What Is a Collaring Ceremony?
In the BDSM community, a collaring ceremony has similar significance to a wedding ceremony among vanilla people. It represents a formal declaration of commitment between two people — the dominant person generally collars the submissive one. However, modern BDSM couples sometimes choose to wear a collar to show their devotion to each other and their relationship.
Despite its unique nature, a collaring ceremony can resemble a traditional wedding. It can be done in private or attended by family and friends. Either way, it is meaningful for both the dominant and the submissive, so much so that it can prove to be quite moving for their guests. Finally, the symbolic purpose of a collar is similar to that of a wedding ring.
Nevertheless, unlike a traditional wedding, a collaring ceremony can be polyamorous. Depending on the relationship dynamics, a master or a mistress can choose to collar two or more submissives. Similarly, a submissive can decide to be collared by more than one master.
The BDSM community generally recognizes three stages of collaring. The collar of consideration is the first one a master can present to their submissive. It is parallel to a pre-engagement ring. The second stage is the training collar, which is equivalent to an engagement ring. It signifies a strengthening relationship and a deepening emotional bond between a couple. The final stage is the slave collar, which is presented at a collaring ceremony.
Who Can Take Part?
The best thing about a collaring ceremony (as well as every other BDSM practice) is that there are no rules outside of the safe, sane, and consensual code. Therefore, anyone can participate, regardless of the level of their involvement with BDSM.
If you are in a BDSM relationship, you do not have to conform to traditional rules to make it official. Since your lifestyle differs from that of vanilla couples, it is only natural to want your commitment ceremony to differ from theirs as well. Instead of having a traditional ceremony, you can have a BDSM wedding and declare your commitment to each other in a style that suits your relationship dynamics.
However, you may be vanilla yet curious and adventurous. Fortunately, a collaring ceremony is not limited to BDSM couples. You too can have one as a way of expressing your love for your partner in a unique way.
Things to Consider When Designing Your Own Collaring Ceremony
Even though a collaring ceremony differs from a traditional wedding, it also requires planning. There are numerous things you need to take into account so that your special day is a memorable experience for you and your guests (if you choose to have them) alike.
Every wedding has a theme, so why would a collaring ceremony be any different? You ought to base everything around the said theme as it will determine the tone of your ceremony. Aside from being crucial, this step is also the most fun one, as you will get to express your couple style.
You may think that a collaring ceremony has to have kink as a theme, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Instead, it can be as simple and basic as a traditional wedding. While you may be kinky in sex, that aspect of your relationship does not necessarily determine your overall style. There are numerous options to choose from, and you are free to explore them until you settle on the one that represents your relationship. Have fun with the concept, find a common passion, and enjoy the process.
Depending on your affinities, the theme of your ceremony can range from kinky to fancy to minimalistic. You can even design the event so that it resembles a specific era or a scene from your favorite movie. The possibilities are endless, so take your time, because the right theme is what will make your special day truly special.
Who Will Come?
After you have chosen your theme, but before you pick a venue, you need to decide whether you want to have a private ceremony or not. You know those couples that elope and fly out to Las Vegas to get married by an Elvis impersonator? Similarly to them, you can turn the whole experience into an adventure and travel to an exotic destination to have your ceremony away from everyone you know.
But even a private collaring ceremony can have more than two participants. Unlike weddings, collaring ceremonies can be polyamorous. They are about the celebration of commitment, not the number of people involved. If you are the master of two slaves or submissive to several masters, you can also make it official.
Although eloping can be quite exciting, some people want to share their special moment with their loved ones. It is not uncommon to have guests at a collaring ceremony. If you are extroverts who like to make an impression, you should have a lavish ceremony attended by your family and friends.
Finally, you can have someone deliver your ceremony. It can be a family member, a mutual friend, or even a member of the BDSM community you trust and respect. Alternately, one of you can officiate. Commonly, the dominant participant delivers a speech prior to presenting their sub with their collar.
When and Where?
Choosing the venue ought to be the third thing on your list as it depends on the theme and the number of guests and determines the time and date of the procession.
Once you have decided on the tone of your ceremony, you need to find a suitable place. For instance, if you have chosen a forest theme, you will need an appropriate space in nature. That, subsequently, has an impact on the date of the ceremony. After all, you don’t want to be surprised by a shower in the middle of it.
If you have imagined a moonlit ceremony, the event must take place at night. You can set up a tent in an open space or book a hall with a skylight so that you could enjoy the view. Although, you should check the weather forecast for the chosen place before the ceremony because a cloudy night sky could ruin the atmosphere.
Alternately, you can decide on a venue that is commonly used for weddings or a place that has special significance to you. If you want to have a regular, basic ceremony, you have a wide variety of options at your disposal. After all, such an event does not have to differ from a regular wedding in terms of the location. Depending on the number of invitees, you can pick from a variety of restaurants and bars at different locations.
And if your chosen venue needs booking, you need to be honest about the kind of ceremony you are having with the people running it. Although the BDSM community has been thriving, society still does not fully accept it. Collaring ceremonies may be similar to weddings, but they still do not have the same status. Given the fact, you may want to keep your options open.
The Ceremony Itself
After you have chosen the venue and set the date, you need to plan out the ceremony itself. It can be whatever you want it to be — a casual gathering, a fancy event, or a private affair.
It is vital that you plan your procession in accordance with the theme and your affinities. You can choose whether to wear casual clothes, formal attire, or even costumes. If you are having guests, you can specify the style of the event on the invitations if you want them to dress a particular way as well.
It appears that the similarities between a collaring ceremony and a wedding do not end at the purpose of the events. In fact, the former can resemble the latter in every aspect except for the item that symbolizes commitment. That way, you can exchange vows just as numerous traditional couples do at their weddings.
Whether you will write your own vows or recite a passage from a book or a song is up to you. The point is to express your feelings and honor the event. And if you are not people of many words, you can create a ritual that is meaningful to you instead.
Finally, you can have a reception after the ceremony to celebrate your special day with your invitees. If you decide to do so, you need to take a few more things into account, such as designing the menu and choosing the music. That is yet another opportunity to be creative as the food, as well as the venue, can be decorated to fit the theme.
The collar is the crown of the ceremony; thus, it deserves special planning. You can choose its design yourself from the broad selection available on the market. The materials of collars range from cotton and leather to stainless steel and precious metals. Tastes differ, and if you do not want yours to be conspicuous, it does not have to be. In fact, many people who do not practice BDSM wear collars purely for fashion. If you pick one that resembles a necklace more than a collar, you can wear it in public without anyone noticing the difference. That way, you can keep your affinities a secret while also maintaining the promise you and your partner made to one another.
Since the collar is the crown of the ceremony, you can decide to have it presented in a specific way. You can keep it in a special box prior to the moment of collaring and have it carried by one of the guests, or the dominant partner can merely give it to the submissive.
Finally, you should know that you do not have to wear your collar all the time. Depending on your agreement with your partner, you can take it off before you leave the house or wear it only on some occasions.
Some Example Ceremonies
Every collaring ceremony is different and unique in its ways, just like every relationship. You ought to design yours so that it reflects you as a couple. But if you are new to the concept, you may feel lost and uninspired. While it is true that nobody knows you better than yourselves, you can draw inspiration from someone else’s ceremony. You may get an idea that fits perfectly with your style, thus, kickstarting your creativity and facilitating the planning process.
Fortunately, you do not have to do the research yourself. Countless members of the BDSM community (and some vanilla couples) have already gone down that road. The fruits of their work make for some quite inspiring options. Here are a few suggestions to help you broaden your horizons.
One female sub’s story includes poetry, moving speeches, and rose petals. She was collared by a male dom at their local BDSM club. At the beginning of the ceremony, he led her by her hair to the center stage, where she kneeled on a black cushion and read her story. She spoke of her previous experiences in the BDSM world and reminisced about the moment she had met her master. She then read the poem she had written in his honor.
Afterward, her dom asked her to submit herself to him, which she accepted. The master’s male sub then presented two roses on a silver tray to the two of them. The white rose with closed petals symbolized her virginity and willingness to gradually open to her master, while the fully bloomed red rose stood for his strength and readiness to protect his sub.
Finally, the dom asked the sub to accept his collar, which she did. He then placed the collar, presented to him by her sub sister, around her neck. Once the collaring was over, they read their vows.
Another female sub got collared by her master on an island. He was waiting for her in a rustic pavilion adorned with white roses and surrounded by trees. She had chosen a simple white gown for the occasion. According to her, a sub should be elegant yet simple for their collaring ceremony because their attire symbolizes their submission. Their procession was attended by their friends and family.
After she joined him in the pavilion, she accepted his offer to collar her. He then took an engraved silver collar with a sapphire on it and placed it around her neck. Before he locked it, they recited their vows.
This example is of a BDSM relationship between two polyamorous individuals. Their ceremony was attended by their spouses. While polygamy is the practice of having more than one spouse, polyamory implies having several committed relationships but being married to one person.
The ceremony was delivered by the dominant participant. He asked the sub to promise to commit to him but prioritize her marriage and children over everything else and made the same promise himself. They then recited their vows before he locked the collar. Afterward, the dominant said that the commitment between him and his sub did not concern them alone. He then invited their spouses to speak, and each of them gave a toast, and the dominant concluded the ceremony.
Planning a collaring ceremony can be as stressful as planning a wedding, if not more. But before you let negative feelings consume you, remember that it is your special moment, so organize it with that in mind. Even if you have never attended a collaring ceremony, you can rest assured that yours will be beautiful because you will have designed it according to your style and wishes. Know that you can always put one around your neck even if you don't have a dom to own you. After all, self-ownership is also practiced in the world of BDSM.