Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

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Breaking Glass Ceremony

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One interpretation of this ceremony states that once the glass is shattered, it can never return to its former condition, thus symbolizing the couples wish to never return to the time before they shared their lives.  It also symbolizes the fragility of life, the fact that whatever we see before us as whole can be broken at any moment. It calls our attention for the need to care for one another; for just as glass can be shattered with a single blow, so the grace of a marriage bond can be shattered with a single act of infidelity or repeated acts of emotional irresponsibility.  The idea is that the couple's lives together be longer than it would take to fit the pieces of the broken glass back together again.  Some say (with tongue in cheek) that the moment the groom smashes the glass symbolizes the last time he gets to "put his foot down."  After he declares the bride and groom to be wife and husband he invites the couple to seal their promises with a kiss. The groom then kisses the bride and then breaks the glass with his right foot. 


Some couples choose to break the glass together. Applause is appropriate in most ceremonies with the breaking of the glass.  Some couples choose to save the glass and preserve it in a velvet pouch, or have jewellery made from it.