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Different styles of union ceremonies - which one is right for you on your wedding day?

I remember as a kid, my parents had their union candle on display in our dining room, we never were allowed to light it, it was decor now - that's so 90's. Nowadays (grandma), couples are getting creative with the ritual of union ceremonies. We love incorporating these personal details into your wedding day, but sometimes it's difficult to find the right way to express it.


Photo by: Aurora Grace Photography

Venue: The Garden - Duluth, MN


Union ceremonies can offer a keepsake or a special moment for you and your partner to solidify their day. Since ceremonies have become shorter and shorter, a resurgence of union ceremonies with Millennials and Gen-Z getting married. Don't feel as though you have to do a union ceremony, we always encourage couples to go with what feels right, not what's expected.


Here are our favorite types of union ceremonies to consider adding to your day.


Hand Fasting

Handfasting is used in Wiccan and Pagan ceremonies, however, the ritual stems from Ancient Ireland as far back as 7000 BCE in Celtic traditions. It is where two hands are grasping with ribbons or braided cords tied around, signifying their engagement. If you've ever seen Outlander, it's shown in it, but I don't want to give away any spoilers! I highly suggest a binge fest with your partner, it's basically Game of Thrones, but more romantic.


Northwoods Witchery

Photo by: Crunch Photo MN

Venue: Sitio Weddings & Events - Esko, MN


Spell Jar

My friend Jeska from Jeska Jane Photography had such an original union ceremony by creating a spell jar. After their vows, with the help of their two kids (which was adorable!) blended different herbs that had intention and significance to their union. For example, lavender means peace. Imagine the possibilities and a great positive intention to start your forever.


"We added a bunch of herbs that have significance in our relationship and made a jar full of them. The jar is displayed by our wedding photos." – Jeska Jane Photography

The signing of the marriage license

Traditionally, the maid of honor and best man would act as witnesses and sign the marriage license after the ceremony is complete. Every county is different (make sure to look at which county the ceremony is being performed, not where you live), but in St. Louis County in Duluth, there are four witness lines on a marriage license. This doesn't have to be someone in your wedding party, we've had couples that include their fathers, grandparents, or someone important to their story. It's a great way to solidify the marriage with everyone as a witness.


Cathy Holman

Photo by: Angela Jo Photo

Venue: Pike Lake Golf and Beach Club

Sand ceremony

Incorporating earth elements like sand is a beautiful and unique way to unify your ceremony. Living in the land of 10,000+ lakes, sand is a great way to bring in different settings of your love story. Our couple Alana and Zach had different sand from her family's cabin, a trip to Mexico, and of course sand from Lake Superior - but from different regions of the lake which was super cool!


Just a thing to be aware of, this ceremony can take a bit longer than you'd expect. Pick a vessel with a wide opening so you can pour quickly.


Private vows

Want something more intimate? Schedule a time to sneak away and say your vows privately. Feel free to make it as official as you'd like, invite only your photographer, and schedule it during your first look, better yet have your officiant there and make it super official. Use this time to make it just about the two of you.



Need more great tips to make your day personal to you?


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