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Plan A Spiritual Wedding

by Anne Wycoff

It is the human spirit that drives us to seek out places of seclusion, spirituality, and tradition. We tend to want to honor the past, to envelop it with a visit. Once we have experienced such a place, it is entwined into our memories forever with smell, sight, sound, taste, and touch. The ambiance or spirituality of your wedding comes down to the old real estate adage: Location, location, location and whether you are planning a traditional ceremony or spur of the moment wedding celebration, it is the place after all that will reflect the spirit of your wedding. From secluded Redwood Mountain Meadows in California, the magical Celtic delight of a castle in Ireland, to the tropical rain forest, Buddhist temples and picturesque beaches of Thailand, choosing a spiritual place that reflects the art, diverse culture and history, as well as awe-inspiring palate of your senses, is one of the most important tasks in planning your wedding. The following are some of the worlds most divine spots to create your wedding day as the spiritual experience it is meant to be.

Before jumping aboard that plane, train or automobile, here are some ideas for passports to your success.

First: Check to see what the latest travel restrictions are for that country.

Second: Remember it takes about three to six months to receive a passport.

Third: Request in writing from the Countries registrar what paperwork and documents you and your guests will need for the wedding ceremony.

Last but not least: Get specific guest restrictions and accommodations from the hotel you will be staying at.

Ayers Rock Resort, Australia

Located in the heart of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Ayers Rock resort offers a timeless experience for even the most novice of travelers. Five resort hotels located within its fantastic historical site, Ayers Rock Resort gives the guests several options and activities for their stay. Whether you want to experience a camel ride, indulge in an archeological dig or savor the journey of a safari, Ayers Rock Resort has it all with five-star accommodations, dining and spa services.  Ayers Rock Resort, Australia

Judenplatz, Vienna, Austria

A pilgrimage to the sordid past with a romantic twist. In the heart of the Jewish ghetto of the 13th and 15th centuries, Judenplatz is the central sacred grounds of a Jewish museum, Holocaust memorial, statue of Jewish Playwright Lessing and a Medieval Synagogue excavation. Schonbrunn Palace offers the wedding of your dreams and the experience of Judenplatz you will never forget. 

Andean mythology dictates that Lake Titicaca, Bolivia holds the sacred beginnings of the Incan empire. Walking among the ruins of Sullistani, Kayaking along Uros floating islands or bird watching at Titicaca reserve gives you a real awakening of South American past. The Hotel Libertador Lago Titicaca Puno provides five-star resort accommodations while keeping in time with the history and spirit of this sacred place. 

Hotel Libertador Lago Titicaca Puno 

Spiritually speaking, visiting the only surviving ancient wonder of the world, Egypt’s pyramids in Giza, gives one not only a sense of mystery and wonder but also a question of earth origin. For years, New age followers have been visiting the pyramids of Giza, wondering, learning and absorbing. Tour the great pyramids, Khufu and Khare, the great Sphinx, the pyramid Menkaure and the mortuary. Trek to St. Catherine’s Monastery at Mount Sinai on camel back and swim in the Nile. The Four Seasons Hotel in Cairo offers five-star resort accommodations overlooking the Pyramids.

Luminescent ocean views, beach picnics, and relaxing moonlit walks designate Turtle Island, Fiji as one of our best picks for a spiritual destination. Guests can enjoy a rebirth of body and soul at this jewel of the Fiji islands. Known for the location of the movie, Blue Lagoon, the romantic spirit in you will enjoy the five-star resort amenities including snorkel and dive tours, horseback rides, hiking and full-service accommodations including spas and massages.   

The snowy bluffs and ice bergs give way to the silence of the icy north, enabling you to sift through your thoughts and prayers. Llullissat, Greenland is at the top of the world and offers magnificent activities and views of this icy tundra. Ride a dog sled, trek across a glacier, visit the Inuit village and explore the fjords all while enjoying the five-star treatment of Hotel Arctic.

Crom Castle, a hauntingly beautiful place, boasts of Ireland’s flawless beauty and breathtaking wonder of this timeworn land. Walk about the two-thousand-acre wonder of Crom Castle ruins, lush green grounds and opaque, winding waters of the upper Lough Erne. Weddings at Crom Castle invite up to thirty-five guests who may enjoy the grounds and garden of the Earl and Countess of Erne, Crom Castle.

Step back to the time of Christ as you walk to the Nativity church and Manger square from the Jacir Palace Ice hotel, Bethlehem. The Jacir Palac is a five-star luxury hotel right in the center of all the ancient sites, sounds and attractions of the Holy land. Strolling along the open market places of the old town, visiting Rachels Tomb, Solomons pools, Mosque of Omar and Milk Grotto Chapel gives meaning to the four corners of the spiritual world, Christian, Islam, Judaism and Muslim. The Jacir Palace Hotel 

Traveling to Jerusalem you can walk in the footsteps of Christ as you visit the future battle of Armageddon hills of Megiddo, Sea of Galilee, wade in the waters of the river Jordan, Golgatha, Wailing wall and overlook the panoramic views of Jerusalem from the Mt. Of Olives.

The David Citadel Hotel offers guests presidential accommodations and fantastic views.

Celebrate the architecture, art, culture and ancient history in Kathmandu, Nepal, India. Step back in awe as you view Boudhanath, the largest stupa of the world tour the Bagmati river, where many Hindus have taken the journey to their next life and stroll the streets of nearby Patan, famous art city of Nepal. Hindu weddings are available for diverse cultures. Stay at the fantastic Hyatt Regency resort where modern day luxury meets old-world charm. Hyatt Regency 

Machu Picchu, Peru is one of the most beloved spiritual pilgrimages of ancient and modern man. The lost city of the Incas is known for its elevated views, architectural feat and newly appointed seven wonders of the world status. The Sacred Valley is a must see with its fruitful plains and views. Through the mountains of Cuzco, the Inca trail cuts through the jungle up the steep incline to the spiritual destination of Machu Picchu. Boasting of high-end resort amenities, fantastic dining and tour experiences, the Cuzco Hotel, Monasterio is a must on your spiritual journey to Peru. 

Walk in the romantic footsteps of the characters Anna and the King from The King and I, through the ancient city and countryside of Siam, Thailand. Visit picturesque temples and wade in the waterfalls of Mae Sa and Mae Ya of Mae Tho National park. A city of proud culture and colorful history, Siam offers a spiritual journey into the Buddhist mind, body, and heart. Enjoy five-star luxury dining and accommodations and then step into the distant past while trekking through lush jungles, native animal viewing, and tropical rain forests. The world renowned Siam City Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand gives all the amenities for wedding parties and their guests in addition to fantastic tours for your romantic and spiritual journey. 

Walk in the spirit of Mexican, Spanish and Native American pioneers and warriors as you visit the mysterious and inspiring Santa Fe and Sedona New Mexico, United States. Experience the west at it’s best with Grand Canyon vistas, Rock formations, aspiring cacti, and wildlife. Ride Horses and visit native lands and people, as you trek to the Grand Canyon past marbled-grooved rock and soaring Eagles. Though the West was won with rough and tumble attitudes, the Hacienda Del Cerezo gives guests the five-star treatment complete with healing massage therapy, aroma spas, and luxurious pools.

The native American Spirit of North America is preserved in Yosemite, California, United States. Artist Ansel Adams and writer John Muir depict Yosemite as one of the worlds most spiritually beautiful places on earth. The3000 foot angling force of El Capitan and spectacular scenery of Ribbon, Bridalveil and Cathedral Rocks waterfalls give you a celestial feel and invigorate your spirit. Placing your soul in the hands of the stewards of the Ahwahnee Lodge in Yosemite, California will enable you to enjoy the great wonders of this amazing, National park. 

Sources: Church search engine

Sacred Destinations

Copyright, Anne Wycoff, June, 2000

Church Wedding Ideas & Tips             TEMPLES & Synagogue Tips & Ideas

You could spend five days calling all the churches in your area to find out if they will marry non-members, a mixed religious couple or a same sex couple.  In our searches, we have found these specific churches accept the above.  This too depends on the area you live in.  There are more restrictions in the Southern Region Churches of the USA.

1. First United Methodist Churches will marry non-members and mixed religion couples with their selected ministers.

2. Presbyterian Churches will marry non-members, mixed religion couples, and same sex couples.

3. Christian Science Churches will do all three of the above.

4. State Run Parks for California Missions, Estates & Former Church Historical Properties.

5.  Most private wedding chapels throughout the nation.

                                  CHAPEL & CHURCH WEDDINGS

Often the wedding chapel is a smaller venue with little or no reception room.  Some do have lovely gardens and lawns. Most generally give you a list of local wedding and party services.  

1.  The Large church often has a wedding hostess or manager and often an organist and soloist recommendations. They often provide you with a list of vendors the church will work with. The wedding hostess shows the church/hall and the items that go with it from the church cupboard.  they open the hall/kitchen/sanctuary for delivery, go over the policy, accepts the payments, assists with rehearsal procedure and operate the lighting, air conditioning, and door opening.  They make certain the church clean up is done properly.  

2.  Most large churches have a reception hall.  Question if the hall fits the number of your ceremony guests and if they allow alcoholic beverages and how long these are available to you.

3. Churches and ministers serving at off-church environments can have premarital class requirements,  dress requirements, (ask if they allow off the shoulder dresses or strapless before you purchase.)

4.  Some churches have strong rules about:

  • attaching flowers or ribbons to the end aisle pews
  • where photographers and videographers may move during the ceremony
  • drinking on the premises
  • if Catholic, do you have to include a mass or specific rituals
  • including dance, narratives, music in the ceremony
  • use of rice, confetti, bird seed, etc for throwing at the couple

Hindu      Weddings

Hindu wedding is called a Vivaha Sanskar in North India and Kalyanam in the South India.  Colorful and filled with pageantry, amazing food, bejeweled brides, and grooms hosting several days of celebration.   Held in Hindu Temples or large halls. 

a. Arranged marriages, Matchmakings and Dowieries are all part of the Hindu wedding.

b. Caste, Culture, Horoscope Matching and Religion are the most important ingredient in couple selections for marriage.

c. The girl and her family are scrutinized as they meet to determine her accomplishments and demeanor.


Takes place inside a canopy called a mandap. The bride is sometimes painted in elaborate Mendhi or henna designs covering her hands and feet before the ceremonies begin.

a.  The groom arrives:  Vara Yatra. He is greeted a family, friends with music and dance.

b  The first words:  An invocation to Lord Ganesh, or Ganesha, the Hindu god of wisdom and salvation. 

c. Blessings are received from each planet for the new couple's life together.

d. The parent gives the bride in marriage and the ceremony of feet washing with milk and water begins.

e.  Hastamilap is the ceremony that centers on the joining of the bride and groom's hands. 

f.  With the family making contributions to the circle of fire the ceremony begins with the bride and groom seated in front of a holy fire, or agni, as a priest recites various mantras from the Holy Scriptures. In Hinduism, fire is regarded as a purifier and a sustainer of life. In a ritual called mangalfera.  the bride and groom walk around the fire four times (each a symbol of the four ashrams of life), praying and exchanging vows of duty, love, fidelity, and respect.

g.  The ritual called saptapadi is for the bride and groom. They take seven vows, sealing the marriage. These vows are traditionally spoken in Sanskrit and are one of the most ancient aspects of the Hindu ceremony. The vows validate the marriage; no ceremony is complete without them.

          Buddhist Weddings

Buddhist religion makes no demands of couples for a number of children to have, nor celibacy for monks.  

1.  Often the parents or the son selects the bride for the groom.

2.  The Nangchang (engagement) is presided over by a lama or rimpoche.

3.  The wedding dress is a Hanju  and the groom's attire

4.  The couple takes a blessing from monks at the local temple after the civil registration formalities have been completed.

5.  In front of the shrine of Lord Buddha all set up with candles and flowers, boy and the girl and others would recite the Tisarana, Pancasila and the Vandana in either English or Pali.

* The boy and the girl are asked to light the candles and incense sticks. Then they offer flowers to the image of Buddha and around it.

* After this, the bride and the groom must recite in turn, the vows that are prescribed for each of them in the Sigilovdda Sutta (Digha Nikilya)

Vow for the groom & the Groom:

 "Towards my wife, I undertake to love and respect her, be kind and considerate, be faithful, delegate domestic management, provide gifts to please her."

 Vow for the bride: 

"Towards my husband, I undertake to perform my household duties efficiently, be hospitable to my in-laws and friends of my husband, be faithful, protect and invest our earnings, discharge my responsibilities lovingly and conscientiously."

* At the end, only the parents or the assembly would recite the Mangala Sutta and Jayamangala Gatha to offer their blessings for the couple. 

Wikipedia Ethnic Wedding Customs - by country

Sunnie Islam and Shai Islam Weddings

The way that a Shia and Sunni marriage is solemnized differs greatly.

Read more: A couple with a Shia and a Suni are allowed to marry because they are considered both Muslims.

Difference Between Shia and Sunni Marriage.

In a Sunni wedding function, it is vital to have two adult consenting males present for the entire length of the ceremony as witnesses. 

a. A Sunni Nikah ceremony thus has a shorter length of time

b. Sunnis believe in entering into a permanent form of marriage only.

The  Shia wedding is completely different as in this case where the witnesses are mandated to be present in the case of the couple's divorce, and not when the wedding takes place.

a. Shia nikah ceremony, a total of six verses have to be delivered publicly.

b. The Shia have a pre wedding bathing ritual.

c.  Shias believe in a temporary arrangement of marriage. According to such an arrangement, it is lawful for the bride and groom to enter into a marriage for a pre-agreed length of time.

1.  The legal wedding proposal - Nikah ceremony, in which the groom or his representative proposes to the bride in front of at least two witnesses, stating the details of the Meher. The bride and groom demonstrate their free will by repeating the words ...

qabul ("I accept," in Arabic) three times.

Muslim Indian Marriages & Weddings

1.  Most Muslim marriages are not performed in the mosques.

2.  A Meher - Is the amount the groom will give the bride.

3.  The gift can be money, land, jewelry, or education fees.

4.  Reciting of the   Fatihah -- the first chapter of the Quran -- and Durud (blessings).  The officiant or the couple may recite this.

5. According to the teachings of the Quran, a married Muslim couple is equated with clothing. Within this context, both husband and wife are each other’s protector and comforter, just as real garments “show and conceal” the body of human beings. Thus, they are meant “for one another”.

 The Quran continues to discuss the matter of marriage and states, "And among His Signs is this, that he created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your [hearts]

 Marriages within the Muslim community are incredibly important. The purpose of marriage in Islamic culture is to preserve the religion through the creation of a family. The family is meant to be “productive and constructive, helping and encouraging one another to be good and righteous, and competing with one another in good works”

Jewish Weddings &  Synagogue Weddings

by Judith Rivers-Moore, The WeddingLinks Coach

1.  Setting the wedding date can be tricky for the Jewish couple.  Please check the sundown to sundown date to the secular date....before you write the Save the Date or Wedding Invitations.

2. If your ceremony is in a Synagogue, the chuppah, kippahs, and other ceremony trappings are often provided.  You can rent them.

2.  Whether one or both of you are Jewish, a couple can use a good vocabulary list for the various parts of a Jewish Style wedding celebration:   Some are for Orthodox Jews & may not be included

  • Wedding Rings - non-stoned, unbroken circle of gold
  • Aufruf - Torah morning service 1 week prior to wedding
  • Ketubah - marriage contract
  • Kabbalat Panim  - separate ceremony prior to wedding
  • Bedeken - wedding veil ceremony
  • Chuppah or Huppah - marriage ceremony canopy
  • Mikvah - purifying bath -  both
  • Hebrew - some words in the ceremony are repeated after the Rabbi 

These wedding ceremony items do not occur in a traditional Jewish ceremony:

  • giving away the bride
  • vows
  • "I do"
  • unity ceremonies
  • readings
  • speeches (except the rabbi) discuss his options plan
  • live or recorded music (except for processional and recessional)
  • "I now pronounce you man and wife"
  • "you may kiss the bride"
  • will you love honor and obey - the word obey is substituted with love honor and respond

Thought you might like to see some of these creative Jewish wedding ideas  on Pinterest