Coin Ceremony

Unity Coin Ceremony 

Ceremonies like this give opportunity to involve and honour significant family members and friends
Communication in wedding ceremonies is in words, but it may also be more eloquently in symbolic actions; i.e., in ceremony. Sometimes adding an additional representational ceremony can seal the meaning of the wedding in an unforgettable manner for both you and your guests. I especially like ceremony insertions that are versatile in representing a variety of meanings according to the couples wishes with a few subtle adjustments. These eye-catching additions can add immeasurable to the memorableness of a wedding ceremony.

The Unity Coin Ceremony

 The Unity Coins are the 21st century update to the traditional wedding arrhae ceremony, Spanish for “earnest money”. It draws its meaning from the idea of a set of coins hastening prosperity. Traditionally the arrhae coins are placed inside decorated boxes or trays as part of Christian wedding ceremonies in Hispanic and Latin American countries and in the Philippines. Traditionally, it is made up of thirteen coins in gold or silver. There is no need that the coins be authentic gold or silver. Traditionally, this wedding item usually became an heirloom after the wedding to be handed down to the next generation, to be used again for another future wedding ceremony along the family lineage. It is the representation and meaning that matters.

Ceremonial inclusions that are flexible to a number of meanings are especially valuable in wedding planning. The Unity Coins Ceremony fills this criterion to a “T”.

The Unity Coin Ceremony involves the passing of a set of coins, usually in a decorative box, from the groom to the bride or from the bride to the groom after the exchange of  rings. After it is held briefly, it is passed on to the maid of honour, or best man, depending on which way it is being passed.

Customarily these unity coins are carried by a male child (coin bearer) on a wedding cushion in the processional, which gives opportunity to include another small child in your wedding. At times, instead of the coinbearer, a relative, a friend, an attendant, or another designated participant may carry and present the coins to the officiant for his blessing before passing them to the couple after the exchange of rings.

 

Possible Representations/Meanings

A number of meanings have been attached to this ceremony. With appropriate explanation a couple may insert whatever meaning they choose. Here are some that have been attached to this ceremony through the years. By giving the coins to his bride, the groom may be symbolizing:

  1. Good wishes for prosperity.

  2. The groom’s pledging dedication to the welfare of his bride.

  3. The groom’s trustworthiness and self-assurance.

  4. The bride and groom’s mutual hope for the wealth, prosperity and security that they will build and share, especially as their family grows.

  5. The groom’s ability and commitment to support his bride and confirms his position as the breadwinner of their future family.

  6. The groom’s placing of all his material wealth into his bride’s care.

  7. Acceptance by the bride may mean taking the groom’s trust of their shared wealth unconditionally with total dedication.

  8. A reminder to the couple being wed that they are individually dedicating themselves to each other, meaning they have to support one another and their future children, a support that is extended to the “world around them”.

  9. The traditional number of coins (thirteen) may represent wealth and prosperity for each month of the year, with an extra to spare, assuring good fortune for the newlyweds and their future family the whole year through and beyond.

  10. Today’s couples face married life together in a more mutually-supportive way than ever before. Using the traditional thirteen coins may be a reminder that this symbol of wealth cannot be cleanly divided into two equal parts, which means it is a wish of their cooperation in sharing responsibility for the development of a never ending union as a married couple.

  11. In bi-cultural nuptials, an even-number may be used signifying the bringing of  half the number of coins from each country to complete the chosen total number of wedding coins.

  12. In Filipino religious tradition, the thirteen coins are said to represent Christ and his 12 apostles, symbolize the groom’s unquestionable trust and confidence.  However, apart from the traditionally 13 coins, any number of coins can actually be used, with the exception of the number 30, because thirty is the number of coins taken by Judas Iscariot when he betrayed Jesus, as stated in the New Testament of the Bible, in Matthew 26:15.

  13. Another variation involves the officiant giving the coins to the bride. Then, the bride puts them on the cupped hands of her groom, which symbolizes an offering made by the bride as a form of a “dowry”. Afterwards, the coins are placed on a tray or in a box (or back onto the wedding pillow), and then temporarily given to an assistant or the maid of honour for safekeeping. Sometime before the completion of ceremony, the box or tray or wedding cushion with the coins are handed back to priest who will then hand them over to the groom. The groom then pours the wedding coins onto the cupped hands of his bride. After this part of the wedding ceremony, the couple’s hands may be tied with the wedding ribbon or wedding cord

  14. Some suppliers produce coins with different pictures on each coin, representing what is termed the thirteen universal tenets of an enduring marriage.

1)     Love

2)     Harmony

3)     Cooperation

4)     Commitment

5)     Peace

6)     Happiness

7)     Trust

8)     Respect

9)     Caring

10) Wisdom

11) Joy

12) Wholeness

13) Nurturing

I developing the wording that explains this symbolic inclusion in your wedding you may use one meaning or blend several to increase the richness of what you want to communicate to each other and to your guests in your wedding.

Possible wording during the exchange of coins

Communication is by symbols. These symbols may be words or actions, or a combination of both. Many ceremonies communicate well with or without words. If you choose to use words to clarify the meaning of the ceremony, what follows might give you some ideas for its development according to the meaning you desire to communicate:

 
 

CIVIL

CHRISTIAN

Officiant:
These coins are a symbol of blessing, not only in material possessions, but also abundant inner strength, so that you might be a source of blessing to others. Hold the coins in your hands as a sign that your blessings will no longer be held separately, but together. And may you always show that whatever gift you may have in this life is not ultimately individually but your to share. 
While the bride and groom are performing the exchange of the coins, depending on which way the coins are being passed, the groom/bride speaks first, saying: (Groom’s/bride’s first name), take these coins as a pledge of our commitment to share what we possess.
Then the bridegroom/bride responds by saying: 

(Bride’s/groom’s first name), I accept and treasure your gift. Let us together always share our blessings.

 

Then the officiant asks:

 

May these coins be a sign of mutual support for each other and the sharing of responsibility within your home.
Then the groom/bride says:

 

I give you (addressing bride/groom) these coins as a pledge of my dedication to you, the care of our home, and the welfare of our children.

 

The bride/groom responds by saying:

 

I accept them and in the same way pledge my dedication to you, the care of our home, and the welfare of our children.

 

At this moment, the bridegroom will allow the set of coins to fall into the hands of the bride, and then say:

 

[Bride’s given name], accept these coins as a pledge of my total dedication and constant concern for your welfare

Officiant, when the coins are delivered to him by the coin bearer:Lord, bless these coins. Grant (groom’s first name) and (bride’s first name) not only material possessions, but abundant spiritual strength, which these coins symbolize, so that they may bless others. Hold the coins in your hands as a sign that your blessings will no longer be held separately, but together. And may you always show that whatever gift you may have in this life is not ultimately yours but the Lord’s. While the bride and groom are performing the exchange of the coins, depending on which way the coins are being passed, the groom/bride speaks first, saying: 

(Groom’s/bride’s first name), take these coins as a pledge of our commitment to share God’s gifts.

 

Then the bridegroom/bride responds by saying:

 

(Bride’s/groom’s first name), I accept and treasure your gift. Let us together always share God’s blessings.

 

Then the officiant asks God’s blessing by saying:
May God bless these coins as a sign of mutual support and responsibility.

 

Then the groom/bride says:

 

I give you (addressing bride/groom) these coins as a pledge of my dedication to you, the care of our home, and the welfare of our children.

 

The bride/groom responds by saying:

 

I accept them and in the same way pledge my dedication to you, the care of our home, and the welfare of our children.

 

At this moment, the bridegroom will allow the set of coins to fall into the hands of the bride, and then say:

 

[Bride’s given name], accept these coins as a pledge of my total dedication and constant concern for your welfare.

 

 

© Rev. Ray Cross
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