These rituals are best done at the end of a wedding ceremony and some of them specifically bring the ceremony to a close in the way they are written. They are a great way to transition from the solemnity of the vows to the celebratory atmosphere of a reception.
The Wish Upon a Shell ritual is designed for beach weddings for fairly obvious reasons, but something similar can be done in other venues using site appropriate items. There is no reason why stones cannot be lobbed into a river, pond or lake. I once adapted the ritual for a wedding in a botanical garden where the guests distributed pebbles through the park as they exited the grounds.
This ritual appeals to couples who want to share their appreciation of nature, like the symbolism that reflects the idea of a unified consciousness, or simply think the photos would be cool. It is a great transition into the introduction of the couple as well.
Officiant: At this time, I invite everyone to take your shell and hold it close to your heart. Think of the gifts (Bride and Groom) bring to one another and the beautiful potential that is their shared life together. Consider how you can encourage them and help guide and support them in being steadfast in the promises they have made. Make a wish or just think a special thought for their union.
In a moment, we will follow (Bride and Groom) to the shoreline where together we will toss our shells into the ocean. All our hopes and dreams will become one with all of Creation and join together the well wishes of all who are gathered here this day. For such selfless sharing magnifies a joy which knows no bounds.
<pause for private thoughts>
Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great honor I present to you for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. (Bride and Groom)!
The wording of the ritual depends upon whether the shells are given to the guests as they arrive, distributed at the time of the ritual or plucked out of a basket when the guests follow the couple to the shoreline. The version above assumes the guests have been holding the shells throughout the ceremony.
Some couples write their names and wedding date on the shells (or stones). If that is the case, this can certainly be mentioned within the ritual as well.
I quite often add a quick reminder to the couple and their guests that everyone should wait for the photographer’s cue to throw the shell. I do not include that in the ritual, but rather wait until the couple and any bridesmaids and groomsmen are behind the guests and it is time for the guests to stand and follow. It is an important instruction, but I feel it detracts a little from the beauty of the ritual within the context of the ceremony, so I do it after the recessional. Then I shoo them all down to the shoreline.
Photo Attribute: Shannon Perez of Florida Beachside Weddings