There are more cultural and religious ceremonies for weddings to possibly list, many that date back thousands of years. Most of the customs symbolize the union of the new couple and their families intertwining. As an added twist to a typical wedding, consider incorporating a cultural ceremony that dates back to your ancestors, or simply choose one that interests you. Here are some of my favorites and the meaning behind them:
Parents down the aisle (Judaism): Both the bride and groom's parents escort the couple down the aisle to symbolize the union of the two families. This is also a way to incorporate children, should either the bride or groom already have any.
Yichud (Judaism): This is a short period immediately following the ceremony for the bride and groom to be alone. Today, it's a quiet time to reflect on the big event that just occurred, or to grab a bite to eat before you face the masses! This is perfect for any couple, regardless of their faith.
Handfasting (Celtic): In a handfasting ceremony, the couple's hands are crossed and bound together by rope or a cord which is tied in a knot. This is a possible origin for the phrase "tying the knot", and represents an unbreakable union between man and wife. While this tradition has pagan origins, it is used today in Christian and non-denominational ceremonies, too.
Wrapping the Couple (Spanish): The parents of the couple (or just the mothers) come to the alter and wrap the bride and groom in a long veil (traditionally a mantilla) or fabric, symbolizing union of the couple and their families. The couple may stand this way for a few seconds, maybe as part of the ceremony is read. The mothers then unwrap and fold the veil.
Honey Ceremony: The bride and groom feed each other a small spoonful of honey as a symbol of the sweet life they will now share.
Sapta Padi (Hinduism): The couple walks seven steps together as a symbol of their friendship. In Hinduism, friendship is the basis of a marriage's foundation.