Six Alternatives to a Unity Candle Ceremony

6 alternatives to a unity candle ceremony

Unity candle ceremonies are one of those things that I'd thought were a result of the Pinterest-ification of weddings. That is, until I remembered that my cousin did one at her wedding when I was a kid - well before Pinterest even existed. Its common enough, that unity candle ceremonies and their variations have a square on Wedding Bingo

In case you've never seen one, a unity candle ceremony takes place during a wedding ceremony and is physical act performed as a symbolic representation of 2 people coming together as 1. The Happy Couple each lights a candle (or has it lit by their parents) and then comes together to use those flames to light a third - the unity candle. 

One thing that I think has come about due to Pinterest and the internet more generally is a variety of unity ceremonies that have spun off from the candle idea. Here are some of those variations:

Sand Ceremony

Sand Ceremony Set on Etsy

One of the most popular alternatives is the sand ceremony. Instead of candles, you and your fiancé pour different colors of sand into a vase or shadow box, like this one from TheDreamWeddingShop. The individual colors of sand represent each of you as individuals coming together to form a new combined unit. In another twist, that sand can be poured into an hourglass to further represent the 2 coming together as 1 over time. 

Unity In Glass

Unity in Glass Vase

Unity In Glass has created something I've never seen before, and I think it's a much nicer keepsake than a candle. Instead of pouring sand, you and your fiancé pour glass crystals of various colors into a container. After the wedding, you send the collection back to the company where an artist blows the glass into a sculpture, vase, or bowl. 

Unity Painting 

Unity Painting Decal

Similar to the sand ceremony, you each brings a small jar of paint in different colors. Then each of you pour the paint down the front of a canvas and the paint colors mix and drop down the front. The result is a colorful keepsake. A decal like this one from LivelyLettering can be attached the the canvas before painting and then removed so the decal area remains white. 

Unity Plant

In this variation, you each pour a cup of soil from your homes (or childhood homes) into a planter and add a seed or tree sapling. The plant then grows from the combined soil, like your love. This planter pot from KnoxPotsCompany would be perfect because you can add your new family name and the year of your wedding.

Love Letters and Wine Box

In this unity ceremony, you and your fiancé each write a love letter and place it and a bottle of wine in a box like this one from RedHeartCreations. During the ceremony you hammer nails in together (or close a lock together) to seal the box. The box then serves as a time capsule to be opened and enjoyed on an anniversary (or during a rough patch). 

Unity Sandwich 

The funniest variation has to be this unity sandwich. Each layer of the sandwich represents a different part of marriage - bread as the foundation, Colby jack cheese as the families coming together, lettuce pulled from the head as their shared dreams, etc. The couple put it together then took a bite!

Unity Ceremonies Including Other Guests

While each of the ceremonies above involve only you and your fiancé and sometimes your parents, there are a few ceremonies that include guests. 

Unity Puzzle

Family Puzzle

This puzzle variation by PalmettoEngraving is great for weddings when the couple has kids. The couple’s names and the names of each kid are put on a puzzle piece. During the ceremony each person places their puzzle piece until the puzzle is completed. It symbolizes an entire family coming together as one. 

Ring Warming

This one is my personal favorite because it involves all your guests and instead of a separate keepsake, you just use your wedding rings. During the ceremony, the rings are passed among the guests. As each guest holds them, they make a wish for your happiness. You then exchanges the rings as usual, but they've been infused with each guest’s well wishes.

For more ideas like these, follow Littlehammer Games on Pinterest!

6 alternatives to a unity candle ceremony


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