Hands up for being hands-on during your ceremony

I don’t know what it is about hands, but there is something really wonderful about watching couples’ hand gestures and movements during a ceremony. Watching them connect by holding hands and keeping each other comforted, relaxed and secure. And this is why I’m all for being ‘hands on’ during a ceremony.

At the start of a ceremony, if a bride has a bouquet I encourage her to get rid of it (in the nicest way!) as soon as possible, by either handing it to someone within her bridal party or putting it on the ceremony table. I do think it’s quite important for couples to have free hands during the ceremony, to be able to reach out to each other when needed, to give one another’s hand a little squeeze here or there, or simply to be able to hold hands during the ceremony. It’s nothing short of a beautiful, and an effective way for couples to communicate and express their love for each other at such a special time.

This is why I also love it when couples stand next to each other too, as I personally feel that it gives them a deeper connection because a) they are stood side by side and b) they can hold hands more naturally. I can honestly say that every couple I have married who has stood side by side, have always held hands during their ceremony and I love seeing it. It’s like the ultimate form of unity, in my eyes and couples who face each other too, can also achieve this connection.

I’ve also seen how nervous brides and grooms are instantly cured (well, almost) once they are able to hold or squeeze their loved ones’ hands and this really does make all of the difference. And just like with my own husband, sometimes all I need from him is a gentle touch/squeeze from his hand and instantly I feel better and know that we are in it together, whatever the ‘it’ is at that particular moment.

Some of my favourite wedding photos are of couples’ hands. I think photos like this say so much more than words ever could and for me the emotions are so tangible. Here is a mini selection of some of my faves.

Owen Farrell

I absolutely love how this couple held on to each other during their ceremony. 100% natural and relaxed. Photo by Owen Farrell

Andreas Holm Photography

I love everything about this photo by Andreas Holm Photography

Photo by Owen Farrell

Photo by Owen Farrell

Photo by Sheila Roberts Photography

So sweet! Photo by Sheila Roberts Photography

Gemma and James wedding

Being able to hold hands during your ceremony can be so beneficial in so many ways! Photo by Radka Horvath

Photo by Eloy Muñoz photography

Photo by Ulises Guerrero

Photo by Agata Jensen Photography

Photo by Ruth Blamire- Brown

Photo by Albert Pamies

Photo by Owen Farrell

Photos like these just make me feel so warm inside, to be able to see the beautiful connections that the couples have because they are able to be so close to each other during their ceremony and more importantly, physically connected.

I sat and watched the royal wedding, THE royal wedding, with the rest of the world, but rather than go gooey-eyed over it, I viewed it from the point of view of someone who is at weddings all of the time. Of course, it was lovely to see two sweet people get married and tie the knot, but I thought it was so sad that Prince William did not touch Kate Middleton’s hand once, apart from when he put the ring on her finger and vice versa. So cold and so unnatural.

They just kneeled side to side and hardly even looked at each other throughout the WHOLE ceremony. They clearly are a couple in love and it felt such a shame that their ceremony was so formal (stuffy) and so über traditional that it probably would have been inappropriate for them to hold or squeeze hands, and they probably felt that they couldn’t either. I suppose there’s also the fact that royals aren’t allowed to show affection publicly, which didn’t help either. What the fudge is that about? Thankfully, most of us aren’t royals!

My love of hands might also explain why the hand-fasting ritual is probably one of my favourite wedding rituals. I love that couples can face each other during the ceremony and to experience a deeper connection and deeper sense of unity whilst holding hands. And there is a beautiful hand blessing which can accompany the hand-fasting which I think is so touching and beautiful and really underlines the symbolism and power of our loved one’s touch.

These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever. These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future. These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through your years to come, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other. These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind. The hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow, and also, tears of joy. These are the hands that will hold your family together as one, the hands that will give you strength when you need it. And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.

Stunning, right?

So, I guess the point of all of my ramblings are that during your ceremony you should be as relaxed and comfortable as you wish, and if that means holding and squeezing hands and holding on to one another, then do it. Do whatever feels comfortable and whatever gives you that much needed connection to your love bunny during your special time together.

Sometimes couples ask me if it is okay to kiss during their ceremony, before being invited to kiss at the end of the ceremony, and I aways say ‘hell yes.’ You do as you wish. I have seen grooms go to kiss their love bunny, only to be told ‘not now!’ You should never feel like you can’t be yourself or express yourself during your ceremony. It is such an emotional event that it is more than natural to want to kiss or touch your partner during your ceremony. Okay, full on snogging, groping and bum-pinching maybe be a bit awkward for your guests and your celebrant, but the most important thing is to just be yourself and do as you please.

That’s all.

About the author

Natasha Johnson

Natasha Johnson is an experienced Wedding Celebrant, blogger and writer on all things related to weddings, in particular wedding ceremonies. Her mission is life is to encourage couples to see the importance of their wedding ceremony and to get married in just the way they want to. Make sure you catch her on the Engaged and Ready Wedding Podcast, here or on iTunes and Stitcher.

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