Wedding Sand Ceremony
Once I made it to the end of the aisle, it felt like my senses kicked into overdrive. I was suddenly aware that I was about to make the biggest commitment of my life so far. It wasn’t scary, just overwhelming to think of the gravity of this moment. Life is crazy, bees. 🙂
We’re just going to marathon through our entire ceremony because, although we built it from scratch, it’s still fairly simple. Our officiant, let’s call him Pastor South, was an easy choice for us because he is a relative of mine. Having someone we know join us in marriage was really special. So, here we go!
We told Pastor South to open up the ceremony however he would be comfortable, we just requested he keep it under 10 minutes. We trust him, so we let it be a nice surprise and heard his introduction for the first time at the end of the aisle. He quoted some scripture from the book of Genesis and spoke about how God has brought us together to make each other better, and the commitment we are making today signifies our promise to continue lifting each other up for our whole lives, even when it’s not so easy.
Next up was our sand ceremony. We loved the unity of not just us joining together, but also our families. Mama Dreamcatcher dropped some not so subtle hints that she would love to be included in the ceremony somehow, and this seemed like a great way to do it.
Pastor South: The couple is making a solemn vow today, that come what may, no storm shall separate them. To represent that, they have elected to do a unity sand ceremony. At this time, I would invite the mothers of the bride and groom to come forward. Just as you have been the foundation in their lives, I invite you to lay the first layer foundation of sand into the container.
Our moms got up and poured about an inch of sand into our container.
Then, my sister-in-law did a reading while we poured the rest of the sand.
SIL #1: Mr. and Miss Dreamcatcher, today you are making a lifelong commitment to share the rest of your lives with each other. Your relationship is symbolized through the pouring of these individual containers of sand; one, representing you, Miss Dreamcatcher and all that you were, all that you are, and all that you will ever be, and the other representing you, Mr. Dreamcatcher, and all that you were, all that you are, and all that you will ever be. The separate containers and colors of sand represent your lives to this moment; individual and unique. As you combine these grains together, your lives also join together as one family. In Mark Chapter 10, it is written: “So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so will your marriage and families be.
Moving right along, in Pennsylvania, one of the only legal things you have to include in your ceremony is the statement of intent, the “I do” part.
Pastor South: This new journey will be at times richly rewarding and extremely difficult, but, most importantly, it will be a journey you take together. Marriage is much more than your signatures on a legal contract. You are promising, and have asked, all of these people you love to watch you make this promise, that you want to be with each other and only each other for the rest of your lives, and that you will do everything in your power to honor the promises you are making here today.
Pastor South: Miss Dreamcatcher, do you take Mr. Dreamcatcher to be your husband, promising to love, comfort, honor, respect, and care for him for the rest of your life?
Miss Dreamcatcher: I do.
Pastor South: Mr. Dreamcatcher, do you take Miss Dreamcatcher to be your wife, promising to love, comfort, honor, respect, and care for her for the rest of your life?
Mr. Dreamcatcher: I do.
Next up, we moved into our “cord of three strands” ceremony. Pastor South introduced it, then my other sister-in-law read while we braided.
Pastor South: Although the strength of the bride and groom is paramount in this union, there is something much deeper that holds a marriage together. In 1st John, God tells us that we love because he first loved us. To honor Him and His unspeakable grace, the couple is promising to keep Christ at the center of their marriage by tying the cord of three strands.
SIL #2: Today, Miss and Mr. Dreamcatcher have chosen to braid three strands together into a single cord. Each strand has a significant meaning.
The purple strand represents God, His royal kingship, and His majesty.
The gray strand represents the groom, and also stands for who each of these two were before Christ entered into their lives and made them whole.
The white strand represents the bride, and how we were washed white as snow by the sacrifice Jesus made upon the cross. In braiding these three strands together, Miss Dreamcatcher and Mr. Dreamcatcher have demonstrated that their marriage is more than a joining of two lives together. It is a unity with God as well. They have chosen to allow Christ to be at the center of their marriage, woven into every aspect of it. As Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 reads, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
It was then time for vows, the part I was most looking forward to!
You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes, to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making commitments in an informal way. All of those conversations that were held in a car, or over a meal, or during long walks—all those conversations that began with, “When we’re married,” and continued with “I will” and “you will” and “we will”—all those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe”—and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things that we’ve promised, and hoped, and dreamed—well, I meant it all, every word.”
Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another—acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in all these years together. Shortly you shall say a few words that will take you across a threshold of life, and things between you will never quite be the same.
For after today you shall say to the world—This is my husband. This is my wife.
— “The Union” by Robert Fulghum
The couple has decided to write their own vows to each other, and share them in front of God, and their most loved ones. Miss Dreamcatcher, will you please share your vows with Mr. Dreamcatcher?
I think the process of writing our own vows deserves its own post, so you’ll have to be patient for that! In addition to our handwritten vows, we also used the same ones my parents used over 30 years ago. 🙂
Pastor South: Miss Dreamcatcher, please hold tightly to Mr. Dreamcatcher’s hands and repeat after me:
We repeat: I, Miss/Mr. Dreamcatcher, take thee Miss/Mr. Dreamcatcher, to be my lawfully wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance.
The last thing on the ceremony agenda was our rings!
The ring is an ancient symbol, so perfect and simple.
It has no beginning and has no end.
It is round like the sun, like the moon, like the eye, like arms that embrace.
It is a circle; for love that is given comes back round again.
Your rings are precious because you wear them with love.
They symbolize your commitment in marriage.
They remind you of who you are, where you’ve been, and where you’re going.
As you wear them through time, they will reflect not only who you are as individuals, but also who you are a couple.
We repeat: With this ring I thee wed. Take it as a symbol of my unending love and commitment. You were my yesterday, you are my today, you will be my tomorrow. All that I am I give to you. In the name of the Father, of the Son, of the Holy Ghost.
Our rings were actually a hilarious disaster. You’ll notice in the above photo…I grabbed the wrong hand. If that wasn’t embarrassing enough, when it was Mr. Dreamcatcher’s turn to speak, I decided to start repeating as well. <.< As ridiculous as this was, it made our ceremony our own and made our guests practically howl with laughter.
Finally, our ceremony was coming to a close. The last thing was to seal it with a kiss!
Pastor South: By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride!
Dreamcatcher tip #14: Writing your ceremony from top to bottom is A LOT of work. I spent HOURS reading poem after poem, finding website after website until it felt like my eyes were bleeding. Think about the main things you want to emphasize. For us, it was making God the center, while putting emphasis on our history together. In the end, it was so worth it because every word meant so much to us. If you’re willing to put in the time, the payoff is fantastic!
- My dress almost doesn’t happen.
- I get by with a little help from my friends.
- We stumble through a rehearsal.
- We give some awesome gifts.
- Flow it, show it, hair, hair, hair, hair.
- Stuff gets sprayed on my face and makes me pretty.
- It takes one mom and six bridesmaids to dress me.
- A Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Dressed
- A look of the first variety.
- I forget I planned a gift exchange.
- Our wedding party cheeses something fierce.
- Our photographer somehow makes us look good.
- I manage to not trip.