Ceremony | Wedding Rituals
The 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
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
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).
You 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
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
"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!
Thanks for reading!