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6 Ways to Include a Sword in Your Wedding Ceremony

Published Friday, Dec. 9th, 2022


Trade in traditional wedding vows for an epic battle cry with a wedding sword ceremony

 

 

 

Look, swords are cool. They conjure up images of epic battles, great-hearted warriors, courageous lovers, sexy rebels, and daring feats of chivalry. And believe it or not, they’ve also played a symbolic role in wedding ceremonies for centuries!

 

If you want to include a sword in your wedding (who wouldn’t), there are lots of different ways to go about it. The six examples below make for excellent inspiration – from medieval themes to spiritual symbolism. Use one as-is, or modify it to fit your personal style.

 

But remember: Never bring a weapon to a wedding without explicit permission from the venue staff and your wedding officiant, and always keep safety first in mind. 

 

 

 

Six ways to include a sword in your wedding ceremony 

 


1. Military Saber Arch

 

Called “The Arch of Sabers,” this military wedding tradition symbolizes a promise of loyalty and support given to the newlyweds by their military ‘family’ as the couple enter their new life together. 

 

Immediately after the wedding ceremony, chosen members of the couple’s military community stand across from each other with their sabers (or swords) raised, forming an impressive ‘arch’ of blades. The newlyweds walk under this arch as they leave the venue. 

 

To add this ceremony to your wedding, choose close friends or relatives to serve as sword bearers (called ushers). 

 

 

Wikimedia Commons image of a newly married couple exiting a small white church while military members hold up their swords to form an arch over the aisle

The Arch of Sabers, photo by AzureCitizen

 

Different branches of the military use different procedures to perform The Arch of Sabers, but they’re all similar: 6 to 8 ushers line up at the door to the wedding venue and draw their swords when instructed, forming the arch. After the couple has passed through, they return the sabers to their sheaths, and the recessional order continues. (via MilitaryWives.com)

 

West Point instructions for The Arch of Sabers can be found here.

 

2. Jumping the Sword

 

This tradition is sometimes combined with ‘Jumping the Broom,’ in which couples jump over a broomstick after taking their vows to symbolize a clean start in married life. When couples ‘Jump the Sword,’ it often symbolizes the same thing – as they cut ties with the past to leap into marriage. It can also represent a promise to defend and protect the relationship, no matter what the future brings. 

 

To add this ceremony to your wedding, lay your sword on the ground near the altar. Take your partner’s hand, and when instructed by your wedding officiant, leap over the sword together. This ritual has roots in the British Isles and may have been used as part of Celtic or Scottish handfasting ceremonies.

 

It’s speculated that in these distant days, the wedding officiant would proclaim, “Leap, rogue, and jump, whore!” and the couple would clasp hands and jump. (via English Historical Fiction Authors)

 

Modify the wording in this script to personalize this the unity ceremony: 

 

 

 

 

3. Viking Sword Exchange

 

Viking couples exchanged swords as part of the traditional ring exchange – and you can, too! This ceremony represents the protection and care exchanged between two families in marriage.

 

Lore says that a Viking groom would ‘steal’ a sword from an ancestral grave to give to their bride, so that it could be passed down to their future children as an heirloom. The bride also gave an ancestral sword to the groom, and the wedding rings were fastened to the hilts of the swords during the exchange.

  

 

Close up photo of a Viking sword on the ground with gold wedding rings resting on the blade

 

 

To include this ritual in your wedding, attach your wedding bands to the hilts of your swords during the ring exchange, and present the sword to your new spouse as a gift. 

 

For more inspiration check out: Viking Weddings: Magic, Swords, Runes, Ritual Sacrifice, and More

 

And this full wedding ceremony script: 

 

 

 

 

4. Medieval Themed Ring Exchange

 

Swords are the perfect addition to any Medieval theme wedding! Like Viking weddings, they’re usually included during the ring exchange when presenting the wedding rings. 

 

In one variation, the groom draws his sword, kneels down on one knee, places the ring on the hilt of the sword and holds it out to the bride as an offering. The bride accepts the ring, places it on her own finger, and ‘knights’ her partner with his sword. This ritual symbolizes the groom’s promise of loyalty and protection, and the bride’s autonomy and willingness to marry. 

 

 

A bride walks hand in hand with her groom, who is dressed in a metal knight's armor and carries a sword, they are outside in a field

 

 

To add this ritual to your ring exchange, carefully draw your sword and kneel in front of your partner. Place the ring on the hilt and raise the sword carefully toward your partner. If you can’t get the ring secured on the sword, just hold the ring up symbolically while kneeling.

 

This full wedding ceremony script includes the perfect wording for a sword and ring ceremony:

 

 


5. Sikh Wedding Sword  

 

One of Sikhism’s five articles of faith, the kirpan is a symbolic curved dagger worn by Sikhs at all times, including during their wedding ceremony. Kirpans were traditionally full-sized swords, but are now much smaller to make them easier to wear every day in modern settings. These religious symbols are worn at the hip, on a belt that crosses the body from shoulder to hip.

 

Wedding kirpans are usually larger and more decorative than other kirpans, and are traditionally given as gifts to the groom and bride. Couples sometimes hold these knives ceremoniously during the wedding in addition to the ones they wear, as a symbol of deep religious and spiritual connection. 

 

 

Close up photo of a man in a light colored suit with a red pocket square, holding a gold wedding kirpan

 

 

 

6. Cake Cutting Sword

 

Swords can be part of your wedding reception, too! Cut your wedding cake with a sharp blade and the help of your new spouse in a unique twist on unity ceremonies to symbolize your willingness to work together and cut through any bullshit life brings – to get to the sweet stuff! 

 

To include this ceremony in your wedding, place your hands over your partner’s and work together to cut the first piece of cake. After the cake’s been cut, clean your sword and display it in your home as a daily reminder of the rewards of teamwork.

 

 

Close up photo of a bride and groom cutting a cake with a sword while friends and family watch in the background

 

 

Sometimes, cutting your cake with a sword isn’t just badass, it’s also practical… especially if your cake is massively large! Recently, Porsha Williams and Simon Guobadia had to use a sword to cut their towering 10-tiered cake during a lavish Atlanta wedding. (via People)

 

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Need a wedding script?

Vikings Themed Wedding Ceremony Script
 

A couple marries in a Viking ceremony, the officiant and couple are holding up drinking horns for the final unity toast

This original Viking wedding ceremony includes Pagan wedding elements, recognition of the Old Gods, a ring exchange, a traditional handfasting and hand blessing ceremony, unity toast, and more. 

See the full wedding officiant script here. 

 


 

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Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves digging into the history and magic of ritual, exploring the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She’s an advocate for marriage equality and individuality. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys easy hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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