My favorite ceremony rituals for your destination wedding in Paris are romantic, meaningful and personal. I love wedding rituals because they are a symbolic gestures to express your love and unity during your ceremony. Your wedding vows consist of words, your wedding ritual consists of actions. The ritual can therefore complete your ceremony in a beautiful way. On top of that it’s a visual element that can be captured beautifully on your wedding photos!
Things to consider for your destination wedding ceremony rituals
Because you are planning a destination wedding in Paris, as your celebrant in France I recommend to choose a ritual that is easy to prepare. Meaning rituals that only requires materials and items that are not to large or heavy and that you can therefore conveniently transport and travel with.
Moreover I especially love customizable ceremony rituals that you can personalize in order to incorporate and express your unique personalities, background, love story, shared passions and more. Or why not a little reference to your wedding destination France?
Furthermore if you would like to include your loved ones, most of these rituals can accommodate this wish. Either a small number of guests (e.g. only your parents, or only your siblings, or only your kids) takes part in the ritual, you make it a group ritual that everybody contributes to (this usually works best if the number of guests is more on the intimate side).
Ceremony rituals for your destination wedding in Paris France:
Handfasting is a Celtic tradition which symbolizes the binding of two people in love. As your Paris celebrant I will bind your joined hands with the handfasting cords. If you then pull the loose ends with your free hands you will literally tie the knot!
Material: Cords, ribbons, scarfs or similar. Usually 2 or more. Around 1 meter/ 40 inches each. Personalize it: Use a fabric, color, pattern that has a special meaning to you.
1. Jackie & Leo (below) used the scarf of the groom’s mother who had passed away to honor her memory and to physically feel her presence on their wedding day.
2. David & Hazel (below) traveled to Paris from Scotland and used Buchanan tartan to honor their cultural roots.
3. Florencia & Erik (below) made the bride’s daughter part of the ritual to symbolize the becoming of a family. They used 3 different colors for their ribbons: blue for the groom, red for the bride, and sparkle purple was the color that their daughter chose. So each of them was represented by a different color, bringing a different quality to their union symbolized by the color symbolic.
Include your loved ones: Make close family members or friends assist or even perform the ritual with you.
1. Remember David & Hazel (see #2 above) from Scotland? For their renewal of vows they wanted their son to be part of their ceremony. So it was him binding the hands of his parents.
2. Tanya & Tyler (see above) had each of their parents bring a cord and bless their union by wrapping the cord around their hands. The couples then had 4 cords and 4 different colors and tied the knot made of these good wishes.
2. Unity Candles
If you plan your celebration in an indoor venue then the unity candles are a beautiful ceremony ritual for your destination wedding in Paris France. Especially for an evening ceremony or winter wedding when the light is rather dim.
The two of you are holding smaller candles and will together light your larger unity candle. This wedding ritual symbolizes your union – two become one.
Material: 2 small candles, 1 large unity candle. Candlestick/ saucers fitting to your candles.
Personalize it: You can purchase customized candles with your names and wedding dates on it (see above). You can find them for instance on Etsy
Include your guests:
1. Rhonda & Richard performed the unity candles together with their 2 children to celebrate the union of their family. (Read more about their touching story here: Eiffel Tower ceremony with family ritual!)
2. You can also ask 2 of your guests (e.g. parents, siblings) to light your individual candles in the very beginning of the ritual and to bless your union.
3. You can spread the light from your unity candle: One of your loved ones will inflame their candle on your unity candle and then pass it on to the person sitting next. This way your guests will one by one light their candles until your ceremony space is a sea of lights.
3. Sand Ceremony
Another unity ritual is the sand ceremony, which is a great variation on the unity candles, but better apt for outdoor ceremonies. Because if you are planning your ceremony outdoors, there is there is always a little bit of wind, which may blow out your candles. So in this case I would rather recommend the sand ritual as ceremony ritual for your destination wedding in Paris France. It has the same symbolic meaning but uses different and more “weather-resistant” materials.
When performing the sand ritual the two of you are each holding a small glass containers with sand in two different colors. Together you then pour the sand in both colors into a larger glass container, where your colors blend together in layers.
Material: 2 small glass containers, 1 large glass container. Sand in 2 different colors or from 2 different places.
4. Time Capsule
The time capsule is a ritual that reaches out into your shared future and will later make you reminisce your shared past. The ritual is actually only completely finished on your wedding anniversary.
To perform this ritual you will put certain items into a box or envelope during your wedding ceremony (e.g. letters to each other, a flower from your wedding bouquet, photos/postcard of your trip to Paris, a bottle of wine etc.). Then you seal the box or envelope, and promise to only open it again on a certain date in the future (e.g 1st, 5th, 10th wedding anniversary).
Material: 1 box or envelope or any other container that you can close (choice depends on the number and size of items you will put inside!). Items to put into your time capsule
Personalize it: It’s all about the items you will put into your time capsule. Choose things that are meaningful to you and that will spark beautiful memories when you will open your time capsule again in the future.
1. Marilyn & Martin (see below) were putting the following items into their time capsule: Love letters that they had written for each other but will only read when opening the box again. A bottle of French wine as a keepsake of their destination wedding in Paris. A cotton candle because they decided to re-open their box on their 2nd wedding anniversary, which is the cotton anniversary. So on their 2nd anniversary they will open their time capsule, drink the wine, light the candle and read their love letters.
2. Jen & Ivan (see below) were expecting a baby at the time they got married. So they choose items that expressed their excitement and best wishes for their future child. As a box they used a small suitcase for kids because they wish to travel a lot as a family.
Into the box they put: An ultra sounds picture and the card they created to announce the pregnancy to their loved ones to remind them of this exciting time. A calendar of the Spanish artists Goya as reminder of the year of birth and to honor the groom’s Spanish roots. A soccer jersey to pass on their passion about this sport to their kid. A letter for their baby.
They decided to seal their time capsule until their child is big enough to understand. So when time comes they will re-open the time capsule together with their little one, share the gifts, read the letter and strolling down memory lane.
French touch: Don’t forget to get a nice bottle of your favorite French wine or champagne! Also add some post cards from Paris, make Polaroids during your trip and celebration! These will be beautiful keepsakes to rediscover when you open your box again after a few years. They will instantly bring back the memories and tastes of your trip to France and wedding in Paris.
5. Drinking ritual
Sharing a drink during your wedding ceremony is a fun way to celebrate your union. There are numerous ways to perform this ritual:
- You can drink from the same glass which symbolizes the cup of life – from now on you will be sharing all of lives experiences together, both bitter and sweet.
- You can make it a unity ritual, each of you pouring a different drink into a glass (e.g. red wine + white wine, gin + tonic etc.) and you then take a sip of your newly created drink.
- You can also simply cheer your glasses and drink with linked arms after the vows to celebrate your union.
Material: 1-2 glasses, drink(s) of your choice
Personalize it: Include cultural references or choose a drink which is connected to your love story.
French touch: Use your favorite French champagne or favorite French wine!
1. Andrea & Dorian (see below) took shots of Whiskey – a specific type of Whiskey that is linked to their love story. The guests did not know about that and it was a fun surprise when the best man took out the whiskey bottle that he was hiding in his jacket.
2. Angela & Young-Min (see above) were honoring the Korean roots of the groom’s family by incorporating a Korean drinking ritual. First the bride & groom spill water from their 2 glasses over their shoulders to honor the ancestors. Then they take a shot to honor the guests. In the end they drink together from 1 cup of tea to symbolize their union.
5. Cultural customs
If you are a couple coming from two different cultural backgrounds, feel free to dig into wedding traditions and ceremony rituals of your or your family’s country or culture of origin. As your officiant in France I would encourage you to talk to your families and ask them about cultural customs that you could incorporate into your destination wedding in Paris France. Usually loved ones are happy to help and may even feel proud and honored about your interest.
As your celebrant in Paris I believe that especially for intercultural weddings and couples getting married with different religious or language backgrounds this element can strengthen the mutual understanding and connection between the bride & groom’s families and friends.
Examples of intercultural ceremony rituals for your destination wedding in Paris France:
1. Afghanistan: Helay & Pierre (see above & below) wanted to honor the bride’s origins as her family is originally from Afghanistan. So we decided to incorporate the following Persian ceremony rituals: The bride and groom’s heads are covered with a decorative silk shawl held up by female family members. The shawl is generally passed down through generations – Helay’s used the shawl her mother used during her own wedding. This canopy signifies that the bride and groom are now united under the same roof. The couple then picks up a holy or significant book and reads a few verses together. Helay & Pierre decided to read a Persian poem. The shawl is then lifted and the bride and groom intertwine their arms and offer each other a sip of a beverage, usually fruit juice to symbolize feeding each other sweetness throughout their life together.
2. Korea: Remember Angela & Young-Min’s Korean drinking ritual with water, tea and alcoholic beverage?
Choose your favorite ceremony ritual for your destination wedding in Paris France:
Any questions, ideas, comments please don’t hesitate to contact me, your Paris Officiant. I’d be happy to support you creating a personalized ritual for your wedding ceremony. And I am always curious to learn about your culture of origin and the customs and rituals you know.
Vendors of these destination wedding in Paris France:
Photography: Paris Wedding Photographer Pierre Torset, Timeless Paris Photography, The Parisian Photographers in Paris, Studio Cabrelli, Stanlo Photography, Susanne Hyam, Skiss Photo
Planner: Perles d’Emotion, Estelle Monot Events, Noces du Monde, CTH Events Paris – Weddings in France
Venues: Chateau de Carsix, Culzean Castle, Chateau de Chantilly, Shangri-La Paris, Hotel Le Crillon, Le Jardin d’Epicure, Restaurant Steinsee Niederseeon, Pavillon de Musique de la Comtesse du Barry