Water Ceremony

New to the world of weddings…

      The Water Ceremony


This ceremony dynamically displays the manner in which a couple (represented by the colours) intermingles in a loving marriage creating new patterns of interaction that blend into something uniquely new and wonderful (a new blended hue).

As the ceremony progresses, gentle convection of the water causes the colours to move around each other in unique patterns until ultimately the two become one blended shade — symbolic for marriage..


  1. A large clear-sided, non-coloured tall glass or plastic vase at least 6 inches wide with the largest possible opening at the top. Sides must be vertical or flared slightly without constriction in the middle to permit colouring to slide down the inside wall of the vase without meeting in the middle. The best effect is achieved by the tallest and widest vase.
  2. Clear, room-temperature water
  3. Two very different bold colours of food colouring to suit each of the bride and groom – perhaps blue for the groom and red for the bride. This food colouring should be in plastic, squeezable bottles.
  4. 2 shot glasses (or similar)
  5. Two napkins
  6. A table – the signing table works well.
  7. A table cloth
  8. For indoor weddings, an optional light may be used to backlight the vase to increase the effect.


  1. Fill the vase with room-temperature water in time for the water to be still before the ceremony.
  2. Place the two food colouring bottles upright in shot-glass sized containers, one to each side of the vase, on the table.
  3. Place two napkins on the table for the bride and groom to clean hands if necessary.


  1. After processing to the front of the venue at the beginning of the ceremony, the bride gives her bouquet to her maid of honour, and, hand-in-hand, the bride and groom proceed to the vase table.
  2. Bride and groom stand to each side of the table so guests can view their actions – groom to the right where the blue colouring is, bride to the left where the red colouring is.
  3. Looking toward each other and moving together, the bride and groom gently pick up their colouring bottle making sure not to squeeze the bottles and eject the fluid in the bottle into the air and possibly onto themselves.
  4. Bride and groom simultaneously touch the tip of each bottle of colouring to the surface of the water where it meets the side of the vase and gently inject the contents of each bottle of food colouring into opposite sides of the vase so that the colour slides down the side of the glass in the water creating an intensely coloured configuration for each in the water on each side of the vase making sure not to allow the colouring to splash, dribble or adhere to their hands or their clothing.
  5. Place the dispensed bottles back into the shot glass on the table.
  6. Mop off any colouring transfer with the napkins.
  7. Couple returns to their position in front of the Officiant.


While adding the colouring, wording such as the following might be expressed by your officiant, or you may merely add the colouring and let the water speak for itself as your ceremony progresses…

Wording option #1
“The bride and groom are placing colouring into a water-filled vase representing how their lives together will change and develop to create the new reality of their life together as husband and wife.”

Wording option #2
(Brides name) and (Grooms name),
you bring to your marriage union two very different personalities,
different gifts, different likes and dislikes, different interests and abilities,
 (Pour in food colouring)
It is unrealistic therefore that your pursuit of unity,
Be misconstrued as seeking uniformity,
Or of one partner ruling over or superseding the other.
Rather, as your marriage relationship grows
You create unique patterns of interaction
that accommodate and appreciate the particulars of each partner,
thereby creating something new
by the blending of who you are
as you live out the marriage commitments made this day.


Later in the ceremony, guests may be directed to view the water ceremony vase to notice:

“As we turn our eyes to the water ceremony vase, please note how the two colours representing _________ and ___________ have moved around each other as though accessing each other, observing each other, discovering each other as they approach and begin to embrace each other. Then, as the process continues, the two have become one—two colours, two different people, two lives blending into the new unique combination of hues represented by the new marriage union of Mr. And Mrs. _____________. Neither colour survives unchanged. Neither colour supersedes the other. Colours blend. The two become one new and different hue, enhanced by the love of each for the other.”


Should you want to hydrate your wedding with more water or nautical imagery

We are gathered here today to launch (bride) and (groom) on the sea of matrimony. (bride) and (groom) are very honored that each of you is here to witness the beginning  of their married life together. Love can be a wonderful cruise across the expansive sea of life. It is best achieved as we work together like a crew focused on an agreed upon destination, each doing his and her part to enable the progress desired.

As our colours entwine in the vase of our life together, different but somehow the same, reaching out to each other, moving from circumference to centre, circling while approaching, desiring and needing intimacy, yet fearing what intimacy will cost – blending, producing unique patterns, never seen before, never to be repeated, may we blend, becoming absorbed in and by each other, by this we produce the beautiful new hue that only we can create. May we blend our differences into something that exceeds what we ever could be on our own, encircling each other with our love.

When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, moment by moment.  That is impossible. It is even a disservice to pretend it is possible. Yet that is what most of us demand. We have such little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love and of relationships. We leap forward at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb, for we are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanence, on duration, on continuity. But the only continuity possible in life, as in love, is in growth, in fluidity and in freedom, as synchronized swimmers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in creating the same pattern. In this love, the trust and freedom of the other person becomes as significant as the trust and freedom of one’s self. This is our hope for your continued growth through patience, one for the other.

As you stand on the edge of this new opportunity, may I challenge you not to hesitate in your mind and heart concerning the commitment you are about to make. Every diver knows that doubting the dive messes up you positioning and balance. Marriage requires total commitment for a smooth entry into this new experience of being totally immersed in each other for the rest of your lives.

The world you are about to enter is as different as the ocean floor from the world of air. There will be new colours, new designs, new experiences available no other way – new fulfillment and new challenges that will test your stamina. There will be cross currents, under currents and even crushing breakers that will pound on your relationship. If you keep the debris from gathering between you, you may rise together to new levels of enrichment.

May you, _(Groom)_ and _(Bride)_.  keep the vows made on this day, in freedom, teaching each other who you are and what you yet shall be, enabling you to know that, together, married, you will be more than yourselves and more than each other.  Successful marriage will enhance both of you.

VOWS (select what is meaningful to you)

______, I invite you to plunge into my life
That we may swim together
In our own sweet and
Synchronized water ballet.

It is my desire to sink into your arms,
To be encircled by your love,
Constantly fascinated
By the colours of your uniqueness.

It is my abiding belief
That we are meant
To be together for all time.

Come and beautify my life,
With the wonder of who you are.

Soften the drastic shades of my being
with the subtle hues of your nature.

Stay with me
Through the ebb and flow
Of the tides of life.

I want to grow with you
In all the currents of life,
Wherever life may take us.

Two together become
Something more
Than they can ever be apart

Seeking the unique beauty
Of our marriage
Whatever the currents of life

Your love is the buoyancy
That lifts my spirits.

We are very different from one another
Yet our differences attract us.
For I find in you
My completion,
My other self,
The colour that completes me

Trim your sails.
The adventure begins.
It is my privilege to present to you Mr. & Mrs. ———–.
May you find safe harbour in each other’s arms.



© Rev. Ray Cross 2012
Copyright protected under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 Canada License