15 Wedding Symbols That Represent New Beginnings

flower seeds
Ashley Brooke Photography

No matter what kind of wedding you're hosting, there's a good chance that your celebration will feature symbolic details. Classic ceremony elements represent different things. A good example is the exchange of rings, which serves as a sign of your eternal commitment to your significant other. While some symbols will work their way into the day without much thought from the couple, many pairs choose to incorporate specific traditions into their affairs because they appreciate the meanings behind them. If you're looking for symbolic ideas for your big day, consider sprinkling your affair with emblems that nod to the significant change in your life.

There are many different themes that you can honor at your wedding, but we love the idea of celebrating your fresh start with representative elements. And, as it turns out, there are tons of ways to do so in your décor, itinerary, and more.

The following list offers symbolic ideas to help you highlight the idea of new beginnings throughout your wedding. In the mix is a variety of inspiration—some of it subtle, and some more blatant. There are ideas for your ceremony and reception, your food, your flowers, and your favors, and even your guest list and event date. Believe it or not, symbols of your new chapter can be a part of nearly any aspect of your nuptial festivities. Here, explore all of your options when it comes to representing your transition into marriage. Whatever you choose, you'll add more depth to your celebration, and your guests are bound to cherish the significance that your pick holds.

01 of 15

Cherry Blossoms

sweetheart table
Art Is for Lovers

Cherry blossoms bloom in the spring, and are therefore seen as a sign of renewal. Take it one step further by also choosing a spring wedding date—the season symbolizes rebirth, so choosing a springtime date is extra special.

02 of 15


bear cake toppers
Hannah Woodard Photography

Bears awake from hibernation refreshed. In that vein, the animals are sometimes equated with newness. Use them as motifs throughout your celebration—this couple chose them for their cake toppers.

03 of 15


dove release
Isabel Johansen

Doves are often released for important life milestones, and they're especially popular at weddings as a way to represent the couple's new journey together. Before you commit to the tradition, however, make sure that you can do so humanely. Only work with handlers who assure that the birds will return safely to their homes post-event.

04 of 15


Sally Pinera

Butterflies are the product of a caterpillar's metamorphosis, making them a beautiful symbol of rebirth. You can incorporate them into your affair in a number of ways, like serving food on butterfly-print dishes.

05 of 15


door structure
Les Anagnou

Doors are passageways, which means that they represent transitions just like becoming a married couple. Instead of an arch, consider a structure made of open doors for your ceremony backdrop.

06 of 15


Ryan Ray Photography

Bonfires are staples at various celebrations, so they have a number of different meanings. One we think best applies to a wedding is the idea of burning the old to make way for something new. Light one at the end of your reception (with the appropriate permissions, of course) as a nod to your new future together.

07 of 15


sprouting favors
The Great Romance

Growth and newness are frequently linked together, which makes young plants symbolic. These favors featured small sprouts to signify a new life.

08 of 15


Jodi & Kurt Photography

You can also use seeds to represent newness. Give them to guests to throw for your exit toss or offer them as favors for attendees to plant at home.

09 of 15

The New Year

joanna jay wedding balloon drop
Nina and Wes Photography

New year, new you, right? Host a wedding on New Year's Day to kick off the next chapter of your lives, or throw it on New Year's Eve and party into the next morning.

10 of 15


wedding kids with bride
Mariel Hannah Photography

Children have a whole life ahead of them, so they're often considered to be sweet symbols of fresh starts. The idea makes your ring bearer and flower girl's roles even more special. It also makes the case for inviting other kids to your wedding.

11 of 15


daffodil centerpieces
Simply Sarah Photography

Daffodils are one spring's earliest flowers, so they're a common representation of new beginnings. Use the blooms in your centerpieces, bouquets, boutonnières, or other floral aspects of your wedding.

12 of 15


Emily Wren Photography

Phoenixes are emblems of rebirth because of the mythology surrounding them. According to legend, they periodically burn, and then rise again from their ashes. This wedding cake nodded to the fantastical creatures.

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The Sunrise


The rising sun represents the new day and a fresh start. This couple chose to tie the knot at sunrise. If you know that the same move won't sit well with your guests, you can always take portraits by yourselves in the early morning.

14 of 15

Blank Canvases

Emily Steffen

Blank canvases, clean slates, and similar symbols can be incorporated into your big day. At this wedding, for example, guests were allowed to create their own piece of art.

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New Moon

Gary Ashley for Les Loups

The new moon represents the start of a fresh moon cycle. That's why couples—including this one—choose to wed during the phase.

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