A New Twist on the Unity Candle

Ashley Rader

Ashley Rader is the owner of Moments of Elegance, an online wedding boutique specializing in beach wedding favors, summer wedding favors and a huge collection of unique wedding favor ideas that will say thank you with style and will truly make your event unforgettable.

The unity candle is a common part of any ceremony. It's a time when the bride and groom show the significance of the union by uniting two flames into one large flame. But, a lot of couples are also leaning away from the unity candle and searching for new ways to do the unity candle, but without the candles. Well, here is a list of ideas you can use in your ceremony that express the same significance, just in a different way.

Sand Ceremony


  1. Sand ceremony. This is where you chose three different colors of sand. They can be the colors of your wedding ceremony or you could each choose your favorite color and the third color can be one that looks good with either color. After you decide to have the minister lead you to the sand ceremony. He can talk about the significance of the sand ceremony and what is symbolizes. After he talks about it, you, your fiancée and the minister each pour one of the sands into a vase of your choice. You can choose to layer them artfully, or just pour them in simultaneously.
  2. Water ceremony. Get two glass bowls of water, and add food coloring. You want to choose primary colors that create a new color when you add them together, such as blue and yellow make green or red and blue make purple. After you decide on the two colors and you get to your ceremony, you can have your minister say something about how the water ceremony represents your marriage and then you pour the two colors of water in a giant glass vase or bowl where your guests can see that two different colors have made one color.
  3. Hand ceremony. This ceremony is a lot different than the unity candle, but it does hold the same significance. Most couples that choose to do this ceremony choose to do it after they've exchanged rings. When you and your fiancée have exchanged your rings you make sure you are still facing each other and have your minister instruct you to join hands or place your hands flat together, you know palm to palm. After you have joined hands your minister will recite a hand poem. There are lots of poems out there, but here is a sample poem I found on http://www.all2theweddingchapel.com/id88.htm. "These are the hands that will hold your hands for a lifetime. The hands that will be at the end of every embrace. They are the hands of your very best friend. The hands that feel like none other. They are the hands that will build a future together. The hands that will tenderly hold your children, and will encircle your family and make it one. The hands that will wipe life's tears of both joy and sorrow. And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged will still be reaching for yours offering the same unspoken support and tenderness with just one touch."
  4. Wine ceremony. This ceremony symbolizes the new couple "drinking from the same cup" from this day further. A glass of wine will sit on the altar throughout the whole ceremony. Before you actually drink from it, the minister will explain the meaning of the glass of wine and what it represents in your marriage. After he explains the significance, he will hand the glass of wine to the groom. The groom will drink from the glass and hand it to the bride. The bride will drink from the glass and hand it to the groom. You should each drink from it once or twice, but after you are done the groom should hand it back to the minister who will then pray over you and your fiancée.
  5. Wrapping on the hands ceremony. In some cultures it is traditional that the bride and grooms hands be bound together. You can use a beautiful scarf or something as simple as a long piece of yarn. By tying a knot around the hands of the bride and groom, you are symbolizes that you are forever bound together as husband and wife. You and your minister can decide how you want the ceremony to exactly be performed, and you can even have him incorporate something like the hand reading above into the ceremony to make it more meaningful. Really its up to you, your fiancée and your minister on how you will make the ceremony meaningful to you.

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  • flowery3 says
    Nice to hear all the different ways that have been found to express love and connection
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      I imagine that one of the reasons for these new symbols of marriage are being incorporated into wedding ceremonies is the fact that more and more weddings are secular rather than religious events. Not only are secular ceremonies often quite short, but they may lack anything reflecting the magic of the union and it’s deeper meaning. It’s no wonder couples are keen to find a way to make their ceremony more ‘special’.

      I’ve read about all sorts of rituals in other societies and I love those rooted in tradition. I’ve heard of African couples jumping over a broom to symbolize the beginning of a new life. Most people are familiar with the glass stomping ceremony at the end of Jewish weddings which symbolises “many pieces, many years and many blessings together”. Hindu tradition has the groom ride a horse to the ceremony and he bride have henna designs adorning her hands and feet. Greek brides tuck a sugar cube in their glove to ‘sweeten’ the union. A traditional ‘hair cutting’ ceremony is included in Cambodian weddings (cutting away any evil!). I recall seeing several weddings in France where after the ceremony, the couple were driven around the ‘village’ with the headlights on and the horn constantly beeping – not sure if that had any symbolism or was just an expression of joy!

      Some other ideas NZ ideas I’ve heard of that I rather like are:
      sealed ‘love letters’ the bride and groom have written to each other being locked in a box to open at a pre-determined time in the future.
      The exchange of roses between the bride and groom and their families, the rose being a symbol of love and thus the sharing of the love between the parties.

      Here is a video of a Vietnamese wedding. Lots of interesting traditions here. Note the extensive use of red which is considered the colour of good luck and thought to ward off evil spirits.

    • flowery3 says
      I think its great that folk can find something that means something to THEM rather than a ritual that is just that, a ritual with no feeling or meaning. WE are all different, and different things touch us to the heart
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