What is a symbolic ceremony?

What is a symbolic ceremony?

Eloping is a unique way to get married! It is an experience of hours to days and an incredible way of celebrating love. If you are looking into eloping, you might stumble across the words ‘symbolic ceremony’. We’ve used the words quite often as well! In this blog, you will read more about what a symbolic ceremony is and we lightly touch on the subject of how to plan this kind of ceremony. Are you excited and curious? Let’s dive into the topic!


While the ceremony during your elopement can be organised to be a legal marriage, a symbolic ceremony is possible as well. This is a kind of ceremony that is non-legal but can include everything of a legal ceremony. It is focused on the exchange of your vows and represents the union of two people. A symbolic ceremony is not recognised by the government. You don’t sign any marriage license during the ceremony. This kind of ceremony can be just as meaningful and emotional as a ‘normal’ ceremony though! While eloping, a non-legal ceremony is increasingly popular.

No stress, no paperwork

Some countries demand a lot of paperwork while organising your elopement which can drive you crazy. Or they don’t recognise your relationship if you’re a same-sex couple for example. Then it is a good consideration to get married in your home country and exchange vows in the country of choice. If you already got married a couple of years ago, a vow renewal as an elopement is highly recommended by us 😉


For an elopement, the couple often chooses a location that is meaningful for them. This can be, for example, a country, a mountain peak or a forest. The ceremony typically finds place outside, but can also be indoors. If you are looking for some guidance, you might want to check out our favourite places: Iceland, the Dolomites or Scotland. This gives you an idea of what you can do during your elopement!

During the ceremony

What the ceremony can include also depends on the wishes of the couple! An elopement ceremony is highly personal and thus unique.

While some couples may be religious, they might add prayers or Bible readings for example. Vow exchange is something that is quite the same when comparing a regular and a symbolic ceremony. It is an occasion where you can tell your significant other how much they mean to you. It gives you a moment to think about this and it will be very meaningful! A ceremony focuses on love, commitment and friendship. If you write your own vows it will be even more personal than an elopement ceremony typically is.

During a wedding and during an elopement there often will be a moment when wedding rings are exchanged. They are a metaphor for an unbreakable bond between two lovers that is infinite. In some symbolic ceremonies, people will light a unity candle. This symbolizes the combining of two separate lives and the start of a life together.

Couple in iceland at diamond beach

In short

A symbolic ceremony can also be called a non-legal ceremony. While at regular legal marriage ceremonies, you sign a marriage license. That is something that isn’t done during a symbolic ceremony. This kind of ceremony is often held at elopements for several reasons. The focus is on creating a personalised experience that reflects the wishes of couples. This is done by creating a unique program for the ceremony. No elopement ceremony is the same and that’s what makes eloping so freaking cool!

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