Have you ever heard the expression, “etched in stone?” When we use those words, we convey both our good faith and our intention that what is being referenced is meant to last for a very very long time!
The couple place their hands upon a stone, or hold a stone, while saying their marriage vows. Scots in days past considered swearing on a stone to be the best way to express sincerity when making a solemn pledge. The Stone of Scone, or what the English refer to as the Coronation Stone, has been used for centuries in the coronation of the monarchs of Scotland and later the monarchs of Great Britain. Couples today typically use much smaller and lighter stones than this one for their weddings, unless they have access to a stone altar.
Couples who opt for this tradition can use special stones engraved with their names and wedding date. They make wonderful mementos of the wedding. Stones used for oathing range in size: a stone that fits in the palm of the hand, a stone heavy enough to require both hold it at the same time, or a stone so large it cannot be lifted. In the latter case, the couple places their hands upon the stone rather than holding it of course. The larger stones would be lovely to place in a garden while the smaller ones could be displayed in a special case within the home. The officiant may say a few words before the vows to explain the tradition to the guests or the couple can simply use the stones with no reference made to them whatsoever.
Guests can be included in the ritual by giving each a stone to hold in their hands during the ceremony. Additional meaning can be imbued into the stones by including a Communal Declaration of Support in which the guests pledge to uphold the couple in being steadfast in the promises they have made. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the guests place their stones in a keepsake container for the couple to place in their home.
Communal Declaration of Support
Today, (couple's names), who began on separate paths, have been joined as one. You, their family and friends are a community of support surrounding (couple). Each of you, by your presence here today, is being called upon to uphold them in loving each other. I ask that you always stand beside them, never between them. Offer them your love and your support and refrain from judgment. Encourage them when encouragement is needed and listen carefully when they seek your advice. In these ways, you can honor this marriage. Therefore I ask, now that you have heard (couple) exchange their marriage vows, do you, their family and friends, promise from this day forward, to encourage them and love them, and to help guide and support them in being steadfast in the promises they have made?” If you agree, please say, “We do.”