When a couple decides to be together forever, it’s an important event in almost every culture.
Religious traditions are deeply rooted in history. They carry the aesthetics of a place and time: the colors, symbols and objects that make a culture special and unique. If you have a religious faith, consider investigating the traditions of your ancestors. If you don’t, consider incorporating the symbolic traditions of another culture into your ceremony. It doesn’t matter if you believe in the symbolism. All that matters is that the ritual has meaning for you.
Many Muslim brides choose to incorporate the tradition of mendhi or henna tattooing into their wedding ceremonies.
Typically, the intricate henna tattoos adorn the hands and feet of the bride, symbolizing celebration and beauty. If you’re unfamiliar with the tradition, consider searching for mendhi artists in your area. The henna tattoos typically stay fresh for a few days, though if you’re getting married in a particularly hot or humid locale, beware. They tend to wear off of sweaty palms rather quickly. Henna is also eco-friendly!
In Christianity, the unity candle represents the meeting of two hearts and lives.
It symbolizes a couple’s unity with God and commitment to the Christian faith. Lighting a unity candle is a meditative and spiritual practice that can simply symbolize your love and commitment to each other. Consider using a soy-based candle to keep your ceremony eco-friendly.
The Chuppah or Jewish wedding canopy symbolizes the new religious home the couple will be creating after their marriage.
The chuppah can be made of any material—from found wood to woven vines. It doubles nicely as a trellis. One of my friends had a chuppah at her wedding and she wove roses and lilacs into the vines, creating an incredible living canopy. Consider using found wood or twigs to create your chuppah. You can also incorporate vintage ribbon or fabric to create texture.
The Pagan tradition of handfasting involves binding the hands of the bride and groom with ceremonial ribbon or rope.
You can use any material to do the binding—in fact, the more natural the material the truer you will be to tradition. Paganism celebrates nature so using vines or fiber rope will honor the Pagan gods while still honoring the Earth.
No matter what your beliefs are, there are a number of ways—both big and small—that you can incorporate them into your wedding. Every single religious element can be made eco-friendly, and more often than not, many of these age old practices will already have eco-friendly characteristics and materials attributed to them.
Editor: Lynn Hasselberger