• Stacey del Fabbro

The Frugal Woman's Solved the Unity Candle Mystery.

Updated: Jul 7, 2021

The Unity Candle Ceremony is regaining popularity. Void of any religious meaning, it's a simple and yet visually effective way of showing the commitment two people have made to each other.

The Unity Candle Ceremony

I am giving my age away here but.... if you remember Luke and Laura from General Hospital, they used the lighting ceremony during their "TV" wedding. From that moment, it seemed like everyone did. So, yes it's about 40 years old now. If you don’t remember, ask your mom.... I bet she knows who they were. The ceremony itself runs much like this, there are three candles placed together on a table near the alter, or area where the service will be performed. Usually there are two tall, thin, taper candles separated by a thicker pillar candle. It is traditional that the mothers of the bride and groom, come forward and light the taper candles prior to the vow exchange. After the vows are said, the couple comes forward, each taking their candle and together they light the larger pillar. The person presiding over the service will usually say or read something about love and light and candles etc., and I have some samples below.

Having said all of that, it’s only fair that I add a few twists. First of all, let’s be honest. Many of the marriages today are second timers or singles with children, Those children are going to be mixing into a new family. What better way to include them than to let them take part in the ceremony. So after the first two candles are lit, the parents committing to each other can then lead the children up and light candles for each of them. And what a beautiful and shared moment when all candles come together to light the family pillar. Then every anniversary, it can be lit again.

It doesn’t have to be moms lighting the first candles. Trends are showing that mom and dad now go up together. It gets a little complicated if they’re divorced and have new partners so... why night let someone else special light them? A brother, best friend, aunt, anyone really. And while we’re changing things up, why not have someone special read the text.

The Sand Ceremony

You may already know that there are other ceremonies similar to the Unity Candles. For instance, it would be difficult to keep candles lit on a beach. Sure you can use glass hurricanes, and that would do a great deal to keep the breeze off of the flames but if you want to be assured the flame doesn’t go out, perhaps a sand ceremony is for you.

Much like in the candle version, someone speaks a bit about the meaning. The mothers, or whomever you choose, would hand each person getting married, a small bottle or glass container of coloured sand. It doesn’t matter who goes first but they pour the sand into a larger container. Then the other, with a different colour, pours theirs on top. If there are children involved, each child can be given their own colour to add. When finished, you end with a rainbow of colours signifying the new blended family. That large vessel could be painted with the family name, the date, or made to match your wedding or home decor.

The Water Ceremony

This time, instead of sand, the couple starts with two colours of water. Each pours them into another vessel simultaneously to produced another colour entirely, as though the two individuals blend together to form a new unit. This could be quite nice if you practice with colour blending ahead of time. You could make quite a nice colour pairing.

Also, and what might be fun to watch, is adding the inks in at the ceremony itself. This way you can watch as the swirls blend to reveal the colours before mixing to be a third.

The glasses, or whatever you use to hold the water, can be painted to match your decor.

The Tree Ceremony

Weddings are taking place in smaller locations. Parks, homes and friends backyards are popular destinations. As such, people are now having tree planting ceremonies during their weddings. Trees hold the promise of growth, transformation, and longevity. With love and nurturing, they become a shelter, a place to come home to.

Couples each bring a bucket of soil, and those buckets could be very nicely painted with flowers, names, or other memories. The tree can go into a previously chosen spot if at someone’s home. If not, a small planter partially filled with soil, will hold the sapling. Someone significant can place the tree on the table or simply have it there awaiting the couple then the couples each use their soil to fill it. Together, they take a watering can and water the tree, giving life to it and a new life together as a married couple.

Let’s Talk Wine

Will the wedding take place at a winery? In wine country? Maybe the couple simply enjoys wine. This would be a good choice. It takes some work but it’s not difficult. Ideally, one red and one white wine are chosen. The trick is to find two that will create a good blend.

After the ceremony, each of the wedding couple is given a half litre carafe one of the wines. They are then poured together into a one litre carafe. One the table should be two wine glasses. Together, the couple drink the new blend and make three toasts. One to their past, one to their present and one for their future.

To make things even more special, the guests could all have a glass of either the blended wine or something in the colour range. A parent could make the toast to the past. A friend could make one to the present and the couple or, someone special, could make one to the future.

If you decide to have the carafes and or wine glasses custom painted to your wedding decor or bouquet, you could keep them as souvenirs. Or you could give one carafe to each of the parents.

So How Is it Done?

After the vows are said and the rings exchanged the officiant calls for the Unity Ceremony. The explanation of the ceremony is giving by the officiant or someone chosen to do so. Ideally, couple stand behind the table so everyone can see what they are doing.

The following are some samples texts that could be used during the session.Of course, the wording can be altered for whichever ceremony is chosen.

As you light this candle today, may the brightness of the flame shine throughout your lives. May it give you courage and reassurance in darkness; warmth and safety in the cold; and strength and joy in your bodies, minds, and spirits. May your union be forever blessed.

The individual candles represent your lives before today. Lighting the center candle represents that your two lives are now joined to one light, and represents the joining together of your two families and sets of friends to one. Now you have lit a fire and that fire should not go out. The two of you now have a fire that represents love, understanding and a philosophy of life. It will give you heat, food, warmth and happiness.

The new fire represents a new beginning - a new life and a new family. The fire should keep burning; you should stay together. You have lit the fire for life, until old age separates you.

​Bride and Groom, together as you light this candle of unity, you symbolize the flame of your own individual selves joining to ignite the partnership of marriage. You also bring the warmth, strength and wisdom of your family’s fire as kindling for your own. Your flames are separate, yet they feed the same fire. From this day onward, may you bask in the beauty of the light of your love, may its light shine bright and steady upon your path together and may its heat keep you warm through all the days of your lives and beyond.

Fire is one of the basic elements on earth. Many ancient people worshiped it as the source of life itself. Throughout history, many different societies have used candle lighting to celebrate and acknowledge special holidays and events. For us, the light of these candles represents the foundation of love, its heat and its fragility. These three candles represent each one of you and your marriage. You will take your individual candles and light the large candle in the center, the candle representing your unity in marriage. Your individual selves will remain burning and bright even as you become unified in your lives together. Let the lighting of these candles reflect our thoughts on this day. Prior to this moment you each walked separate paths. Now as you light your candle, you embark on a marital partnership — a single path together. I did not write the scripts above. I included them for reference only.

Always ask your venue if they allow a Unity Candle Ceremony.

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