Unity ceremonies are really popular in wedding ceremonies – and rightfully so! Wedding ceremonies aren’t just about two people coming together, but about two lives coming together. Unity ceremonies showcase this, and the physical aspects surrounding them can really help “cement” that feeling of togetherness, as well as provide visuals and make you and your partner feel closer.
And there are so many! Here’s just a selection of the many unity ceremonies that are out there!
Unity Candle: Perhaps the best well known is the unity candle. The couple lights tapers, and uses the tapers to light a central pillar candle. This is a sweet and well known example of a unity ritual, and is easy to incorporate family into as well (parents can light the taper, or children can help light the central candle, to symbolize a family coming together).
Sand Ceremonies: I love sand ceremonies, and they are ABSOLUTELY not just for beach weddings. In a sand ceremony, the couple each pours a small amount of colored sand into a central vase, creating a beautiful layered sculpture that they keep to remind themselves of their love and commitment to each other. It would take forever to separate the grains of sand once they are poured and joined together in the vase – just as your love will last forever! This is another great ceremony to include family with (they can combine the sand that you will pour into the vessel, or add their own layer in a separate color), and is especially fun if you have children! It is a great outdoor solution to a unity candle (no wind will blow it out), and is really family friendly (no potential burns).
A variation on the sand ceremony is to used colored water, which the couple combines into a central vessel. I’ve seen this done where some chemistry-savvy couples have found ways to pour two colored waters into the middle and have them combine as clear!
I think it’s important to mention when it comes to both Unity Candles and Sand Ceremonies that you don’t need to just purchase the kits for these (though you can find Unity Candle sets at most craft stores now!). Though the internet is full of places to purchase these kits, you can very easily make your own, saving yourself a little bit of money and being able to personalize it even more. A quick trip to the craft store can yield a beautiful center pillar candle (perhaps in a color appropriate for your wedding colors or bridesmaid dresses), and some tapers or tea lights. You can find clean craft sand in most craft stores as well, and a selection of vases and vessels are usually displayed with them. Check out discount stores (like Target or Marshalls) for beautiful vases for the sand ceremony, and don’t forget places like Pier 1 or other home decor stores for vases and candles!
Wine Ceremonies are a personal favorite of mine, and one that has a rich history in many backgrounds and cultures. For the religiously inclined, a blessing can be said over the wine before the couple shares a glass. This symbolizes that they will share everything from this point forward – and their sorrows will be halved and their joys doubled because of this. A variation on this ceremony is to use two glasses of wine – one bitter and one sweet, to actually represent the good and bad times that a couple will embark on together.
Rose Ceremonies are very popular in weddings now as well. There are a few variations on this – the couple can present roses to each other, as their first gift as a married couple. The symbolism of the rose is explained, and the couple will have the rose to remember the commitment and vows they have taken. Another idea is to present a rose or flower to important women or mothers present at the wedding, as a special thank you for their love and support. This can be done with bouquets or other gifts, and is even appropriate if you have a very special person who cannot be at the wedding – simply present the flower to their partner, in their honor, or place it on a seat of honor for them at the front, during the ceremony.
Another sweet ceremony in the line of the rose ceremony is something from the Hindu tradition. The parents of the groom will present the bride with a garland, to welcome her into the family. A simple presentation of flowers, a small present, or a garland from the future parents in law is a beautiful gesture of acceptance and love that can truly show that the couple aren’t the only ones coming together – it’s about the joining of family as well!
These are just a few of the many suggestions and are, of course, just a jumping off point! Take inspiration from them, and run with it to make your ceremony your own!