United We Stand: Unity Ceremony

Though it is not a requirement, and you certainly don’t have to do it if you don’t want to, most ceremonies have some sort of “unity ceremony” in the middle of them (typically after the vows at some point).  It is a way to represent the two of you (or your two families) coming together to become one.

There are some more traditional options of course, but this is also a great way to incorporate more of what makes you two special into your wedding.  Here are some things I’ve seen before:

  • Unity candle.  This is the most traditional option.  The idea is that there is a lit candle for each of you (usually lit by the mothers or another important person from each side prior to the start of the ceremony), and using your individual candles together you light a central candle.  There is also a tradition of relighting this central candle on your anniversary every year, but this one is slowly falling through the cracks.  You can use plain candles, but most people either find a pretty shape or jazz them up with some sort of decoration to make them unique.
  • Sand ceremony.  Similar to the candle, this is probably the second most common unity ceremony.  There are 2 small vases, one for each of you with a different colored sand in it.  You take turns pouring layers into a larger vase, making a pretty mix of the two.  This is something you can easily display in your home, which is why it’s such a popular choice.  Be wary though, if you ever have to move houses take care with how it is packed so it doesn’t get jumbled up.
  • The time capsule.  This one is really different, and that’s what I love about it.  The couple of places letters to each other in a box (usually a nice wooden crate), along with something like a bottle of wine, and seal it up together.  The plan is that on a particular anniversary they will open the box together, read the letters, and share the wine.  I think it’s kind of adorable.

Of course, you can really do anything you want!  Many couples are finding things to incorporate that are more representative of themselves.  I’ve heard of couples who did a wedding in their backyard and planted a small tree together, or couples who share a glass of wine or piece of bread.

My favorite, though, is one that I saw only recently.  It was truly personal, is something that will last forever, and involved everyone present at the ceremony which makes it that much more special.  My friend Lauren and her now-husband had learned to make seed necklaces a while back, so they took that as their cue and had everyone put a seed on two necklaces.  During the ceremony the each added a final seed, then tied the two together as linked loops which they wore for the rest of the ceremony.  It’s completely original, completely theirs, and completely adorable.  My hat is off to you my dear!

Geoff and I did the candle thing, but ordered a pretty set off of Etsy.  What can I say, I’m a little traditionalist sometimes!  Did/are you having a unity ceremony of any kind?


Posted on August 31, 2012, in Ceremony, Wedding Planning Isn't For Sissies and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. We just signed our marriage license at a cute little table off to the side during the ceremony. We did however, make a strawberry mead for the wedding and we saved bottles for our 1 and 5 year anniversaries.

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