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Plan & Officiate a Summer Solstice Wedding with Handfasting & Honey Wine Toast

Published: Thursday, Jun. 17th, 2021


Illustrations by Jessica Levey

Celebrate the longest day of the year with a lucky handfasting and honey wine toast!

 


For centuries, families and friends have gathered on the longest day of the year to celebrate the fullness of life with dancing, drinking, feasting, and flirting. And why not? The longer the day, the more time to spend with those you love.

 

The Summer Solstice usually falls on June 20th or 21st in the Northern Hemisphere. Because it’s the longest day of the year, it symbolizes the triumph of light over darkness. It’s also believed to be one of the luckiest times of year to marry -- a sacred day honoring family, abundance, fertility, new beginnings, and passionate romance. 

 

Solstice weddings usually incorporate these themes (family, abundance, children, and love), sprinkled with natural elements of earth and fire, to symbolize life and the power of the sun.

 

If you’re searching for traditional influences to add symbolism to a modern wedding, you won’t have to look far -- nearly every early culture celebrated the Solstice season in a special way: 

 

In Ancient Greece, Athenians danced in the fields so that Cronus would bless them with plentiful crops and many children. In China, townspeople celebrated the Earth, fertility, and the feminine yin with desserts and brightly colored fans. In the Great Plains, Sioux danced around trees in symbolic colors to honor the Sun and the season’s bounty. And in Northern Europe, Pagans celebrated Litha and Midsummer with hilltop bonfires and feasts, banishing demons with smoke and fire, settling feuds, performing handfastings, and practicing magical matchmaking between young lovers… 

 

Celebrations in the Southern Hemisphere (held in late December) are equally varied and vibrant!

 

Because the Solstice doesn’t belong to any particular culture or religion, any style of wedding is perfect for this auspicious day.

 

Use the simple outline and script below as a starting point for your own celebration. 

 

 

Image is a minimalist, brightly colored illustration of an outdoor summer solstice wedding, the colors are yellow and orange, red and pink, and several shades of green

 

 

Summer Solstice Ceremony with Handfasting & Honey Wine Toast 
 


Preparation

 

We love an outdoor wedding for Summer Solstice! Tbh, we love an outdoor wedding all year long, but this is an especially fitting day to bring the celebration outdoors. (So don’t forget to pack sunscreen and deodorant in your wedding emergency kit. It is the longest day of the year after all…) 

 

Arrange guests in a half circle or circle around the marriage altar, where you’ll place the honey wine and two glasses. Decorate with colorful fabrics, candles, wildflowers, mistletoe, basil, and other traditional herbs. Use local plant varieties for a personalized look. 

 

 


Procession

 

Guests are seated in a half circle or circle around the ceremonial space, where the altar or table for the mead toast is set up. The couple enters together or one at a time while the processional music plays, and meets the officiant at the altar. If a parent, relative, or friend is walking one of the partners down the aisle, this happens now.  

 

 


Invocation & Welcome

 

The minister / officiant welcomes the guests and introduces the couple. They explain the purpose of the gathering (marriage, betrothal, or commitment ceremony), and share the history and significance of the Solstice while offering insight into the couple’s personal connection to the holiday. 

 

 

Officiant: 
“Friends and family, we’re here today to celebrate ________ and ________ as they take this next step into marriage. We’re here to celebrate their joy, their friendship, the incredible growth they’ve experienced together, and the love they share! 

 

It’s no coincidence that they’ve chosen this day. As most of you know, today marks the longest day of the year, the triumph of light and love over darkness. It’s a time that’s been honored for thousands of years, as a day to make a new beginning, to revel in vibrancy and abundance, warmth and potential. It’s a time to celebrate family and the fullness of life.

 

When ________ and ________ met last year, they didn’t know they’d be saying their vows in front of all you today. But it wasn’t long -- only a couple of dates -- before they knew they’d found their person in each other. 

 

They say they knew they were meant to be, when spending time together made their days feel like those endless summer days of childhood -- full and happy. 

 

So today, with the sun at its fullest power, we gather to celebrate love at its fullest!” 

 

 

 

Declaration of Intent

 

The officiant asks each partner if they want to marry each other. This is where the familiar ‘I do’ part of the ceremony comes in, and in some states it’s mandatory. The declaration of intent can be as simple as asking, “Do you wish to marry each other?” followed by “We do!”

 

 

Officiant: 
“Without further delay, are you two ready to marry?”


Partner One and Two, together:  
“We are!” 

 

 


Vows & Handfasting 

 

The vows are exchanged as part of a handfasting ritual. The officiant will ask the couple to face each other, or stand side to side, and clasp right hands (leaving the left hands free). The officiant ties the first knot, and asks the first partner to say their vows. The officiant ties the second knot, and asks the second partner to say their vows. The officiant ties the third and final knot, reminding the couple of the significance and symbolism of the knots. 

 

 

Officiant: 
“Wonderful! It looks like we’re all in the right place then. 

 

________ and ________, you’ve written personal vows to each other, which you’ll share as part of a traditional handfasting ceremony. 

 

For those guests who don’t know, a handfasting cord is a physical symbol of a spiritual bond. With each promise the couple makes, the cord is knotted, representing the unbreakable love these two share, and their commitment to honor and support one another always.

 

________ and ________, clasp hands as your first promise.”

 

 

The couple clasps hands, right hand with right hand, either crossing in front of the body or standing side to side. 

 

The officiant ties the first knot in the cord around the couples wrists. 

 

 

Important: If the couple will be exchanging rings before the handfasting cord is removed, make sure the couple uses their right hands so that the left hands are free. If this isn’t possible, remove the cord before placing the rings.

 


Officiant: 
“________, would you like to say your vows first?”


Partner One: Says their vows. 

 

The officiant ties the second knot. 

 


Officiant: 
“And ________, would you like to share your vows?” 


Partner Two: Says their vows. 

 

The officiant ties the third knot.

 


Officiant: 
“Keep this cord with you for the years ahead, and let each knot remind you of the promises you made here today.”

 

 


Ring Exchange

 

The officiant talks about the lasting symbolism of the rings, as a physical reminder of the spiritual bond, and the couple place rings on each other’s left hands. Once the rings are in place, the handfasting cord is slipped off, leaving the knots in place.

 

 

Officiant: 
“Of course, it would be hard to go through life physically tied together wouldn’t it? Instead, to make the symbol lasting, ________ and ________ have also chosen to exchange rings.

________,  will you present the rings?” 


The guest holding the rings (ring bearer) passes them to each partner. 

 

The couple slips the rings on each other’s hands.

 

The handfasting cord is slipped off now, if it hasn’t been already, and is placed on the altar or passed to a guest for safe keeping.

 

 

Image is an illustration with simple line work of two glasses toasting as part of the wedding ceremony, the glasses are filled with a brightly colored yellow and amber honey wine mead, against a green background, and are encircled by a pink handfasting ribbon

 

 

Blessing & Mead / Honey Wine Toast: 

 

As a final blessing on the couple, the officiant pours the honey wine into each glass and asks them to lift their glasses from the altar in a toast. The officiant gives a final blessing, and they drink to their future, their community, and their love, and seal the toast with a kiss.

 

 

Officiant:
“Before we head out to feast and frolic, there’s one more thing to do -- share in a toast with this happy couple as they enter the world as married partners! 

 

________ and ________, lift your glasses! (They do

 

Everyone you see here today loves and cares about you, as individuals and as a couple. We’re so happy that you two found each other and that you’ve decided to share your life together. As you leave this sacred space today, take our love with you. And remember! You can do anything together! 

 

May the warmth of the sun remind you of the earth’s bounty, and its light, the bounty of your love. And may today be the start of a wonderfully full life that grows fuller, brighter, and happier with each turn of the season.

 

Now toast to love, drink, kiss, and be merry!”

 

The couple toast, drink, and kiss! 

 

 

 

Pronouncement

 

The officiant officially declares the couple to be married (or engaged, committed, bound,etc.) and the couple turns to face their guests as they cheer in support.

 

 

Officiant:
“Friends and family, I present to you ________ and ________, partners in life! 
(Or wife and husband, husband and husband, etc., as the couple chooses.)
 
The couple turn to face their guests happily, clasping hands.

 

 

 

Recession

 

The officiant declares the ceremony over and sends everyone to the reception to celebrate the Solstice. Mead is offered at the reception for guests to enjoy -- a Solstice tradition. 

 

 

Officiant: 
“This ceremony is officially over! Let’s give ________ and ________ some applause and then let’s go celebrate the Solstice!” 

 

Mead should be offered at the reception for guests to enjoy. 

 

 


 

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