Published: Friday, Mar. 5th, 2021
On March 20th, the Northern Hemisphere will shake off its winter slumber and wipe the sleep from its eyes, welcoming warmer, brighter days in a rush of excitement and anticipation. Trees will push young green leaves from the bud, flowers will unfurl brightly colored petals, wildlife will scurry to and fro, and lovebirds everywhere will sing-out, “I do!”
The Spring, or Vernal, Equinox has been celebrated for centuries as a time of fresh beginnings and renewal. As a day when the hours of light and dark, day and night, are exactly equal, it’s also an important celestial symbol of balance, equality, and harmony. This makes it an especially meaningful day to wed.
Depending on the region, the Equinox is celebrated with flowers, feasts, firecrackers and fireworks, bonfires, prayers to passed loved ones, sweets and cakes, gatherings with friends and family, painting eggs, fertility rituals, or planting seeds.
Because of the Equinox’s long history, its various interpretations and celebrations are easily included in any type of wedding, betrothal, or commitment ceremony. And sweethearts looking to celebrate the next stage or chapter of their relationship, to start a family, or to celebrate their partner as their unquestioned equal, will find much to embrace with the equinox!
This simple outline for a flower ceremony, that promises couples new blooms each year on their anniversary, will help you get started planning your own celebration.
Crocus and tulips are early spring favorites!
Arrange vases filled with fresh cut flowers on tables around the room or ceremony space, to create a circle of color and sweet scents that surround the guests, officiant, and couple during the ceremony. These will be used as part of the community flower ritual! If the couple wishes, these flowers can be left whole with their bulbs or roots attached, to be replanted, rather than cut. At the center of the ceremony space, where the couple will say their vows, prepare a table or altar with one large vase left empty, and two smaller vases with a single flower in each.
We recommend using early-blooming spring flowers, including daffodils, crocus, hyacinths, tulips, or iris. Trimmed branches of woodier varieties, such as rhododendron or forsythia, are a beautiful departure from the usual wedding flora fare.
If rooted perennials or flowers still on the bulb are used, these can be replanted later in the couple’s home garden or window box, to bloom again each spring on their anniversary.
Guests are seated in a loose circle around the ceremonial space, where the table for the flower ceremony is set up. The officiant and couple enter the circle and the ceremony begins.
The officiant welcomes the guests and introduces the couple. They explain the purpose of the gathering (marriage, betrothal, or commitment ceremony), and point out how meaningful it is that friends and family have gathered together to celebrate at the start of spring and the start of a marriage. They’ll talk about the significance of the Equinox and share a few details about the couple’s personal connection to the day.
The officiant talks about the symbolism of the Equinox, the balance between day and night, the promise of new beginnings, and the beauty and bounty of spring. Pulling from these concepts, the officiant offers the couple a blessing for the promise of a happy life together, or says a few secular words on the importance of renewal, compromise, and harmony in lasting love. They might talk about how the couple met, what their life together has been like, and what partnership, equality, and marriage mean to them.
The officiant tells the guests that the couple have written personal vows (or poetry, or music), and then faces each partner in turn.
Each partner shares their vows, and then chooses a flower from one of the smaller vases, and places it in the larger vase. If the couple has chosen to use un-cut flowers still on the bulb or root, a large decorative planter with a bit of soil at the bottom can be used instead.
As they add their flower to the larger vase, they’ll say something like:
“This bloom represents the joy and fullness of my love, and the promise of a new season.”
The officiant lets the guests know that the couple will exchange rings as a lasting symbol of their union. They’ll ask each partner in turn to place a ring on the other’s hand, which they do.
The officiant now asks the couple’s guests to step forward and show their support for the union. Each guest chooses a flower from a vase close to them, and places it in the larger vase up front, until it is nearly overflowing with blooms. (To avoid it actually overflowing, the size should be chosen ahead of time based on the size of the crowd. Don’t forget the logistics!)
As they place their flowers in the vase or planter, the officiant talks about the ritual’s role in reminding the couple of the love of their community. They will also talk about the importance of the couple’s promises, and their hopes for the future in their marriage together as equals.
Guests will remain standing, and form a loose circle around the happy couple for the pronouncement.
(Note: Any guests who are unable to stand should be seated with this in mind, so that they can remain included in the circle.)
Spring bulbs will bloom again and again each year!
The officiant declares the couple to be officially married (or engaged, committed, bound). Cheers rise up from the crowd and the couple kiss!
The officiant announces that the ceremony is over, and the couple leaves the circle while their friends and family cheer. The officiant informs the guests whether or not there will be other activities following the ceremony, and wishes them a day of joy and warmth as they leave.
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