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Larry James

The 13 Gold Coins Ceremony

This tradition is usually associated with Hispanic families.

The madrina de arras (godmother of arras) holds the 13 gold coins the bridegroom presents to the bride. The coins, or arrhea, was a Roman custom of breaking gold or silver, one half to be kept by the woman and the other half by the man, as a pledge of marriage.

The custom of the giving of wedding coins originated in Spain. Thirteen gold coins (arras) are given to the bride by the bridegroom, signifying his willingness to support her. Often presented in ornate boxes or gift trays, this represents the brides dowry and holds good wishes for prosperity. These coins become a part of their family heirloom.

13 Gold Coins Example

The symbolism, which may be explained by the officiant, is that the Groom recognizes his responsibility as a provider, and pledges his ability to support and care for her. Acceptance by the bride means taking that trust and confidence unconditionally with total dedication and prudence.

The number 13 represents Christ and his 12 apostles. Another popular belief is that the thirteen coins represent the 12 lunar cycles of a year, and the thirteenth coin symbolizes the couple's honeymoon.

The coins are presented to the minister by a friend or relative (often the purchaser of the coins). The minister then blesses the coins and hands them to the bride who places them in the groom's cupped hands at the beginning of the ceremony.

The coins are then placed on a tray and handed to an assistant to be held until later in the ceremony. Near the end of the ceremony the box and coins are given to the minister who places the coins in the box and hands them to the groom.

The groom will then pour the coins into the bride's cupped hands and places the box on top as a symbol of his unquestionable trust, confidence and pledge to provide financially for them. Sometimes their hands are bound with a ribbon for this portion of the ceremony.

•    •    •
The 13 Gold Coins Ceremony

Minister: The symbolism of the 13 gold coins in this ceremony is that the groom recognizes his responsibility as a provider, and pledges his ability to support and care for his wife. Acceptance by the bride means taking that trust and confidence unconditionally with total dedication and prudence.

Thirteen gold coins, will now be counted out to the groom.

Minister: As I count out the 13 coins and place them in the grooms hands they also represent different values that the couple desire to share between themselves: love, harmony. cooperation, commitment, peace, happiness, trust, respect, caring, wisdom, joy, wholeness and nurturing.

May these coins be a symbol of this couple's mutual love, fidelity and trust.

Minister to the Groom: _________, please repeat after me.

Groom: I, _________, give you _________, these 13 coins as a symbol of my unquestionable trust and confidence I place in you as my beloved wife. As we unite our lives today I share all material responsibility with you.

Minister to the Bride: _________, please repeat after me.

Bride: I _________, accept these coins and assure you of my total love and dedication in looking after you, your possessions and my unconditional love.

Minister: In exchanging these coins, _________ and _________ are essentially saying, "What's mine is yours and what's yours is mine." I bless these coins knowing that they are also symbolic of the unlimited good the universe has in store for this loving couple. I accept this for _________ and _________, and so it is, Amen.

Optional Blessing

Minister: Father in heaven, you ordained marriage for your children, and you gave us love. We present to you _________ and _________, who come this day to be married. May the covenant of love they make be blessed with true devotion and spiritual commitment.

We thank you for giving them the ability to keep the covenant they have made.

When selfishness shows itself, grant generosity;

When mistrust is a temptation, give moral strength;

When there is misunderstanding, give patience and gentleness;

If suffering becomes a part of their lives, give them a strong faith and an abiding love. And so it is.

•    •    •

These words can be edited, deleted, expanded or adapted to your own Gold Coins Ceremony as needed.

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