Wishing stones can be used as an alternative to a guestbook, or they can be used as part of the ceremony. It is a relatively inexpensive way of including your guests and adding a personal element to your big day.
Wishing Stone Guestbook: You can simply leave some stones (and a suitable pen) somewhere convenient and add a sign asking your guests to write a message to you and sign a stone. After the wedding, you can find a suitable way of storing or displaying the stones.
Using One Wishing (or Oathing) Stone for the Vows: Exchanging wedding rings is a fairly modern trend. In ancient Celtic times, it was traditional for betrothed couples to swear an oath on a stone. It is argued that this is where wedding vows came from - and the phrase 'set in stone'. It is very simple, and striking, to incorporate this tradition into your ceremony. All that you need is a rock or stone. It doesn't get much easier!
To make it more personal, you may wish to use a stone that you have collected together from a special place and/or you may wish to engrave, or paint, it with your ceremony date and your names or initials.
Before the beginning of the ceremony, your Celebrant will explain the significance of the stone and will ask your guests to pass it between them, and for them to silently make a wish, for your future, upon the stone. The idea is that the energy, love and good wishes that your guests have for you, and your future life, will be absorbed into the stone. Your Celebrant will try to ensure that the passing of the stone does not distract, or detract from, the rest of the ceremony. When it is time for you to make your vows, you will be asked to hold the stone together and make your promises.
Example words, prior to the exchange of vows:
"Family and friends, ... and ... will now make their own vows using the Celtic tradition of the oathing stone.
Can I please ask ... to come forward with the stone.
For those of you not familiar with this ancient tradition it is when the couple either hold
or put their hands together on a stone as they repeat their vows,
as an oath given near a stone or water was considered to be more binding.
Some believe that it is where the phrase 'set in stone' comes from."
Using Many Wishing Stones
Another alternative, that works very well, is for the couple and guests to each be given a stone at the beginning of the ceremony and they are asked to hold it.
Towards the end of the ceremony your Celebrant may say words similar to these:
Example words, perhaps following the exchange of vows:
"Before you met, your lives were on different paths with different destinations.
But love has brought you together and joined these separate paths into one.
Each one of your friends and family, here today, have been given a small stone that represents their unique individuality and their presence at your wedding today.
... and ..., you also each have a stone of that symbolises your previous separate lives,
separate sets of friends, separate families and the different journeys that you once travelled through life.
I will now ask that everyone takes the stone that you have been given and you pause to make a wish,
or blessing for happiness, for our couple and for the future of their union"
After a short time, your Celebrant, or nominated guest, will hold out a suitable container and may say:
"We will now collect the stones and our couple will also add theirs.
With the combining of these stones, you have now symbolically joined your once separate lives.
These stones and the love and good wishes that they represent are combined into one container along with the invisible bond created here today.
Your once solitary life’s paths are also now one.
All that was once separate is now shared and in this sharing you both will find new strength and joy as together you forge a new life’s path."
In Celtic ceremonies, after use, stones were returned to the elements. If you are having an outside ceremony you may wish to throw the stones into the sea, for a beach wedding; or place them at the foot of a tree, for a woodland ceremony. Or you may want to keep them, it really is up to you.
And finally, here is a lovely reading particularly suited to a ceremony including wishing/oathing stones...
Rock And Stone This is a story of a rock and a stone And a stream, and a rainfall, and not being alone. In the land of this tale, in a mountain's shadow Was a stream brisk and bending the swift water's flow.
On the bank of the stream, just beyond a great birch, Was a rock, strong and sturdy, holding back clay and dirt.
Just below with the edge of the stream as its home, Was a glimmering beauty, a shiny smooth stone.
To the rock, with its pride of supporting the earth, A stone was not useful: it was without worth. To the stone, with its beauty and lustering glory, A rock was not pleasing and belonged in a quarry.
Yet the fear of the rock and the stone were the same. Each dreaded the future, the day of great rain. The rock might be dislodged and roll to stream's bottom. The stone might be pushed into mud and forgotten.
The rainfall came quickly, as sometimes storms will, The rock was dislodged, it rolled down the hill.
Stopping not under water, and without one moan The rock came to rest upon the fine stone.
Stream became river; though waters enraged The stone was not pushed to a dark muddy grave. The rock safe yet wetted, the dirt now sprayed loose, Still formed the bank, still had a use.
As sunshine returned the river to stream Rock and stone together were seen. Saviour each was, and after that fright Each saw the other in a new light.
The rock saw the stone as a rock ever more, With beauty and strength supporting the shore.
The stone saw the rock as a stone from that day, With strength and beauty under robe of clay.
Together they stayed, more shiny and strong Than either had been by itself all along. The story is told; the message you see Is that you and I will be better as we.
Hi, I am Lorraine Hull, an award-winning Celebrant, based in Liverpool.
I am most usually asked to conduct ceremonies in North-West England and North Wales but I am happy to travel anywhere within the U.K. or abroad.
At the risk of shouting (and sounding extremely cheesy) "I LOVE MY JOB!".
I really love getting to know the couples and families that ask me to be part of their special celebration, whether that is for a Wedding/Civil Partnership, Renewal/Reaffirmation of Vows, Naming/Welcoming, or Celebration of Life/Funeral
I love hearing, writing and telling love and life stories (and also finding out about hopes and dreams - which are the stories of the future!)
I love to create and conduct unique, meaningful, non-religious ceremonies that are perfect for each couple, individual, and/or family.
I love helping to create and celebrate happy and poignant moments, which form memories that will last a lifetime (that also includes the memories that I get to keep too - what's not to love?)
I believe that ALL people (and animals) should all be treated kindly, fairly and with respect.
We are all unique and we all matter. I think for myself and act for others. I advocate anti-racism, the appreciation and celebration of diversity, justice, equity and equality for ALL through everything that I say and do: Love is Love, Family is Family, Life is Life.
You may also like to know that I am accredited by Humanists UK and a recommended LGBTQ+ Equality Weddings supplier. I hold Public Liability and Professional Indemnity insurance, I adhere to a strict code of conduct and I am committed to developing and sharing best practice with my Independent and Humanist Celebrant colleagues, so that we can all be the best Celebrants that we can possibly be.
To contact me please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 0744 932 3988