Winter Solstice is the moment in the celestial calendar when our orbit takes us furthest from the Sun, leading to the Longest Night of the year.
It is also a wonderful time for a wedding. Here’s why…
Light of Love
Like most religious/cultural festivals taking place in the Winter time, Solstice is a celebration of the Sun and more specifically the returning Light. The days begin to grow longer (albeit slowly) and this is often celebrated with the lighting of candles.
Their are both practical and spiritual benefits to consciously incorporating light into your day. Light creates feelings of hope, comfort and of course beauty; it is a simple yet evocative way to affect the mood of your venue and your guests. From candles in glass jars to letters made of bright LED bulbs, there are options out there for all styles, budgets and venues.
Flames of Love
Want a space where your guests can gather to tell stories, laugh and share precious moments and memories? Consider having a fire-bowl or even a bonfire to call together those who enjoy the community feeling of a wedding.
As a bringer of light and a giver of warmth, fire has an important part to play in Winter Solstice celebrations. Some write wishes for the new year ahead and burn them in the flames, for luck. Others sit beside an open fire or flame all night, in vigil, to see the Longest Night come to its end.
A fire could be a gathering space at your wedding; a place for music and singing, for toasting marshmallows and campfire songs or even for making wishes and sharing memories.
However you choose to bring fire into the proceedings always be sure to do so safely and following all necessary rules and regulations!
Layers of Love
Is there anything more joyful than that feeling when you are snuggled up under layers of blankets, or inside your coat and scarf, to avoid Winter’s chill? Beneath your layers of warmth you feel safe, secure and downright blissful!
Encourage your guests to explore and enjoy the outdoor spaces at your wedding during Winter time; by providing all they need to generate this cosy feeling.
Soft, thick blankets and shawls are a great start; perhaps consider a basket of spare hats and gloves for those who might have forgotten theirs. Have hot drinks available as well as the usual prosecco and consider offering keep-warm cups so they can be taken outside. And how about some of those small hand-held heat packs for wedding favours? They can be activated by pressing them (similar to a glow stick) and could even be slipped inside a small, handmade cover is you’re feeling crafty.
And don’t forget yourself! Consider how your wedding attire might benefit from a fleece lined cloak, a pair of warm, winter boots and a warm scarf in beautiful, complimentary colours. Remember; if you look cosy and happy out there, your guests will be more than happy to join you!
Depths of Love
The Darkness is also celebrated at the Winter Solstice; yes it can intimidate, but it can also embrace and by turning our thoughts towards the gifts that darkness has to offer we can make best use of it during Winter time.
An imperfect ceremony space can be softened with shadows and lit to reflect the parts that we want or that are most important. Candlelight and other soft lighting choices create a magical atmosphere anywhere and can heighten the potency of vows, rituals and celebration alike.
It’s a good idea to create quiet spaces at all big events, but especially in Winter when people are likely to be more tired and stressed than usual. Light these places softly, allowing shadows as a refuge from the bright lights of a party, and consider keeping these space music-free; with books, simple games or even simple crafts to entertain the mind in a more relaxed way.
Rituals of Love
Symbolically, the Solstice honours endings and beginnings and the trust in and hope of the cycle of each year’s rebirth. This is a powerful energy to have running through any ceremony, particularly one of commitment.
You might want to honour endings by acknowledging the lives you have lived before and how they will no longer be the same. Some ideas include:
Extinguishing two candles; one for each of you.
Placing stones on the ground or in a bowl and covering them with a dark cloth
Lining the aisle with pictures/symbols of the journey to marriage before you enter
You can then embrace the new beginning awaiting you as a married couple by:
Lighting a new candle(s) together
Laying a white cloth over the dark cloth
Removing the past symbols and replacing them with symbols of hope and possibility, before walking back up the aisle together
Darkness also requires trust and trust is vitally important to any marriage and wedding ceremony. You could acknowledge this symbolically by:
Entering the space blindfolded, guided by loved ones; removing one another’s blindfolds when you are together.
Closing your eyes and listening to one another’s vows from that place of darkness and focus
Planting seeds and/or intentions in a pot of dark earth and trusting they will flower and come to fruition in the future.
The Winter may be dark and sometimes feel desolate, but there is so much joy and beauty to be found too! So don’t discount the Winter Solstice (or any day in Winter) as a possible wedding day… it might just be the best present you ever receive!