Humanist wedding ceremonies often include symbolic gestures, or rituals. The oathing stone is a great alternative to handfasting, since this ritual is also typically performed while exchanging vows.

The history behind it

This ancient ceremony is rooted deeply in the celtic tribal traditions. Using a stone was thought to be the best way to express a solemn promise in physical form.

Having a connection to ancestors and the land was a critical ingredient to any important new venture, particularly entering into marriage. The oathing stone was seen as a way to help root your future into the wisdom of the past at the start of your new life as a married couple. It is thought to be how the expression ‘to set [something] in stone’ originated.

How it’s done

You both clasp your hands over your chosen stone.

A couple clasp hands over an oathing stone during a wedding ceremony


Make sure it’s not too heavy – ideally a stone, not a boulder.

When it’s usually performed

Using the oathing stone is typically performed while exchanging your vows, either your personal promises to one another, or your legal declarations – essentially setting your vows into your stone.

montage of oathing stone ceremonies produced by cinemate films

How to personalise it

The words recited as you clasp your oathing stone can be personal to you, and whatever stone you use will be personal to you too.

As with many wedding-related things, you can buy stones for this purpose, some of which can have your initials and the date of your wedding on them. But you may prefer to choose a stone from a place that has meaning to you both, such as a beach or other special place. It can be hand-painted too if desired.

Involving other people

You could consider collecting smaller stones from your special place that each of your guests can hold, or ‘warm’, during your ceremony. The idea is that each guest has the opportunity to pass on their well wishes, positive vibes and loving energies to you through interacting with the stones.


Your oathing stone and any other ‘warmed’ stones can take pride of place in your home.

Two male adults and three children waving and celebrating

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