If you’ve ever been to a wedding, you have likely noticed that at some point the couple performs a small symbolic ritual to express their union. Typically, it is the joining of two separate items into one. When I was a kid the most common one was the lighting of candles. Two people would take two tall separately lit candles and join the flames together to light a third one and then proceed to blow out their individual candles. This isn’t the only form of unity ceremony that is done though, and if you interested in incorporating this moment into your wedding here are a few ideas.
1.) Lighting a Unity Candle
Since this is the one I mentioned just a second ago, I won’t go into too much detail about this ceremony. The parts that I left out are that typically the individual candles are smaller than the unity candle and are lit by each party’s mother. (i.e the bride’s mother lights hers and the mother of the groom lights his). This portion of the ceremony typically takes place after the exchanging of vows.
2.) Sand Pouring
This tradition has started to gain more popularity in the most recent years and couples move away from lighting a unity candle and instead they combine separate containers of different color sand to a third, larger container. Perfect for an outdoor or beach wedding the couple takes turn pouring the sand in their vase giving it a beautiful layering effect. This is also a fun idea for blended families as children will have a great time pouring sand into the jar as well.
3.) Wine or Beer Pouring
Definitely for the brides looking to ditch stuffy tradition wine or beer pouring/blending takes places as the bride and groom select two complimentary wines that they enjoy separately. On the day of the wedding, they mix the two wines (or beer!) and drink the new wine combination together. Not sure if the ceremony is the perfect time for this? Try it at the reception, you can even serve your new combination wine as a special couple’s drink!
4.) Three Strand Cord
A Christian tradition pulled from Ecclesiastes 4:12, “though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” Often the groom holds a ring while the bride braids three separate pieces of rope or code. One representing the bride, one the groom, and the third representing God. Depending on the materials used this could be an awesome piece to frame and hang-up in the home somewhere.
5.) Pouring of Paint
Another fun and simple unity ceremony is the pouring of paint. Taking a blank canvas couples take their respective paint colors and pour them down the front of the canvas during the Ceremony. This piece can be hung in the home somewhere. You can also consider purchasing a quick drying paint or doing a similar ceremony before the wedding so guests can sign the artwork you and your partner created.
6.) Creating an Anniversary Capsule
A more interactive experience as couples can ask guests to write letters or bring photos, and or keepsakes to the ceremony. All of these items will be sealed in a box or capsule for the couple to open up on the anniversary of their choosing. Whether it be the five-year, 10-year- or 20-year anniversary the time capsule ceremony is a constant reminder of the lifetime love between you and your partner.
7.) Wine Box Ceremony
Nothing ages better than fine wine… well that and your marriage. This ceremony requires a little forethought by finding a wine that you and your partner enjoys AND one that ages well. During the wedding ceremony the couple places this bottle into a box and the box is sealed to be opened at a later date, such as the 15-year wedding anniversary.
8.) The Lasso Ceremony
Most practiced in Mexican, Filipino, and other Hispanic cultures the tradition known as “el lazo” takes place after the vows. The officiant or another individual the couples as assigned to this roll takes a floral garland, rosemary, intricate lace, or ribbon, and wraps it around the couple twisting it into an infinity symbol. At the conclusion of their ceremony, the infinity loop or lasso is removed from the couple. The lasso is then typically saved and can be displayed in the couple’s home as a symbol of the long-lasting unity.
These are just 8 of the most common unity ceremony practices that couples choose to add to their wedding and couples are coming up with new ideas all of the time. Feel free to use these as examples for creating your own family tradition. All traditions have to start from somewhere, why not with you and your partner!