Using Marriage Padlocks as a Wedding Unity Ritual

Pont des Arts

Enchanted by the notion that the heart is like a lock that can only be opened with one key, and doubly smitten by the idea of locking their lives together for eternity, couples are coming up with creative ways to incorporate a love lock into their wedding festivities.

How to Use Marriage Padlocks in a Unity Ceremony

During the ceremony, have your celebrant explain the meaning of the love lock tradition, share why you chose this as your unity ritual and read a poem that represents the essence of the moment. There are several ways that you can update old traditions by adding the love lock.

Secure the Rings

To ensure your handsome little ring bearer does not drop the expensive bands, which is a bad omen in many cultures, slide the rings onto the padlock. A love lock is also the perfect accessory for a ring warming ceremony, which invites guests to pass around the bands so they can bless them with well wishes and prayers.

Wedding Time Capsule

You can also use the love lock to secure a wedding time capsule box. There are various ways to fill this wooden box, but typically it includes love letters penned by the bride and groom, as well as letters from all the parents expressing their wishes for the couple's future. Call it old fashioned, but nothing is better than a handwritten note.

Some couples create a ready-made date box that can be opened on a specified anniversary. Items might include wine, a copy of your first dance song or of your wedding video and other special mementos of your relationship. During the ceremony, the officiant can lock the letters in the box.

Tree of Life

Tapping into the beauty of the wedding tree unity ceremony, sells a Tree of Life art sculpture. When the bride and groom individually attach a lock to one of the branches, they are representing the "strength and commitment each other brings to the relationship" while parents attaching a lock symbolizes the supportive foundation the couple comes from.

The accompanying double heart shaped padlock is not equipped with a key so that couples can lock in their love forever. "As your life unfolds in its many directions, the branches will bear its celebrations of life to come," notes the LoveLocks website.

Cultural Honeymoon

Thousands of newlyweds have chosen to lock in their love at dozens of romantic places around the world while on their honeymoon. If visiting one of these cultural destinations is not in your plan, then check to see if your hometown has a designated area where you can permanently fasten the padlock.

There are some concerns about how rusting padlocks and keys can harm the environment, which has led several municipalities to remove or relocate locks, so make sure you choose your location wisely.

Toss or Keep the Keys

Traditionally, couples have tossed their keys over a bridge into the water, where there is no hope of retrieving it. In the spirit of ritual, you can bury the keys in a meaningful location, tie them to balloons or melt them in a bonfire.

However, due to sentimental value or environmental concerns, many couples are choosing to keep their keys as a special keepsake of their wedding day. The trend is for brides to string the keys onto a plain bracelet or necklace chain, which she then wears around her wrist during the ceremony. You can also give them to your mothers for safekeeping if you plan to lock a time capsule or add them to a shadowbox.

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