Ceremony of the Roses: Symbolic Exchange of Love in Weddings

Some ceremonies I have done have included the “ Ceremony of the Roses” in which couple exchanged roses as a symbol of love. All flowers have symbolic significance but the rose is the symbol of love and was included in ceremonies of a bygone age.

There are several variations of the rose ceremony in which roses are exchanged by the bride and groom. In a recent ceremony I conducted the couple exchanged a white and a red rose each.

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The white rose, I said, was a “symbol of your larger understandings, of your spiritual nature and your spiritual truth… standing for the purity of your real and highest self and the purity of God’s love…”

The red rose, I said was a “symbol of your individual understandings of earthly things, that you both know and agree how life will be with you in bodily form and within the physical structure called marriage. Give these roses now to each other as a symbol of your sharing of these agreements and understandings with love.”

Of course you don’t have to say these words, or any words at all.

The roses can be exchanged before or after the rings are exchanged – or at any time where it would be most meaningful and smoothly fit.

A vase of water, symbol of life, can be provided for the roses after they are exchanged; the rings can be tied to the stems of the roses.

As part of the ceremony you could suggest that roses be a symbol of love, conciliation or apology at times when words fail to heal in difficult or challenging times ahead.

As with all these rituals, nothing is binding – you can make up your own!

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