Oathing Stone Wedding Ritual

by Jennifer Cram Brisbane Marriage Celebrant  © (26/07/2019)
Categories: | Scottish Weddings  | Wedding Ceremony | Wedding Rituals
previous    |     contents     |    next  >

Cream heart-shaped oathing stone in white
                    organza bagThe Oathing Stone is an ancient ritual from Celtic Britain. Ancient Celts were intimately tied to the spirit of place, so important oaths were made in specific ways and at specific and sacred places, often associated with ancestors. So having a connection with, and perceived blessing from, such places was regarded to be a very important part of any new venture, marriage in particular.

It is from this practice that the ritual of the Oathing Stone, stems. The belief that a vow/oath made over a stone permeates the stone, helping you integrate the wisdom of the past into the start of your new life together and making the oath eternal and unbreakable, can add a deeply meaningful symbol to your wedding.

It can be used as an addition to the rings, or a substitute for them.  Way back in the early days of convict settlement in Australia, the use of stones was a commonplace substitute for rings that were not available or not affordable. Nowadays, I always carry a heart-shaped stone as a backup in case the couple's rings have been forgotten, or, more commonly, ordered online but haven't arrived. [NB Wedding rings are not a legal requirement - see below for more about that]

Boulder opalOf course, if you are marrying in your own garden, you can choose to use a great big decorative rock that will remain a permanent feature of the garden. Or, if marrying at a wedding venue, or public space and therefore planning on holding the stone, you can use geode, a decorative stone, a piece of boulder opal, or a stone from a favourite place (being mindful, of course, of the environmental issues of collecting stones in National Parks). Blue Agate Geode
                    BookendsYou might even consider a pair of blue agate geode bookends - small enough to hold both together, but adding an extra symbolism of retaining your own identity within the marriage.

Most couples choose to keep their oathing stone. But returning it to the natural environment where it could act as a mediator or bridge between the marrying couple and the spirit energies was part of the Celtic belief often incorporated in convict weddings, where the stone would be thrown into water - lake, river, or sea, at the end of the ceremony.

Over centuries, the meaning of the oathing stone has subtly changed, so it is now regarded more as a charm for luck, prosperity, and success of the marriage.

You simply hold it between your joined hands as you make your vows. We then display it on the signing table when you sign the marriage registers and certificates, and then you take it away with you to display with your wedding photos - and perhaps to pass down to your children to be used in their weddings.

If used as a substitute for rings, the stone can be passed around your guests in the same way as a ring warming is done.

Wedding Rings - Not a Legal Requirement


Yes, it is true. You do not have to exchange rings for your marriage to be legal!  Way back in the 19th century, the church required the bride to be given a ring. Hence all the stories of 19th century elopements where the couple stole away in the dead of night (ladders against upstairs windows!) to marry in secret and were forced to use a brass curtain ring!

"With this ring, I thee wed", is not a legal requirement. So you don't have to have rings! If you've planned to exchange rings and someone forgot to bring them, or you ordered them online and they didn't arrive in time, you can just omit the ring vows, exchange rings just before you cut your cake at the reception (if someone has managed to find the rings and bring them to you), or you can use an oathing stone. Whatever happens you will need a celebrant who is prepared for all eventualities, has a creative approach to problem-solving, and a strong belief in the importance of symbols.

That's when you need me!

Did you enjoy reading this post? Let's talk about how we can make your dream wedding a reality.

Jenny xxx Let's talk
                        soon about how you can have the best ceremony
< previous    |    contents    |    next   |   get in touch >