Symbolic Unity Elements

Sand Ceremony

Sometimes referred to as a “blending of the sands”, this is a very simple idea but yet can be incredibly powerful. You pour different coloured sands into a joint vessel forming a layered effect, this symbolises your “coming together”. During this time Jon will recite a poem or words that you have written for each other. For a more inclusive ceremony, often the couple’s children and/or parents also pour different coloured sands into the vessel, thus adding to the layers of colours, and expressing the harmony of the entire family.


This is just a small part of a full handfasting ceremony that dates back to Celtic times and can be utilised in your service to make it symbolic and spiritual. Jon will bind your hands together with several different coloured ribbons during the wedding ceremony, each colour has its very own significance. This symbolises your love and devotion to one another and it is generally accepted that this is where the phrase ‘tying the knot’ originated.

Jumping the Broom

Generally part of a traditional handfasting ceremony, it is becoming an increasingly popular part of many modern wedding ceremonies. Jumping the Broom is based upon a tradition which symbolises the clearing away of negativity with a sweep of the broom and creating a threshold for the couple to cross over into their new life together. It can also signify the joining of two families. This normally appears in the latter part of your ceremony and Jon will usually ask a member of the family, or close friend, to hold the broom or besom, as you jump into the next chapter of your lives together.

The Oathing Stone

If you want to embrace the past with a deeply moving element, then you can incorporate the old Scottish tradition of the ‘Oathing Stone’. Jon can say a few words before the vows, to explain the tradition to your guests or simply use the stones with no reference made to them whatsoever. Traditionally, you place your hands upon the stone, or hold the stone while saying your wedding vows, it is believed that holding the stone during the vows, in turn casts or sets them in stone. In Scottish tradition, an oath given near a stone or water was considered more binding. In a modern times the ‘Oathing Stone’ can be engraved with your initials in the middle, accompanied by the date of your wedding. If you want to involve friends and family in the ritual, you can give them each a stone to hold in their hands during the ceremony, Jon then asks your guests to take a moment in thought, to pledge their support through the peaks and troughs of your marriage, their oaths to you both, being again set in stone At the conclusion of the ceremony, you can make wonderful memento by asking them to place the stones in a special case, which can be displayed in your home as reminder of the vows you took and the support given to you by friends and family

Warming the Rings

You can include your guests in the ceremony by adding the really lovely gesture of them warming your rings, also known as blessing your bands.
Before you say your vows and exchange your rings, Jon will ask that they be passed to all the guests, your closest friends or just close family, the choice is yours. This allows them to bestow their own blessings onto the rings and to add their own thoughts, wishes and hopes for your marriage.
He suggests that they are passed around on a cushion or a small purse to ease your concerns of them being dropped and the best man and chief bridesmaid supervise the process. When the rings come back, they are filled with all the love and hope from family and friends.

Love Letters

The love letter ceremony, is a romantic idea that involves both the bride and groom writing letters to each other, listing the reasons they fell in love. The letters could include how you felt when you first met, your feelings as you anticipated your wedding day, your wishes for your future together or your promise to him/her. There could also be a letter from your parents declaring their excitement for you finding each other, the marriage, best wishes for the future, or simple words of wisdom. Having chosen your favourite bottle of wine, you place this and your letters in a wine box. If you choose this ceremony option during the wedding ceremony, you will seal the box and vow not to open the box until an anniversary of your choice. The only other time that the box should be opened is if you are having a rough patch, at which time you open the box together, drink the wine and read the letters which will hopefully remind you why you fell in love and chose to be together in the first place. To visualise it as a part of your ceremony Jon would introduce it by saying; “At this time I will ask you to walk to the wine box, you have chosen as a couple to have a Love Letter & Wine Box ceremony. This box contains a bottle of wine and a love letter from each to the other. The letters written describe among many things, the good qualities they find in one another, the reasons they fell in love, and their reasons for choosing to marry. The letters are sealed in individual envelopes. Neither person has seen what the other has written. They have created their very own “romantic” time capsule Jon would recommend that you keep the box in a place of honour, prominently displayed in your home as a constant reminder of your commitment to each other.

Plant a Tree, Pot a Plant

Similar to the unity candle and unity sand ceremony, the tree planting/pot a plant ceremony can be used to symbolize your joining together or the joining of your families. The ceremony is conducted in much the same way as other unity wedding ceremonies, with a table set aside near the point of ceremony. On this table would be a part potted tree or sapling, perhaps something with special meaning to yourselves, two small buckets of compost, two trowels and a small watering can. During the ceremony, Jon will explain the meaning of this part, perhaps deliver a reading or there could be some music special to you both. You then take soil from the two separate containers and place it on top of the planting, representing two individuals coming together as one, finally, a sprinkling of water completes the planting. As in most of these symbolic ceremonies, this allows parents, children or family friends to become a part of your ceremony if you wish. After the ceremony, you plant the tree at your home or a special location and it symbolises the putting down of roots, and the longevity and strength in your marriage. If you want to talk to Jon about having some of these options in the service he creates for you, or indeed you have your own ideas, then just give him a call and you can talk them through together. Jon can source any of the items needed if required but they will be at additional cost and are not included in his standard fees. It makes good sense for you to find these yourselves as it will add to the personalisation of your ceremony.

Loving Cup Ceremony

The Loving Cup Ceremony is an ancient tradition, it was common for the Celtic people to toast each other with a ceremonial Loving Cup. In Scotland this cup is known as a Quaich, which comes from the Celtic word Cuach, being a two handled drinking cup, also known as a ‘cup of welcome’. Some of their bottoms are made of glass, allegedly so that the drinker could keep watch on his companions. A more romantic Quaich had a double glass bottom, in which was kept a lock of hair, so that the owner could drink from his Quaich to his lady love. The purpose of the Loving Cup ceremony is for the bride and groom to share their first drink together as wife and husband and to symbolise the coming together of two families. It is a beautiful symbol of the union of marriage but special words can be added to include the Bride and Groom’s parents, as a way of welcoming each into the others’ family. The general structure of the ceremony remains largely unchanged throughout the centuries, as Jon pours and blesses the wine, he gives it to you and toasts you, as you drink to your own good health, long life and true love. You could then pass the cup around and let all of the guests join in the toast, making them once again feel that they are a part of your special day

Rose/Flower Ceremony

The Rose Ceremony is simple yet moving. The language of flowers, has its roots throughout history, the Red Rose symbolising deep love and affection and the White Rose symbolising innocence and spiritual love. The choice of flower and colours are yours. A Rose/Flower ceremony is a romantic way for you to exchange your first gifts as a married couple. If you have children involved in the ceremony, you may have a rose for each of them as well. The Rose Ceremony is placed at the end of the ceremony just before being pronounced husband and wife and it symbolises the giving and receiving of love for each other throughout your married life. To have continued significance in your lives Jon suggests that you choose together a special location in your home. On your anniversary, you both take a rose to that spot, both as a recommitment to your marriage and a recommitment that this will be a marriage based upon love. Every relationship has peaks and troughs and sometimes it can be hard to say sorry or it is difficult to find the right words, should this happen, leave a rose at that spot, for that rose simply says, “I still love you.” The other should accept this rose for the words which cannot be found and remember the love, hope and commitment, that brought you together.

Wine Ceremony

Throughout history and across different cultures, the taking of wine has played a traditional role in many wedding ceremonies, symbolising the richness of life and sweetness of love. As a couple you each take a carafe of wine, perhaps one red and one white, and pour some into a single glass to create a wine that you will both drink. This symbolizes drinking from the cup of life and the sharing all of its experiences together, both bitter and sweet. The ’blending’ is symbolic of your union and the life you will create together.
There are a variety of words that Jon can use to accompany this part of the ceremony that will make it unique to you as a couple, such as, “This wine glass is to remind you of your love, delicate, yet strong; filled with love, yet with room for more. It symbolizes two people coming together to share one life, one love. Use this loving cup for miracles, fill it with forgiveness, understanding and appreciation. Drink deeply and often and whenever you do, remember this: Love is real, once created, it cannot be destroyed. It is eternal.

Kind Words About Eternal Ceremonies


“Jon did an amazing job of helping us plan the perfect wedding. Right from the initial consultation, through to the tiniest of details on the day itself Jon really payed attention to what we’d asked for and went out of his way to help us create something truly unique to us.

Our family, friends and loved ones all had such a fantastic time and everyone commented on what an amazing ceremony it was. Everything was just so ‘us’.

Thank you so much Jon for making our big day one that will be remembered forever!”




Antony & Cheryl, Leeds



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Eternal Ceremonies

Eternal Ceremonies
13 The Spinney, Elston, Nottinghamshire, NG23 5PE

Tel: 07305 929423