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.
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