The lighting of a Unity Candle is a relatively recent addition to the traditional wedding ceremony. It is performed to symbolize the joining together of the two families, and their love for the bride and the groom, into one united family that loves the new husband and wife. More often it symbolizes the union of two individuals, becoming one in commitment.
The unity candle ceremony uses two taper candles with a large pillar candle (called the "unity candle") in the center. At the beginning of the wedding ceremony, a representative from each family (usually the mothers of the bride and groom) light the two taper candles. Later in the ceremony (usually after the formal vows), the bride and groom use the two taper candles to light the large pillar (unity) candle together.
The lighting ceremony may be accompanied by special music, an explanation of the symbolism, or just some period of mutual gazing by the happy couple. In some circles, it is customary for the couple to save the unity candle and relight it on anniversaries.
Note: The use of unity candles is a very recent tradition, and while the use of unity candles has become widespread, it is prohibited in some churches. If you wish to include this ceremony in your wedding, you should check that its use is permitted in your chosen venue.
A Unity Sand Ceremony is a more lasting memento than the traditional candle lighting ceremony. In a sand ceremony, the bride and groom are instructed to each pour sand into a vase either one at a time or simultaneously, whilst a few words are read aloud. The sands are considered to be symbolic of the couple and their union of marriage.
A range of candle sets, sand vases, frames and coloured sands are available to match with your colour scheme. Suitable for both church weddings and civil ceremonies, after the event, the sand can be kept in the vase or frame as a lasting memento of the day.