Types of symbolic ceremonies: how to choose the most important 20 min of your wedding?

You have finally decided on the location, the style of the wedding, and perhaps even the banquet menu, but the main thing remains to understand: how will the shortest and most emotional part of the event go: the ceremony, during which you will exchange the most important words in your life.

In this article, I will talk about the main rituals that you can include before or after the exchange of vows, and sometimes instead. Of course, we are talking about a symbolic ceremony, the main difference of which from the official marriage is the absolute freedom of what you want to do and how you want to express your feelings. The marriage ceremony at the city hall has strict regulations, the text of the ceremony resembles a legal contract, and only a few Italian city halls will allow you to include all sorts of romantic elements to diversify the process.

So what type of symbolic ceremony to choose, and how to express your feelings so that something tangible remains as a memory, which can later be passed on to children as a talisman of a happy instant?

There are a huge number of symbolic rituals, for now I will give examples of the main ones that have gained maximum distribution throughout the world.

Unity sand ceremony

a ritual of mixing of sands of different colors and structure
Julia and Arthur chose the ritual of mixing the magical sand of mt Etna and the Baltic sea sand. Photo: Eximia events

The ritual is based on the principle of unity of a couple in the process of beautiful mixing of sand of two colours in one vessel. The vessel itself (of any shape, according to the taste of the newlyweds) is then being preserved as a family heirloom and a talisman (it can also be used as an interior item). It symbolizes the inseparability of the couple, just as it is no longer possible to separate the layers of sand in the vessel.

The master of ceremonies makes a beautiful speech (the text can be personalized for the couple), explaining the sacred importance of this ritual, sometimes he himself first pours out the first layer as the foundation of relations, or one of the guests or friends can be involved in this. Then the newlyweds simultaneously or alternately pour their sand into a common vessel, creating bizarre and unique patterns.

bottles for sand ceremony

What you need:

  • 3 glass transparent vessels (or the 4th if the host is involved),
  • two-coloured quartz sand. Alternatively, you can use sand from Etna (it is gray-black, you can add glitter or sparkles)
  • funnel
  • – table


find original sand containers, such as photo frames, or original bottles. Do not forget the cork, for transporting the main vessel.

Unity candles ceremony

The only ritual allowed during the church wedding
A mistic candles ceremony from one of our weddings. Photo: Gianluca Sammartano

The ritual is based on the unity of the couple in the process of lighting a large candle from two small candles in the hands of the newlyweds. Accompanied by a romantic speech, candles are then saved as amulets and being lit at moments of crisis in relationships or just for an anniversary. This is the only ritual allowed by the Catholic and Orthodox churches during the religious wedding.

What you need:

  • – A table, but not necessarily, you can do without it
  • – Candle decorations or personalization
  • – 1 large candle, two smaller candles, 1 small one to light from, or just a lighter,
  • – stands for 3 candles (optional)


During the windy weather ask some of the guests to cover the candles with hands for its protection.

Handfasting ceremony

ancient Celtic ritual
Yulia and Espen chose the handfasting ritual. Photo: Gianluca Sammartano

In ancient times, it was customary to perform a ritual of interlacing or unification of hands. This was a symbol of the unity of two entities, two destinies and two souls. Ancient people believed that if you join hands and tie them with special ribbons, the marriage will be strong and last a long time. The colour of the ribbons was selected in accordance with the sacred meaning of each colour. It is popular to use multi-colored ribbons, but you are free to choose exactly what you like.


choose ribbons or create them from materials belonged to your family. Use something that has already brought happiness and love to its owner in the past. Ribbons are perfect for an epic effect against nature, and windy weather will add zest to photos with ribbons fluttering in the wind.

Ceremony of Roses

one of the simplest ceremonies

The ritual is based on the unity of the couple in the process of exchanging red roses (the colour of love and protection from the evil eye). The Italian text of the ritual is very beautiful, the newlyweds exchange two identical roses, it seems that this does not mean anything, but in fact, it has a huge sacred meaning. Then these roses should be stored in a secluded place in the house and renewed every year for the anniversary. In moments of difficulty, a gift of a red rose will remind you of the true mission of the couple.

A minimum amount of materials is required: 2 red (or any other colour, as long as they are the same) roses, a table and a vase with water if desired.


ask the florist to remove the thorns from the roses to make them more comfortable to hold in your hands

Wine ceremony

for sophisticated gourmet
wine ceremony
Caitlyn and Ross wine ceremony in a castle near Taormina, ph Tatiana Costantino

This ritual is for true connoisseurs of Italian winemaking. Moreover, the area where we will hold the ceremony is famous for its autochthonous wines from vineyards on the slopes of Mount Etna, from the province of Syracuse.

The ritual can be performed in two ways:

1. the first simple way: choose a bottle of good wine and exchange glasses during the ceremony or mix two types of suitable wine in a decanter or directly in a glass, but here you may need the help of an experienced sommelier who may help in wine selection (in general, in Italy it is not common to mix different types of wine, but we can try).

2. The second method is complicated but very romantic. A suitable bottle of wine is selected, one that can be stored for many years or a specific time. The newlyweds write warm confessions/messages to each other on pieces of paper and seal them without reading them. A wooden box and decor for it are selected; during the ritual, the couple seals the wine and messages in the box, hammering it with hobnails and a special hammer. They agree to open the box, and the wine and read the secret messages on the desired date, which should refresh the relationship and remind the couple of the moment of their union birth.

Example of wine ceremony box, generated by AI


Choose the type of wine carefully, taking into account the period for which it should be stored. We can suggest sommelier who can help you with your choice.