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Rituals - Stuart Atherton Celebrant available for Weddings, Funerals, Vow Renewals, Naming Ceremonies

Wedding rituals

There are so many rituals that happen at a wedding, with the exchange of rings being the most common. Of course, the majority of couples include this without a thought – I don’t actually know anyone who hasn’t. 


But there are many, many more that are hopelessly romantic, incredible fun, symbolic of your cultures or just simply amazing and you just really want it to be a part of your ceremony.


I have picked a few of my favourites to share with you below but I am always happy to perform others or find one that perfectly suits the two of you. 


This is an ancient Celtic ritual whereby the right hands of the couple were tied together as a symbol of the binding of two lives.


What I love about this ritual is that you can choose any material to bind you together. This can be as simple as a rope to a complex woven ribbon made up of significant colours that have meaning to you. I wish I'd have known about it when I got married, I'd have chosen some fabric from my mother-in-law's sari and family tartan!

As you hold one another’s left hand, I would wrap the chosen binding around your wrists, while explaining the meaning behind the chosen materials of your handfasting. Once the vows are exchanged, I then invite you to take up the ends of the binding and pull them as you release your right hands. The magical tying and your pulling of the binding, ends with you ‘tying the knot’ – hence the old saying!

This ritual is beautifully visual, is a physical representation of your joining and has great sentimental meaning. It also gives you both something beautiful, physical and symbolic to keep from your ceremony.


Traditionally part of Hispanic and Filipino wedding ceremonies, the lasso or 'el lazo de boda', is a symbol of a couples everlasting union.

This is a romantic and modern twist on an ancient ritual.  In essence, a long chain would be draped over both your shoulders in a figure of eight. The chain could be a string of flowers, a collection of ribbons chosen to match your colour scheme or traditional colours from your culture. There is no rule.

Traditionally, the lasso would have been lovingly placed by 'los padrinos' or god parents. 


The lasso ritual originates from Mexico, the Philippines and other Latin countries. Originally, a long rosary would have been used. Whilst the lasso is being placed around your shoulders, I might recite the traditional blessing "as you are now bound together, so too are your lives and spirits joined in a union of everlasting love and trust."

You can of course decide what we say as you may have something more personal to you both that you  would want to add.

Unity Candle Lighting

A beautifully symbolic ritual where two become one. 

As the name suggests, it is the uniting of two candles, each representing both partners. The flame represents love and passion and so in your ceremony, it shows the adoration you both hold for one another and the candles show the eternal bonding of your marriage. 

After the exchanging of rings, you would then both hold a candle that represents you. 

There are many different styles of candles to choose. You could have your names embossed on a candle or perhaps you have a Scottish heritage and would like to have your two tartans on the candles. Your choice is, your choice!

From the two lit candles, together you will both light the main unity candle. Whilst doing this it is a perfect time for a reading or poem. I can help you find the one that suits you if you would like. There are no rules, this is your moment to express your joining of love to your friends and family and what this truly means to you.

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