Unity Ceremonies

Unity Ceremonies
Other Unity Ceremonies
Involving Other People

A Unity Ceremony is a mini-ceremony within your wedding.

It shows that you are an inseparable couple, united as one, legally and spiritually.

There is no extra fee for a Unity Ceremony!

Some of the unity ceremonies listed here are many hundreds of years old, some are cultural traditions, and some are more modern customs.

You have many options for involving other people in your wedding ceremony. Would you like to include parents, involve children, or have all your guests participate in your unity ceremony? Every ceremony listed here can be modified for your unique ceremony.

For a Unity Candle Ceremony, each of you begins with a taper candle that represents you as an individual. The unity candle (usually a large pillar candle) represents your new life together. Together you light the unity candle, symbolizing the joining of your lives. Just as it is impossible to split the flame, so your two lives are joined into one. There are photos of Unity Candles below, as well as a link to the Unity Candle Ceremony Page.

In a Sand Ceremony, each of you begins with a container of sand that represents you as an individual. Both of you pour sand into a larger container at the same time, blending the sand and symbolically blending your lives. It would be nearly impossible to separate the grains of sand again, and your two lives are joined into one. There are Sand Ceremony photos below, plus a link to the Sand Ceremony Page.

During a Handfasting Ceremony your four hands are tied together, symbolically binding you. The colors of the ribbons or cords fastening your hands together can be emblems of what you desire in your marriage. For example, green for growth, red for passion, and gold for wisdom. There are photos of two Handfasting Ceremonies below, and a link to the Handfasting Ceremony Page.

Unity Candle Ceremony

The unity candle represents your new life as one inseparable couple. Lighting the unity candle together is symbolic of joining your lives.

Manilyn and Jonathan, seen at the right, had a unity candle with a cross and the verse from the Bible that begins "Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful...."

The unity candles available in stores range from simple to ornate. Jamie and John, for example, had a simple white pillar candle with a pretty bow around it. The photo at the right on this Page shows it lit after their evening wedding.

Christina and Gene had their names and the date of their wedding on their unity candle, seen below. It had two wicks that joined into one flame as the candle burned down. The top core can be replaced with a votive candle.

There is a whole Unity Candle Ceremony Page because there is so much to say about Unity Candle Ceremonies.

You will find information there about how to include parents, children, and other people in your Unity Candle Ceremony.

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Unity Candle at Manilyn and Jonathan's wedding in Groton, CT Unity Candle at Jamie and John's home wedding in Norwich, CT Unity Candle and tapers at Christina and Gene's head table at their wedding reception

Sand Ceremony

You might think "Sand Ceremony!" if you have a beach wedding, but have you considered it for other locations?

A sand ceremony is a suitable replacement for a unity candle if your wedding is going to be outdoors, where there is the chance that the candle flames might be blown out by wind, or indoors where open flames are not permitted.

Sand ceremonies can also involve children and other people. 65% of remarriages include children from previous relationships. The photo at the right shows the sand from one family wedding at Harkness Memorial State Park Page.

You can choose to scoop up beach sand or use colored sand from the craft store. Some people collect sand from places they visit together and use those sands for their sand ceremony when they get married.

When you think about colors for your sand, think in terms of contrast and the colors resulting when your sand is mixed. Red and blue combine to make purple, for example, and yellow plus blue makes green.

Ocean wedding Sand Ceremony at Harkness State Park in Waterford, CT Doris and Melvin's Sand Ceremony at their wedding in Mystic, CT

The Sand Ceremony Page has more pictures of Sand Ceremonies and suggestions for making yours unique.

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Handfasting Ceremony

Handfasting may be an unfamiliar term although it is an ancient custom. Handfasting is enjoying a renaissance.

You may have heard Handfasting called a Celtic wedding. Scotland, Ireland, and other Celtic lands formerly recognized a handfasting as a marriage just as binding as one performed in a church.

The ancient practice of handfasting gave us the phrases "Tying the knot" and "The Bonds of Matrimony".

In modern usage, handfasting ceremonies can include your guests' participation, making your wedding more dynamic and remarkable. People who actively participate tend to remember details much longer. If you are having a limited number of guests at your ceremony, why not have your guests bring ribbons in their choices of colors?

Couples can choose ribbons for delicacy or cords for symbolic strength. Some people braid their ribbons or cords, making tying easier while keeping the variety of colors.

Rachel and Josam's unique handfasting cord Arna and Greg's handfasting in their garden wedding at Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford, CT

The Handfasting Ceremony Page gives suggestions for colors, materials, and helpers.

Back to top of Page   Unity Candle   Sand Ceremony

Other Unity Ceremonies

Chocolate ceremony, loving cup, rose exchange, shell ceremony, red thread, beach glass ceremony, truce bell, bouquet of love and support, water ceremony, wine ceremony, Celtic pebble toss, Celtic Oathing Stone, hand washing, water blending ceremony, ...

... these are just some of your options! Because your love is unique, together we will design a unique unity ceremony that is yours alone.

What kind of unity ceremony would you have aboard the steamboat Sabino? Jennifer and Kevin had their guests participate in a shell ceremony during their sunset wedding cruise. (There are more photos on the Mystic Seaport Weddings Page.)

Jennifer and Kevin's shell ceremony aboard the Sabino

Involving Other People

Whether you want to honor your parents, children, family, or special friends, we will find a meaningful way to pay tribute to those you love.

Children often feel the need to be included, especially the child or children of a parent taking a new partner. Having them take part in a Sand Ceremony or Handfasting is easy and safe. We can talk about how to include children from previous relationships when we meet.

Your parents can bring forward the candles for your Unity Candle Ceremony, for example, as well as escort you. (The days when only the bride was escorted down the aisle are fading fast.) Some couples honor the people who raised them by presenting roses during their wedding. A happily-married couple can pour sand as a base for your own sand during your Sand Ceremony, symbolizing the foundation of love that they gave you.

Members of your wedding party could tie the ribbons or cords of your Handfasting, if you would like to honor your special friends that way.

All of your guests are welcome to participate in your Celtic pebble toss, if you would like that traditional ceremony!

This Site is intended to give you some basic ideas. Please call me at (860) 543-2334 to arrange a meeting to discuss your wedding. There is never a charge for the initial meeting!

One of the important criteria for choosing a wedding officiant is the officiant's willingness to encourage other people to participate actively in your ceremony. Beware of the officiant who insists on doing everything! Please see other criteria on the Selecting your wedding officiant Page.

A shell ceremony during a seaside wedding in Harkness Park, CT.
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Version 7.00   16 May 2015