Symbolic Actions – what the heck are they?

So, Symbolic Actions….I love them – and so will you by the time you’ve read this!

In short, a symbolic action is an action you can include in your ceremony to acknowledge and symbolise something – whether that’s a person, a memory or an emotion/feeling. They add depth and meaning to your ceremony. There are many things that you may want to acknowledge and honour in your ceremony, many different actions you can choose from to symbolise them, and options for who you want to include in the action! 

Symbolic actions can be included in any ceremony – whether it’s the union of a couple, the joining of a blended family, the naming of a child, or acknowledging the loss/celebrating the life of someone special. 

You may think you don’t know any actions that would represent any of the things mentioned above, after all, symbolic actions aren’t talked about very often. But everyone knows one of the most popular traditions of wedding ceremonies, for example, is the exchange of rings…congratulations, you already know your first symbolic action! Many people think that the exchange of rings at wedding ceremonies is part of the legal marriage – but it’s not at all. It’s completely optional and although the majority of couples choose to exchange rings, you can just have one ring, or none at all.

The wedding ring is an unending circle of precious metal, symbolising the couple’s unending and precious love for each other. And there are other actions you could take with the rings too: before the rings are exchanged, they could be blessed by the guests and/or the celebrant (otherwise known as ring warming); or maybe the rings are presented to the bride and groom in a box or dish that has special significance. 

When you include symbolic actions in your ceremony, it is also really important that some beautifully crafted words are spoken to explain to everyone what the actions mean and why it is significant. 

Ever heard of a Sand ceremony? This is a wonderful way to bring a couple, or family together. Using different coloured sand, you can combine them to create a brand new, unique colour, and those grains of sand will forever be joined together, now inseparable – symbolising your unique and unbreakable bond. This is a great action to include at couple ceremonies and family/child ceremonies alike.

Other ways to make your symbolic actions even more poignant is to think about the colours or materials you use. In the Sand ceremony example, each individual taking part in the action could simply choose their favourite colour or maybe you’d like to incorporate colours that mean something specific to you. Different colours are said to have their own unique meanings so you could also make choices based on that. If you choose to plant a tree as a symbolic action , you can think about which type of tree, as they also have their own unique meanings and properties.

If you’ve got an idea of something you want to symbolise in your ceremony, or love the idea of a symbolic action but don’t know where to start – just get in touch ; You can sign up to the newsletter for ceremony  tips, advice and ideas on the homepage at ; Or follow/message me on Facebook or Instagram. Go on, I dare you! – find out what the possibilities could be for your ceremony!

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