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At its simplest, a sand ceremony involves a symbolic blending of two different-coloured sands into a single vessel. The meaning is clear: The blending o two different beings, the bride and the groom, into a single, inseparable unit that is their marriage, the joining of their lives. Hard as it would be to separate out those grains of sand, that's how difficult it is to separate these two people. It usually takes place after the exchange of rings and vows, although it can go before or even during, and lasts just a couple of minutes.A basic sand ceremony involves three, usually glass vessels. One holding the bride's sand, one holding the groom's sand, and an empty one that will soon hold both, all sitting on a small table or stand. It goes something like this:Explanation of the meaning of the ceremony and how it relates to the two people getting married.Invitation for the groom to pour a bit of his sand into the empty vessel.Invitation for the bride to do the same with her sand.The bride and groom then pour their sands at the same time, in a single stream, into the vessel.Closing the ceremony with some words about the joining of their lives.The end result is a glass container holding the grooms coloured sand, then the brides coloured sand and a top layer of mixed sand, showing how the joining of the two have created a new, equally beautiful entity.It lends itself especially well to blended families, when the bride and/or groom already have children. Having each child pour his or her own colored sand into the vessel along with the couple involves them in the ceremony and in the finished product in a seamless, natural way.Other ways to personalize the ceremony include:Leaving a bit of sand in each original vessel, symbolizing that each person involved in the union will maintain his or her individuality even as their lives are joined.Collecting sand from meaningful sources, using sand from favourite beaches or from vacation spots can add some extra poignancy to the ceremony.Inviting each member of the wedding party to add sand to the container, commemorating the special place they hold in your new life together.Coordinating the sand colours to the wedding colours Choosing a vase, urn or other vessel with that has special meaning to the couple.
Jumping the broom is a time-honoured wedding tradition in which the bride and groom jump over a broom during the ceremony. The act symbolizes a new beginning and a sweeping away of the past, and can also signify the joining of two families or offer a respectful nod to family ancestors. For all of these reasons, jumping the broom is an increasingly popular part of many modern wedding ceremonies
Today's wedding brooms, however, are a far cry from those first used in jumping the broom ceremonies. They're still made with a wooden handle and natural bristles, but they're kept as treasured keepsakes and probably never actually used to sweep the floor.
Some brides prefer to create their own brooms, while others purchase ornately decorated brooms ready-made. Far from ordinary, these brooms are outfitted beautifully with silk ribbons, fresh or silk flowers, bows, beads and more.
During the ceremony, broom jumping can be paired with a prayer, song, poem or simple explanation of the tradition. Today, many brides attach the verse to their wedding brooms.
The broom can even be used to include guests in the ceremony: A couple can have guests write their names on pieces of decorative paper attached to ribbons, and then the ribbons are tied to the broom before it is jumped. This symbolizes that the guests -- and their associated well wishes -- go into the marriage with the couple.
In pagan ceremonies, the broom represents a perfect balance between the male and female, with the handle symbolizing a phallus and the bristles symbolizing female energies.
Regardless of the ways in which the broom is incorporated into a wedding, it should be accompanied by a full understanding of the custom's historical significance.
The wedding custom was a common practice in Welsh, Scottish and Roma cultures. In pre-Christian Wales, couples who wished to commit to each other followed pagan tradition: A broom was placed across a home's doorway and, like jumping a hurdle, the groom leapt over it, and then the bride followed. If neither one of them made the broom fall -- or took a face-plant on the floor -- the marriage was meant to be. If the broom took a tumble, so did hopes for their marriage: The wedding would be cancelled altogether. The ceremony was widespread enough (especially among couples who didn't want or weren't given the legal right to have a court- or church-sanctioned wedding) that Charles Dickens mentioned it casually in "Great Expectations" in 1861; he wrote that a couple was married "over the broomstick."
Today, jumping the broom is still an important wedding tradition for many -- whether they wish to pay homage to their ancestors, signify a fresh start or add a personal twist to their special day.
Handfasting dates back to the time of the ancient Celts. Originally it was more like a trial marriage, two people would declare a binding union between themselves for a year and a day. This way the couple had the chance to see if they could survive the marriage. At the end of the year the couple could either split up or could decide to enter permanently into marriage.
Variations exist on the ceremony itself.The hands of the couple are clasped and fastened together with a cord or cords either before, after, or during their vows are made. The wrapping of the cord forms an infinity symbol while the handfasting knot is symbolic of oneness between the couple. The color, length, type and number of cords used to handfast the couple is one of choice. As it which hands of the couple are to be bound. A handfasting is a beautiful ceremony which couples can customize to suit their own personalities and ideas