I posted a few weeks ago about the ceremony that my esclave and I went through that formally acknowledged our relationship. In the lifestyle we call this a collaring ceremony. The collar is a physical representation of the spiritual bond between a Dominant and his submissive. A collaring ceremony is akin to a wedding in the non-kink world, and is where a Dominant claims the submissive partner and presents the collar.
Collars take many forms. They may be physical or only symbolic. A leather collar is just as good as one crafted from the finest precious metals. What is important is the relationship that they symbolize. A Dominant commits to protect, nurture and, perhaps most importantly from a lifestyle perspective, control their partner in a considered, respectful manner. While romantic love is often found in the relationship, it is not a requirement to be collared. Love, though, is a requirement I believe, for a healthy relationship to develop.
Typically, a Dominant will pick the collar out for her submissive. She may involve him in the process, but normally the decision is all hers. A physical collar may be a simple chain with a padlock, a dog collar bought at the local pet store, or even a piece of costume jewelry bought at the mall. Depending on the relationship, and their needs, a collar may lock, but it is almost equally likely that it will not. In my case, I commissioned a collar from a website (BondageCollars.com) that is designed to be non-removable (is secured with a hex-screw), but still looks like normal jewelry.
Then we come to the Collaring Ceremony. The ceremony may be intimate, just between the Master and slave involved, or it may be a large event with friends and family invited. If they are in an online only relationship, it may be a simple phone call, or online chat where descriptive chat is typed out. In any event, no matter where the event is held, or who attends, it should be seen as a somber event with bit of significance in our lifestyle, as a wedding is in the vanilla world.
A ceremony can be lead by a third party, as many I have attended have been. A community leader or respected friends conducts the ceremony and requests statements from both parties stating their commitments. In the case of my ceremony, I lead the ceremony, and had my esclave make her own statements.
In both cases, the normal course of events is to get those who are present to pledge their support of their relationship and to support the couple in the future. I can state from witnessing several and having my own, that a collaring is often a moving experience and can bring many there to tears.
I hope that you find these links to Collaring ceremonies useful, and I hope that you find your own way to make yours meaningful.
Let me know what you think of this, well you know where, in the comments.