There are several aspects to every wedding ceremony; readings, music, the vows, the ring exchange. For many couples, an important piece to consider is a unity ceremony. A unity ceremony typically symbolizes two people (children may also be included) becoming one unit. Items used during this ceremony are often displayed in a couple’s home for years to come. You’ve probably heard of a unity candle ceremony, where the couple uses two individual candles (often lit by the couple’s parents prior to the ceremony) to light one larger candle. Sand ceremonies are also popular, with each person represented by colored sand. The couple pours the sand from small containers into one larger container, creating a piece of sand art. While these are the most popular unity ceremonies, they are by no means the only options! Here are some of our favorite alternative options:
- -A Twist on the Classics: Try a unity candle ceremony with a handmade candle that you made together. You can also hold a “reverse unity candle” ceremony, where each guest has a small candle, and, after lighting the main candle, the couple lights the candles of the wedding party who in turn pass the flame to the guests. By the end, every person in the room has a lit candle symbolizing the couple’s love. This works best in a dark or dimly lit venue. A sand ceremony can be done with sand collected from meaningful locations to the couple.
- -Plant a Tree or Pot a Plant: This is a beautiful way to symbolize a new relationship that will continue to be nourished and grow. To keep things neat, the plant should be mostly potted before the ceremony. You will need a small container of soil for each person as well as a watering can. If possible, the soil can be from a meaningful place for each person. While your officiant reads a passage explaining the symbolism (which you can find online or create your own), you should each add your soil and then water the plant together. You may want to wear an apron to protect your dress, and make sure there is a towel handy to clean your hands.
- -The First Fight Box/Time Capsule: Prior to the ceremony, write each other love letters. You’ll also need a bottle of wine (preferably from an important year such as the year you met), wine glasses, and a wooden box. During the ceremony, you will seal the love letters, wine, and glasses in the box and nail it shut. Some couples may also choose to include other items like photos or advice from their parents. The plan is for you to break open the box when you have your first big fight, drink the wine and read the letters to remind each other of your wedding day, and make up. Alternatively, you can call this a time capsule and choose a predetermined date to open it, such as your 10th anniversary.
- -Wishing Stones: Each person should collect a small stone (smaller than the palm of your hand) to give to their partner. During the ceremony, hold the stone and express your wishes for your partner, your future, and your marriage (this can be done quietly so it is private between the couple, or loud enough that guests can hear). You can also ask your officiant to bless the stones. Exchange the stones, and in the future, they will be a reminder of the love you felt and the wishes you shared on your wedding day. Some couples may choose to include stones from their parents, wedding party, and guests.
- -Create Your Own: The options for unity ceremonies are limited only by your imagination. Think about you and your future spouse’s hobbies and interests, the location of your wedding, and cultural traditions, and create your own unity ceremony that incorporates them. The sky is the limit!