Wine Ceremonies

Through the centuries and across many cultures, wine has been a part of the wedding tradition. In scripture, the first of Jesus’ miracles was the changing of water into wine during a wedding celebration. A wine ritual can be included in wedding ceremonies to accomplish several purposes. At the beginning of a ceremony, it can involve parents and signify the uniting of two families. Placed later in the ceremony, like Sand or Unity Candle ceremonies, a wine ceremony may symbolize the blending of two lives into one. By blending sweet and dry wines together, it can be used to symbolize the marriage bond that persists in times and joy and in sorrow. Regardless of how a couple chooses to use wine, it can add a touch of elegance to the moment.

1. The Blending of Two Families

The Wine Ceremony with Parents module usually comes near the beginning of the ceremony, just after the officiant’s welcoming statements and introduction to the ceremony. It can be modified as needed to adapt to various family configurations, including step parents and grandparents as appropriate.

Each set of parents selects a bottle of fine wine to bring to the ceremony. They join the bride and groom at the front. The fathers uncork the bottles. The mother of the bride pours a glass for the groom and for herself and her husband. At the same time, the mother of the groom pours a glass for the bride and for herself and her husband.

Minister: A good wine, like a good marriage, is the result of many years of hard work. There is the unhurried nurturing of the vine and tender care of the grape, thoughtful mix of ingredients, patient fermenting — yielding the unique flavors of each passing year.

This wedding represents a blending of two families, the (Family Name)s and the (Family Name)s, separate until now, but united from this day forward. The traditions of both families have grown through time, maturing and mellowing like fine aged wine, eventually to be shared with those most precious to us. Today the character of each family is enriched as the vines of both family vineyards now extend and cross to create a wonderful new varietal.

{To Groom’s parents)

(Mother’s Name & Father’s Name), do you offer this couple your goodwill? And do you toast (Bride) in welcome as a member of your family and give her your love and affection?

PARENTS: We do.

(Groom’s parents tap glasses with and sip a toast with the bride.)

{To Bride’s parents)

(Mother’s Name & Father’s Name), do you offer this couple your goodwill? And do you toast (Groom) in welcome as a member of your family and give him your love and affection?

PARENTS: We do.

(Bride’s parents tap glasses with and sip a toast with the groom.)

To the bountiful harvest of their life together. And may this toast symbolize for all how sharing the partnership of marriage not only doubles the sweetness of life, but also lightens the burden of its bitterness by half.
(All tap glasses around and sip a toast with bride and groom. The parents are seated, and the wedding ceremony continues.)


 

2. The Blending of Two Lives

wine ceremonyBefore the wedding begins, red wine and white wine, each in a small carafe, are placed next to a larger empty carafe with one or two wineglasses on a small table near the couple. The center carafe, called the “Marriage Carafe” is usually a bit larger than the two outside “individual” carafes. The Wine ceremony usually takes place after the ring exchange. Music during the wine ceremony can add a nice touch, but is always optional.

Dr. Leininger:

To symbolize and celebrate the blending of your two lives into one, I invite you to perform the Wine Ceremony.

The couple proceeds to the table and each takes an individual carafe and pours some wine into the larger carafe. The Groom then takes the larger filled carafe with the combined wine and pours some in a glass for the Bride.

The Bride then takes the larger carafe with the combined wines and pours some into a glass for the Groom. He may now toast his Bride with,

“Now our lives are one” or “To our life together” or “To us” and drinks from the glass.

The Bride then toasts the Groom with the same.

They place the wine glasses back and turn back to the minister, who states:

This ceremony represents your two individual lives, combined like the two wines into one single life. The drinking of the combined wine signifies the commitment you now make to live your lives as one family. May you remember this day of commitment you have sealed with drinking of the new wine joining your lives as one.


 

3. The Fruits of Creation

In this wine ceremony, a single glass of rose wine is placed on a table, from which both the Bride and Groom will both drink after the reading.

In this glass are the fruits of Creation, Mankind and Mother Earth. The years of our lives are like a cup of wine that is poured out for the sake of labor, honor and love. Many days you will sit at the same table and eat and drink together. Many are the experiences you will share.

As with a glass of wine, one of you may find it sweet, the other perhaps dry or somehow different. Let the drink you share today serve as a reminder that although you may perceive things very differently, being right is never more important than being happy. With this space that you give each other, always putting your commitment to love and honor one another first, your lives together will grow deeper, richer and greatly satisfying, like a rare and fine wine.

Couple gives each other a drink from the same glass.


 

wine ceremony

4. The Bitter and The Sweet

A wine ceremony can be used to symbolize the marriage bond that persists in times and joy and in sorrow. Prior to the wedding ceremony, two goblets of wine are placed on a small table. One contains sweet wine, the other dry. At an appropriate time in the service, the pastor invites the couple to stand behind this table facing the people and says the following:

It is the goal of marriage to achieve a blending of hearts and lives—but let there be spaces in your new life together, so that each may encourage and nurture the individual growth of the other. Even so, your separate lives will become one life; your separate homes, one home, your separate fortunes, one fortune.

Over the horizon of the future, there comes toward you even now, hours of brightness and hours of shadow, for such is the nature of life.

Pick up the goblet of sweet wine.

Life has, indeed, many bright and happy experiences, of which this sweet wine is a token. As you drink of it together, may it serve as a symbol of the joy that comes with loving and sharing, and may your happiness be tempered with gratitude and modesty and a bountiful sympathy for those who are less fortunate than you.

Pass goblet to partner #1, who drinks and passes it to partner #2, who drinks and passes it back to the minister. He returns that goblet to the table and picks up the goblet of dry wine.

But when hardship and sorrow and disappointment come, of which this bitter wine is a token, may you care enough to help one another with courage and compassion, neither one blaming the other for folly or failure, or regretting the obligation of marriage to share and bear together the chances and changes of a life deeply lived.

The goblet is passed as above.


 

5. The Bitter and The Sweet

As above, two goblets are prepared, one sweet, one dry. At the appropriate moment, the pastor invites the couple to stand behind this table facing the people and says the following:

In Scripture, wine has rich symbolic meaning. In the Old Testament, wine, along with flour for baking and oil for cooking, represents the good, blessed life under God’s loving care. In the New Testament, wine represents Christ’s miracle at Cana as well as the new life that needs to be poured into new Christian lifestyles. The taste of this wine is sweet and fit for a “joyful heart” (Eccl. 9:7).

Wine also represents the dark side of life. The Scriptures have many warnings about the misuse of wine. The psalmist calls the circumstances that bring us down and humble us “a cup in the hand of the Lord full of foaming wine mixed with spices”

(Ps. 75:8). In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was asked to drink from that cup. The taste of this wine is bitter and fit for “those who are in anguish” (Prov. 31:6).

With eyes wide open to all that life brings, from wonderful experiences that leave you breathless to terrible experiences that leave you short of breath, and everything in between, I invite both of you to drink from the sweet and the bitter wines before you today.

Both drink from the same chalice before setting it down and drinking from the next. Theose gathered see them drink, reflect, and pass the cup to each other.

With this symbol, you have declared before the Lord and all who are gathered here that you will remain faithful to each other in sickness and in health, for better or worse, whether your hearts are glad or sad. We praise God for your commitment and promises to each other.


 

6. The Bitter and The Sweet

Bride and groom pour wine from two different carafes into a single cup and share the wine as the minister speaks.

N. and N., into this cup has been poured both sweet and sour wine. The sweet is said to be the joy of life, the bitter is said to be the sorrow of life. As these two wines have been mixed in this cup, so will the joy and sorrow be mixed in your life. As you drink from this cup, remember that as you share your lives, you will also share the joys and sorrows that come to one or both of you, each in their turn. As you together partake in this cup of wine, remember that your union is meant to strengthen you in the sorrowful times and that from one another you may draw contentment, comfort and joy from the cup of life. Thereby may you find life’s joy doubly gladdened , it’s bitterness sweetened and all things allowed by true companionship and love.