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7 Spiritual Elements for Your Nontraditional Wedding

Your wedding is about you and your relationship. It should be unique! There’s a million reasons why you might want to incorporate spiritual elements into your nontraditional wedding, though. Maybe it’s important to you or someone you love. Maybe you love the idea of carrying on a tradition with a new twist. Here are seven ideas for working touching traditions into your one-of-a-kind wedding day.

7 Ways to Incorporate Spirituality into Your Nontraditional Wedding

1. A wine ritual

Jewish weddings have a tradition of drinking blessed wine from a Kiddush cup. Wine symbolizes joy in many cultures. Sharing a cup during your nontraditional wedding ceremony gives you a chance to smile and savor the moment. If wine isn't your thing, there are other options! Persian couples often share a cup of honey, symbolizing the sweetness of marriage.

A marrier in a blue suit holds a kiddish cup under a chuppah at a Jewish wedding.

2. A prayer during your ceremony or before dinner

If your prayer life or your family’s is important, you can incorporate it without it dominating your wedding day. You can compromise by skipping a full Catholic mass, for example, and saying a brief prayer during your ceremony. Other couples choose to hold a prayer before dinner instead. You can even invite a family member or friend to say the prayer if it will be especially meaningful for them.

A clergyman reads from a prayer book at an outdoor wedding in Buffalo.

3. A handfasting

A handfasting ceremony is a really old tradition that will make your nontraditional wedding feel fresh and unique. The ritual originated in pre-Christian Celtic cultures and involves binding the marriers’ hands with a special cord. You can find lots of beautiful handfasting cords on Etsy.

If your family members haven’t done handfasting ceremonies before (or at least, not in the last few centuries), this is a great opportunity to get crafty folks involved. Invite someone to create your handfasting cord out of a meaningful material. Maybe your grandma is really good at macramé, or your friend wants to incorporate a ribbon from her wedding dress. You can start a new tradition with something that can become an heirloom.

A bride and groom hold hands in preparation for a handfasting at a nontraditional wedding.

4. A unity ceremony

Unity ceremonies are common in several religions’ wedding traditions. Here are just a few ways you could approach yours:

  • A candle: Light a candle together! This is one of the most common takes on a unity ceremony. The logistics are simple, and the effect is beautiful.

  • Tree planting: Create a living memento of your commitment by planting a tree. You can take it home with you and nurture it as a symbol of your relationship.

  • Pouring sand: If caring for a plant is intimidating, try pouring sand. Use different colors to create a work of art that can decorate your home.

  • Glass pouring: Take the idea of art a step further by combining little pieces of glass. You can take them to a glass blower to create a custom piece after your wedding.

  • Circling: Many cultures include a circling ceremony. The marriers walk around each other to signify blessings or protection.

A bride and groom plant a tree in a white pot for their unity ceremony at an outdoor wedding in Buffalo.

5. A reading by a guest

Your nontraditional wedding can include religious or spiritual readings, too. If you trust a guest to pick one, invite them to do so. Otherwise, you can select the one that feels best to you and ask a friend or family member to read it. It can break up the ceremony nicely and give you a moment to soak in the fact that all your people are there to celebrate your love.

A wedding guest reads a Bible verse at a Buffalo wedding.

6. Music

Music is one of the most interactive ways to incorporate spiritual elements into a nontraditional wedding. You could choose an uplifting hymn or broaden your idea of “spiritual.” One of my clients’ brothers sang a classic rock song at her reception, and it was really moving.

A man and woman sing into a microphone at a Buffalo wedding reception.

7. An heirloom or photos

You can include religious or spiritual elements in your ceremony or reception without drawing a lot of attention to them. Some people choose to carry heirlooms with them. You can also wear pins with photos of deceased loved ones or add them to your bouquet. That way you have them close on your big day.

A groom wears a pin with photos of family members on his white wedding suit.

Are you looking for a photographer for your nontraditional wedding? I’m a Buffalo wedding photographer and your future wedding bestie! Let’s connect and you can tell me all about your cool plans. Reach out to me here!



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