The Bunting Bash: Our Foundation Ceremony

The next part of our ceremony was something I’ve named our “foundation ceremony.” It is something I specifically developed for us, and I am especially proud of it. While very similar to the sand ceremony (and even a lesser-known water-mixing ceremony), our foundation ceremony took us several steps further in creating the deeply personal and meaningful ceremony we envisioned.

Instead of colored sands to represent the joining of our selves and our lives, we used earth, sand, and rocks from the geographical locations most important to our hearts and our personal histories. These alternating layers don’t just symbolize our union, but also our past, present, and future. To explain the meaning of the ritual and the significance of each bottle of earth, I wrote some words for our pastor to share during the ceremony.



Earth. We are born of the substance of earth, and during our lives we walk and roam it until we die and return to it. Soil and rock are the foundation of this planet, and today we will use it as a symbol for building the foundation of your marriage.



Miss Bunting, you were born in the territories of Wyoming. These river stones, screened from Little Goose Creek at the foot of the Big Horn Mountains, represent the beginning of your life and whence you came.

With that, I poured in the pebbles that had been carefully shipped to us from dear friends in Wyoming.



Mr. Bunting, you were born in the distant country of Japan. This fine soil, which has traveled so far from Japan to be with us here today, represents the beginning of your life and whence you came.



Miss Bunting, while you may have been born out West, you spent your childhood and adolescent years growing up in Northern Michigan. This sand, taken from the shore of Berry Lake where you spent many summers, represents your maturing into the woman you are today.



Mr. Bunting, you also spent the majority of your adolescent years in Northern Michigan, and it was there that you first met Miss Bunting. This rich loam soil, brought from the land on which your mother still lives, represents the time when your paths first crossed.



Mr. Bunting was spilling the soil everywhere, and we couldn’t help but giggle at the mess he was making. (To give him credit, the jar he was pouring from had a wide mouth while the vase we were pouring in to had a narrow mouth.)



Mr. Bunting and Miss Bunting, you were both born in vastly different places. As you grew, those places grew nearer to one another. This is your past and the present before you, earth and soil and sand from the places that you have touched and been touched by. And now these two histories are joined as one, never to be separated again. It is upon these two separate stories that you shall build the foundation of your marriage. Most of the vase is empty, and that is because you have so many adventures ahead of you. So, go now together and fill this empty space with the earth and sand and soil of the places you have yet to visit, walking along hand in hand as husband and wife.



The end result is a beautiful piece that we proudly display in our home. We have since added a new layer of fine, white sand from the beaches of Mexico where we spent our honeymoon, and we intend to continue adding layers with each place we spend significant time together.

After the foundation ceremony was complete, Mr. Bunting’s aunt, who had traveled with her husband from Texas, came forward for our second reading: “Chapter One of One Thousand” by O.J. Preston. We felt this excerpt was particularly fitting because of the “adventure” undertones it carries.



“For two people this dawn brought on a magical day

Now husband and wife they head on their way

As a boat setting sail may their journey begin

With calmest of waters, most helpful of wind



And if they should stumble upon turbulent sea

May it pass them unharming—leave them be.

For here are two people whom love has well bitten



Here opens their book which has yet to be written

As the first page unfolds and their life inks its path

May it write a true story where forever love lasts

Let their journey be happy till death do they part

Of one thousand chapters may this be the start.”



We’re just a prayer and a kiss away from being married now!

*Marked photos are copyright Bryan and Mae Photography. Unmarked photos are personal or guest photos.

Follow the adventure:


Mrs. Bunting

December 23
Grand Rapids, MI
Wedding Date:
June 2011
Girls in Blue
Add a comment


  1. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 1:12 pm

    Your foundation ceremony is so unique and thoughtful, I love it! I especially love that you will continue to add to it as years go on :)

  2. msdragon Member
    Mrs. Dragon 814 posts, Busy bee @ 1:12 pm

    That is so, SO cool! What a brilliant idea!

  3. Member
    priyathescientist 1514 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:13 pm

    What a sweet, symbolic way to represent your union. I really love the GIF, as well.

  4. snowcone Member
    snowcone 1141 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:15 pm

    That is one of the coolest unity rituals I’ve ever seen! I’m truly wowed.

  5. Member
    KimbeeQ 40 posts, Newbee @ 1:19 pm

    I am not a fan of the colored sand ceremony, I never really understood why sand represents ‘us’ we don’t live on a beach lol. Not to mention the couple times I’ve seen it done it never seems to work out the way I think you’d expect. Someone either goes to fast or too slow then the other person just dumps the remaining while the other one waits. It was just awkward both times I’ve seen it lol. However, I must say WOW your version is amazing. I’d like to do something like this, but we are from the same area so it wouldn’t really translate. However, we could do vacations. It would be a little less sentimental, but still a beautiful reminder of time shared together.

  6. Member
    39bride 271 posts, Helper bee @ 1:24 pm

    Wow, that ceremony is awesome! We’re not doing a “unity ceremony,” but if we were, I think I know what it would be.

    Beautiful, meaningful and just all-around awesome!!!

  7. Member
    Miss Otter 107 posts, Blushing bee @ 1:36 pm

    MIGHT have to steal this, i love this so much!

  8. Member
    jpalm13 2957 posts, Sugar bee @ 1:43 pm

    I love your ceremony! Its so much better than the unity sand.

  9. Member
    Elolith 915 posts, Busy bee @ 2:25 pm

    What a beautiful and personal ceremony! Just wonderful. :)

  10. honey Member
    honey 1684 posts, Bumble bee @ 3:00 pm

    Seriously adore this ritual! The underlying meaning is just beautiful and the final product is amazing…I think you just started a new ritual revloution :)

  11. msfairy Member
    msfairy 976 posts, Busy bee @ 4:32 pm

    I love that you can continually add to it – such a great idea!

  12. Member
    jacofblues 1468 posts, Bumble bee @ 4:42 pm

    I love the idea of the sand ceremony! Its so lovely that you add to it over the years!

  13. Member
    nightcheese 1836 posts, Buzzing bee @ 5:23 pm

    holy.crap. i LOVE your foundation ceremony. you did such an excellent job! i’m going to be honest- i really can’t stand sand ceremonies- they seem so pointless and just remind me of sand art you made as a kid.
    but the foundation idea is amazing. and it’s so cool that you will continue to add to it!

  14. Guest Icon Guest
    Emily, Guest @ 5:23 pm

    From the United States Department of Agriculture website regarding soil imports..

    “Soil is strictly controlled under APHIS quarantine regulations 7 CFR 330 because it can readily provide a pathway for the introduction of a variety of dangerous organisms into the United States.

    Importation of soil into the United States from foreign sources is prohibited, and movement within the continental U.S. is restricted unless authorized by APHIS under specific conditions, safeguards and controlled circumstances described in a permit and/or compliance agreement.”

    1)How did you get soil from both Japan and Mexico into the United States since importation of soil from foreign countries is prohibited?

    2)To even get a shipment of soil from Wyoming to your state as you wrote, you would need a special permit according to the USDA. Did you obtain such a permit?


  15. hyena Member
    hyena 2537 posts, Sugar bee @ 5:35 pm

    This is such a great way to do the traditional sand ceremony! Love it!

  16. bunting Member
    bunting 687 posts, Busy bee @ 5:37 pm

    @Mrs. Pony: Adding to it is my favorite part! :)

    @Miss Dragon, @Mrs. Snow Cone: Thank you!

    @priyathescientist: I’m a sucker for animated GIFs. There will be more, I promise. 😀

    @KimbeeQ: I’m not a huge fan of the colored sand ceremonies, either. I can’t help but reminded of the DIY sand art kits I would always get as a kid. You could still do this even with similar locales, though! Just make sure you select different types of sand, soil, gravel, etc. If the layers are different or contrasting, you’ll still get the same effect.

    @39bride: Thank you!

  17. dalmatian Member
    dalmatian 592 posts, Busy bee @ 6:27 pm

    That is so amazing! I love how meaningful and personal it is.

  18. Member
    Almost Mrs.P 2056 posts, Buzzing bee @ 6:55 pm

    I love your foundation ceremony!!! You did such a great job coming up with that– and love that reading, too!

  19. trailmix Member
    trailmix 6663 posts, Bee Keeper @ 7:11 pm

    I loooove the idea of the foundation ceremony, some unique!

  20. Guest Icon Guest
    sarah, Guest @ 7:25 pm

    love this idea!!

  21. painauchocolat Member
    painauchocolat 2298 posts, Buzzing bee @ 8:08 pm

    awwwww, Mrs. Bunting – I love your twist on the sand ceremony. Adding layers from your shared adventures makes it that much sweeter!

  22. scepter Member
    scepter 333 posts, Helper bee @ 9:57 pm

    I love this! The end result is beautiful!

  23. Member
    village_skeptic 1861 posts, Buzzing bee @ 10:48 pm

    I really love this — such a beautiful and meaningful idea.

    And as to the question of moving soil around between countries and states — while I recognize the potential for problems, this is probably the safest situation for transported soil. It’s not mixing in the ground or water of the new place, nor is it being churned up into the air for people to breathe. All I know is that I certainly didn’t have a permit for the 1/2 cup or so of New Jersey sand I knocked out of my beach shoes into our parking lot in Indiana after we arrived home from our honeymoon!

  24. Member
    Future Army Wife 2213 posts, Buzzing bee @ 6:56 am

    The foundation is such a cool idea! We were born and grew up all over the US. I love your smile to Mr. B at the end :)

  25. Member
    eeper 129 posts, Blushing bee @ 9:10 am

    I love this so much – unique, personal and so very meaningful.

  26. Member
    jennyg34 52 posts, Worker bee @ 10:02 am

    Omg! I LOVE this idea! I might totally steal it. I love the poem, too! Props to you for incorporating such unique elements into your ceremony. I hope to do the same! :)

  27. sunhat Member
    sunhat 1453 posts, Bumble bee @ 10:17 am

    I think you may have just started a trend! The words to the ceremony were so beautiful and well written. What an amazing and meaningful item to have in your home.

  28. candy apple Member
    candy apple 1877 posts, Buzzing bee @ 2:01 pm

    Aww! What a cool thing to do. And I love that you’re continuing to add to it :) Awesome.

  29. Member
    stephk527 987 posts, Busy bee @ 10:19 am

    So awesome, Mrs. Bunting! I totally appreciate the personal feel of the ceremony.

  30. Member
    Mrs.Saez 161 posts, Blushing bee @ 7:06 am

    That was so cute. I love that you did that.

  31. Member
    ShennaB2b 391 posts, Helper bee @ 9:56 am

    I freakin love this idea and if I had heard about it before I gt married I definitely would have done this at our wedding. I pinned it for future vacation ideas!

  32. bunting Member
    bunting 687 posts, Busy bee @ 12:20 pm

    Thank you all so much for all the love for our foundation ceremony! 😀

  33. Member
    Miss T-Rex 688 posts, Busy bee @ 9:03 pm

    What a touching idea! How wonderful!

  34. penguin Member
    penguin 3490 posts, Sugar bee @ 10:33 am

    This is too cool! Love it!

  35. Member
    Willbmd 4 posts, Wannabee @ 1:22 pm

    @Emily: According to the regulations, soil is defined as “the loose surface material of the earth in which plants grow, in most cases consisting of disintegrated rock with an admixture of organic material and soluble salts.” the is NOT sand not is it rock. So she was perfectly within the law to bring sand into the country. Now is she had brought actual SOIL into the US to put into her foundation ceremony, then you could complain.

  36. Member
    sunnywoods 940 posts, Busy bee @ 1:22 pm

    Beautiful!!!! You are so creative!!!

  37. Member
    bchampagne 1 posts, Wannabee @ 11:13 am

    My sister asked me to help her with a chalkboard seating chart like the one you posted last year. I was able to download the fonts and background image but you didn’t include the hearts that you used. Do you still have those by any chance?? Is there a way you could email them to me or send a link to where you found them? Thanks :-)

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