Symbolic actions ideas

Including a symbolic action most definitely enhances all ceremonies, they make everyone feel included and can make key elements really poignant.

There is no limit to the number of different types of symbolic actions that can be included in your ceremony.

Below are just a few ideas, there are many beautiful symbolic actions to choose from.

Let your creativity, vision and imagination flow and you can incorporate anything into your ceremony.

Sharing a glass of wine – unity cup

A toast to the couple

Affirmation of the guests

Mothers/relatives bringing forward the vows

Children being involved – sand ceremony and also the unity candle



Handfasting is an ancient marriage ritual that is becoming increasingly popular with modern couples.
The ceremony involves a couple hands being placed together and bound with ribbon or cord. This symbolises their joining through marriage, and the ritual is often performed at celebrant led ceremonies.

​Handfasting is so old that its origin can’t be certain. It’s been tradition for many thousands of years. It is said, it may be where the phrase ‘tying the knot’ and ‘bound for life’ originate.

Hand Fasting Ceremony - The Matara Centre - Lee Hawley Photography

Lighting of a Unity candle

A Couples candle

Lighting a unity candle during your ceremony is a special way to symbolise the unity of your marriage, because when the main flame is lit, it cannot be divided. A couple’s unity candle signifies your flames are separate, yet they feed the same fire. Giving a spark of yourself, to create new light as the middle candle is lit off the two separate flames. Its fire is magical because it represents the light of two people in love, your new beginning and being joined as one.

Family candle

Lighting a family unity candle is a beautiful way to include grandparents, siblings or a special person that has an important part in your child’s life. As each chosen guest lights  a small candle it represents the love, brightness, laughter, warmth and pure joy that the child has brought into your lives. When the parents take a flame from the smaller candles and light the main candle it represents the unity of this new family and is a symbol of the parents commitment and promises they have made to their child.

A Candle ceremony for the guests is more appropriate for smaller weddings. At the start of the ceremony each guest is given an unlit candle and at the allotted time the bride and groom light the candle of a guest at the front, they in turn light the candle of the guest next to them and this is continued until everyone’s candle has been lit. The final two guests to have their candles lit, then come to the front and light the bride and grooms candles and they then light their unity candle.

Candle Ceremony at The Saxon Mill, Warwickshire - Sarah Williams Photography

Sand ceremony

A sand ceremony expresses the coming together of two people, two families joining as one or welcoming a new baby.

As the grains of sand are poured into the unity vase by the couple, their children, parents of the child, siblings or family members, it symbolizes that just as these grains of sand can now never be separated and poured again in the same way nor can the love and commitment of the couple or family.

It is a very simple idea that can be incredibly powerful and add an element of colour, individuality and uniqueness to your ceremony

​Handfasting is so old that its origin can’t be certain. It’s been tradition for many thousands of years. It is said, it may be where the phrase ‘tying the knot’ and ‘bound for life’ originate.

Sand Ceremony - Whitbourne Hall Worcs - Photographer Jenny Appleton

Rose Ceremony

There are a number of variations to this beautiful, meaningful ritual which represents the gift of love.  To perform a Rose Ceremony, three vases are placed on the ceremony table, one large central vase and two smaller vases on either side.  The rose has always been the flower that represents love and this ceremony symbolises the couple’s love for each other and also the joining of two families.

A Rose Ceremony may involve just the Bride and Groom, where they present a red rose to each other as their first gift after being pronounced as husband and wife.  

However, it is equally wonderful when this ceremony involves guests, typically female family members, although any guests can take part.  The chosen guests are invited to join the bride and groom in the ceremony area and they are each presented with a single rose, these can be the same colour as the couple’s roses, or the couple may choose different colours for each side of the family, or for different family members.

The Bride and Groom then place their roses in the side vases and the family members then approach one by one and place their roses in the central vase which symbolises the joining together of two families.   The Bride and Groom then take their individual roses from the side vases and exchange them as their first gift to each other as husband and wife and then place them in the large central vase to symbolise family unity. 

Bredon Wedding - Photographer Katrina Bartlam

Ring Warming Ceremony

Also known as Blessing of the Rings; this is a beautiful ritual and involves the rings being “warmed with positive energy, good wishes and loving thoughts” as they are passed between your chosen guests. 

It makes your wedding rings so much more meaningful as when they finally reach you, they will contain not only the love you have for each other, but also the love and blessings from the special people in your lives

Wedding at Twyning Park, Tewkesbury - Oobaloos Photography

Affirmation of guests

This is a beautiful way of including all your guests and asking them for their love and support during your marriage. It can be a simple communal affirmation of love and support to which all the guests respond with an enthusiastic YES. This can be done either before or immediately after your vows

Wedding at Priors Court, Tithe Barn - photographer Elliot Edwards

Unity Cup

There is an ancient Celtic tradition of drinking alcohol from a two handled drinking cup which is called a Quaich. (Scottish pronunciation) ‘kwache’ Drinking from a vessel with two hands signifies trust and togetherness. If you fancy including a unity cup into your wedding, you can modernise it with your favourite drink, or even make your own cocktail, choosing your own flavours.

You can simply use wine or non alcoholic drinks.

Once your drink is mixed together, the components still exist in their own right but they are also blended together representing the blending and unifying of your relationship. You can pledge to share a unity cup over the coming years together on your anniversary.

Wedding at Puckrup Hall Tewkesbury - Photographer Samantha Ward

Mike and Becca at The Matara, Kingscote

She helped us relax and feel confident the ceremony would go smoothly

Ruth was amazing from the start and we very much trusted her advice and experience. Being professional and friendly she helped us relax and feel confident the ceremony would go smoothly and had the significance and meaning we wanted. We loved our ceremony and Ruth allowed us to make it exactly what we wanted, including hand fasting and our dog being the ring bearer. We would highly recommend Ruth to everyone. Thanks so much for being a part of our dream wedding.

Mike and Becca

The Matara Centre / 2021

James and Kirsty at Twyning Park

You played such a special part in our day

Thank you, thank you, thank you Ruth. It was so easy to work with you from the initial meeting to creating our bespoke ceremony and thank for the idea of including our little girls in a sand ceremony. You played such a special part in our day, worked incredibly hard to make sure everything was just right for us and we couldn’t be more grateful to you. You are a wonderful lady who we are so glad to have met. Thank you again for everything.

James & Kirsty

Twyning Park / 2019

Sarah, Martin and Baby Arlo at Whitbourne Hall

Blown away by how personal and sentimental the ceremony was

Ruth. We wanted to say a HUGE thank you for your part in our wedding. The ceremony was just incredible and everything that Ruth orchestrated from start to finish worked perfectly. We received lovely compliments from our guests who were blown away by how personal and sentimental the ceremony was. It was our pleasure to work with Ruth. Thank you.

Sarah and Martin and baby Arlo

Whitbourne Hall / 2021

Frankie and Ashley at Saxon Mill

Would recommend her to any couples looking for a personable and confident celebrant

Ruth worked with us to create a personal and beautiful wedding.  We received lots of comments about how moving and special our ceremony was.  Ruth is a true professional, who went above and beyond to get to know us and put us totally at ease before our big day.  We would recommend her to any couples looking for a personable and confident celebrant.  Thank you Ruth!

Frankie and Ashley

The Saxon Mill / 2021

Rosie and Tom - Bicester Garden Wedding

Ruth got it exactly right

We wanted a ceremony that was relaxed and Ruth got it exactly right. She incorporated small details which made it really personal. Ruth made sure we had nothing to worry about and was very helpful sending tips on writing vows and choosing readings. We are so glad we chose Ruth and received many lovely comments on our ceremony. We would definitely recommend Ruth as your celebrant to give both a professional and personal touch to your ceremony.

Rosie and Tom

Bicester Garden Wedding / 2021

Holly and James at The Barn at Upcote

Summing us up as a couple perfectly

We cannot thank Ruth enough for the most beautiful ceremony. So many of our guests commented on how personal it was, summing us up as a couple perfectly. It was so special to share our love and our vows with friends and family and Ruth made that possible. Ruth is wonderful and has given us amazing memories to treasure forever. Thank you so much

Holly and James

The Barn at Upcote / 2021

Vicky and Tristan - The Frogmill

We couldn't have selected a better celebrant

Despite the fact we planned our entire wedding from Australia, Ruth managed to prepare and deliver a ceremony that our friends and family commented ‘summed us up perfectly’ and we couldn’t have agreed more. It’s clear from all aspects of the preparation to the Big Day itself, that Ruth is passionate about her work and we couldn’t have selected a better celebrant. If you are looking for a love filled unique ceremony then I would highly recommend Ruth.

Vicky and Tristan

The Frogmill, Andoversford / 2019

Josh and Kirsty - Over Barn

It was beautiful and everyone loved it

Dear Ruth, Firstly thank you so much for the beautiful ceremony you did for us on Saturday. It was beautiful and everyone loved it. Josh and I just wanted to say how kind, friendly and approachable you were from the start to finish. You listened to every word we said and created the most perfect wedding ceremony. We could not have asked for anyone better. Thank you.

Josh and Kirsty

Over Barn, Gloucester / 2019

Laura and Tom - Hilles House

Thank you for getting the day off to the right start

Dear Ruth, Thank you!! Tom and I had such a wonderful day – I enjoyed myself way more than I imagined I would or could. It all felt so relaxed, so thank you for getting the day off to the right start. So many of our friends and family commented that the ceremony was very special and personal. Exactly as we had hoped.

Laura and Tom Steventon

Hilles House, Stroud / 2019

Lapstone Barn

The ceremony was so personal and intimate

Ruth, you conducted a beautiful and personalised ceremony for us at Lapstone Barn, which was the cornerstone of our wedding day. Although we don’t live in the UK and weren’t able to meet you before the ceremony, you made the effort to really get to know us over the phone and made the ceremony very intimate and personal. It was a real pleasure dealing with you. A number of people commented on how the ceremony was so personal and intimate. Thanks so much again.

Helen and Morgan (from Dubai)

Lapstone Barn / 2019

Lapstone Barn

It was such a beautiful ceremony

Ruth performed our Wedding Ceremony after such a long wait due to lockdowns (2 years and 26 days after our original date to be exact). It was such a beautiful ceremony. Ruth was great throughout the whole process and really helped capture us both within her words.

She was also extremely caring and calming on the day when we were getting super stressed about one of our wedding party guests being late! Thank you so much Ruth for making our special day so perfect. 1000% recommend! ❤️

Jen and Darren

Lakeside Ceremony at Fladbury / July 2022

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