When I think of a unity ceremony, most often, lighting of the unity candle comes to mind. However, I was surprised to learn just how many variations there are between different religions and cultures.
Lighting the Unity Candle
This is probably the most common of the unity ceremonies. The mothers of the bride and groom each light a candle as they are escorted to their seats at the beginning of the ceremony. The bride and groom take the candle that was lit by their mothers and simultaneously light a third, larger, “unity candle.” They then blow out their individual flames, signifying leaving their mother and father and uniting as one.
The bride and groom each have a vessel of different colored sand. They both pour their sands in at the same time, creating a mixture of the two. After the sands have been poured into the unity vase, they can never be put back into their separate vases. They are forever entwined just as the lives of the bride and groom.
Veil and Cord
This tradition is commonly seen in Hispanic Catholic weddings. The couple takes their place on a kneeler or for outside wedding ceremonies, on a pillow. Two veil sponsors bring forward a large, white veil and place it over the bride’s head and the groom’s shoulders symbolizing the oneness of marriage. Then the cord sponsors bring forward a white double lasso and loop it over and around the couple symbolizing the unbreakable bond of marriage.
The Cord of Three Strands
The center cord represents Christ, while the two outer cords represent the bride and groom. The two outer cords braid around the center cord, representing the bride and groom’s intention of unifying their marriage with Christ at the center. This ceremony comes from Ecclesiates 4:12 – “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
This Celtic ritual involves the tying of hands together to symbolize the bride and groom joining their lives together, and remaining tied to one another throughout their lifetime.
Planting a Tree
During more modern ceremonies, the bride and groom have opted to plant flowers or a tree. As the tree grows, it symbolized the love and bond between the bride and groom growing stronger.
My fiance and I have chosen to light a unity candle during our ceremony. What, if any, unity ceremony will you incorporate into your big day?
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