finances.

Lasso (Laso) Ceremony

Also of Mexican origin this ceremony is much like the Celtic hand fasting in that it utilizes a length of rope to represent the union of the couple. This fabric or rope is placed over the shoulders of the couple and wrapped in the shape of an infinity symbol around them while they recite their vows. This represents the eternal nature of their love and devotion to their union and to each other.

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