Some people want a very simple ceremony, but others just aren’t sure about the possibilities or what sort of wedding rituals are out there. If that’s you then read on!

Symbolic gestures

Symbolic gestures are rituals or traditions used in humanist ceremonies and are particularly popular in wedding ceremonies. They add an extra dimension to any ceremony and make the ceremony more personal and memorable for the wedding couple and guests. Your chosen symbolic gestures can involve just the two of you or as many of your wedding party or guests as you would like.

Regardless, don’t feel you have to include any – just think about whether any of them resonate with you or have meaning for you. Your ceremony will be unique and meaningful whatever you decide. 

Montage of symbolic gestures from some of our ceremonies produced by cinemate films

Examples of symbolic gestures

Some of the better known and most popular symbolic gestures include:

There are lesser-known options too, like the anniversary box, planting trees, and pop ups, as well as adaptations from other cultures.

Wedding ceremony rituals: a wedding couple prepare to 'break the glass' during a wedding ceremony while guests look on

When our celebrants meet with couples they always ask if they would like to incorporate any symbolic gestures in their ceremony. It’s part of your celebrant’s role to explain them to you and give you ideas. If you’re creative or like to break with tradition you can come up with your own symbolic gestures. The beauty of a humanist ceremony is you’re able to unleash your creativity and include all of the elements that are meaningful to you.  

Two male adults and three children waving and celebrating

Find your celebrant!

Start looking for a celebrant to conduct your humanist ceremony in Scotland.

Flowers held in hanging decorations made from lightbulbs

Secure Your Date

Know your wedding date? Know you're covered

Latest Related Stories

Bride and groom Nikki and Doug after they have "tied the knot" during the handfasting ritual. They hold the material up in a saltire cross shape, it is knotted in the middle.

Real Wedding: Summer love at Newhall Estate

Real Wedding: Summer love at Newhall Estate
Amanda and Josh stand gazing into each other’s eyes with Fortar Castle in the backdrop behind them. They are wearing traditional medieval wear. Josh wears a long black medieval style blouse with gold embellishment round bottom and collar. He wears baggy grey trousers and long black boots. Josh has a beard and long, brown slightly curly hair which he wears down and has a small pleat at one side. Amanda has long red hair which she wears down in loose curls. She wears a long white medieval style gown with gold embroidery and flowing bell sleeves.

Real Wedding: Medieval Magic…

Real Wedding: Medieval Magic…
Bride and groom stand outside their wedding venue. They are holding hands which are raised to the sky in celebration. Wedding guests line up either side of them.

Involving friends and family in your ceremony

Involving friends and family in your ceremony
A close up of Mia and Paul with a scenic backdrop of the Skye hills behind them. They both smile widely. Mia wears a flower crown and fur coat. Paul wears a navy suit.

Fairytale in Skye

Fairytale in Skye