Unity Ceremonies

A Unity Candle display has one large pillar candle in the center with a taper candle on either side.  The taper candles are lit by representatives of the couples families and then the couple uses those tapers to light the center pillar candle together.  This is a great way to encorporate family participation in your ceremony.   

The two taper candles represent each person getting married, their history and upbringing as well as who they are today. When the couples lights their candle together it represents the joining of the two unique individuals into one new synergistic  relationship. 

A unity candle ceremony may not be the best choice for an outdoor wedding.  Wind and/or rain can certainly be a negative factor to consider.  If at a venue, please inquire with them first, as some venues have restrictions on open flame.  

You’re welcome to bring our own unity candle, or order one from me.

Sand Ceremonies are a beautiful and visual way to represent the intermingling of your lives together.  Using different colors of sand, the couple pours into a single vessel.  Once combined, the sands can never be successfully separated.  Some couples choose to use an hourglass, and demonstrate turning of the hourglass, further incorporating the grains of sand.  Some allow their guests to place a spoonful of sand into their respective containers.  This represents all the family and friends who will now be shared with the couple.  The sand blending ceremony is another way you could include your children, by allowing them their own colored sand, or having them add to yours.  

 

A Ring Warming Ceremony is when the wedding rings are passed around during the wedding ceremony for each guest to add their positive thoughts and/or prayers to the rings.  The couple then takes that positive energy with them going forward in life. 

This is a beautiful and endearing way to include your guests at a small wedding.  As you can imagine, it is much harder to accomplish at a large wedding.  However, if you love this idea for your large wedding, I would suggest passing the rings along to the wedding party and first one or two rows (generally the closest family and friends) only.  

You should provide a beautiful carrier for the rings.  A small pouch, box, or other creative ring carrier makes a great vessel for the rings during the ceremony as well as a keepsake for the day.

A Tree Planting Ceremony is when a couple plants a tree together during their wedding to symbolize their marriage. The sapling is planted in fertile soil, given light and water and encouraged it to develop deep roots. You then allow it to grow and bear fruit, pruning when necessary. The same goes for growing a healthy marriage.  

While we certainly aren’t going to fully plant a tree, some ways to accomplish the tree planting ceremony is to have the sapling already planted in your yard, and the couple adds soil to it.  You can also use a tree or plant in a planter, and add soil and/or water.  If available, you can choose to use soil from your childhood home, symbolizing your past and your family roots.  You can plant a cactus if that is what holds meaning to you.  

If you are looking to include your children in the ceremony, the tree planting is another great option!

 

Blended Family Vows allows you to include your children in the taking of vows.  It looks a little something like this;

(Children’s name/s), you will have a share in this marriage, for your lives will be touched by the promises made by your parents today. Your participation will be needed to develop the bonds of this new family. We now ask you to promise that you will all join together to create a family of mutual help, respect, and support. We ask that you help to create a home and a way of life in which all of you may grow into the best people you can be.

In this spirit, will you pledge to continue to grow together and honor this new family for all the days that follow?

The children respond, “We will”.

Bride and Groom, as you give yourselves to one another in love and loyalty, will you also promise always to keep room in your new life together for (Children’s Name/s)? Will you commit yourselves to respect and honor them as individuals and members of this family? Will you pledge to cherish, encourage and tenderly care for them as long as they need you?

Parents respond, “We will”

(Optional jewelry/gift giving:)

As a symbol of the two families joined as one today, a special gift will now be presented to you.
As you receive your token of family unity, always remember the love that has brought all of you together and that will guide you and nurture you in the years ahead.

The Cord of Three Strands is a unity ceremony generally chosen by couples who are performing a Christian ceremony. It is based on the Book of Ecclesiastes Chapter 4 Verse 12 , but if a non-religious couple wants to braid three cords during their wedding ceremony they can give a different meaning to the third cord. That would be called The Unity Braid.
​If you prefer to just braid three cords together as a unity ceremony you can give those cords any meaning you want, or choose based on traditional color meanings.

Ecclesiastes 4: 7-12

7 Again I saw something meaningless under the sun:
8 There was a man all alone;
    he had neither son nor brother.
There was no end to his toil,
    yet his eyes were not content with his wealth.
“For whom am I toiling,” he asked,
    “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?”
This too is meaningless–
    a miserable business!
9 Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

A Handfasting Ceremony  requires the couple to join hands, symbolizing their free will to enter into the union. The handfasting cord or ribbon is then wrapped around their hands/wrists and knotted.  Handfasting does have Pagan origin but it is not required to be a practicing Pagan to take part in a Handfasting.  Since Handfastings aren’t religious, it  is a great option for couples who want to enjoy a spiritual but not religious ceremony.

The knot may be formed using a cord/rope, cloth, or braided ribbon.  If the Handfasting is intended to be the major component of your wedding ceremony, up to 6 ribbons may be individually recognized before draping, one at a time, onto the couples hands/wrists. Some traditional color meanings to keep in mind are;

  • White: purity, devotion, peace
  • Red: passion, love
  • Dark Blue: strength, longevity
  • Light Blue: health, patience
  • Gray: balanced
  • Black: wisdom, empowered
  • Green: fertility, luck
  • Yellow: charm, harmony
  • Orange: plentiful, kindness
  • Purple: progress, power
  • Pink: romance, happiness
  • Gold: unity, longevity
  • Silver: protection, inspiration
  • Brown: earth, home

I offer some Handfasting cords, or bring your own.

The Feet Washing Ceremony is an act of humility mirroring Jesus when he washed his disciples feet.  For a couple being married to wash each other’s feet as part of their wedding  symbolizes that neither is above the other.

Washing your spouse’s feet;  

  • Says I love you.
  • Shows that you honor and respect your spouse.
  • Demonstrates a humility of heart and character, kneeling before your spouse.
  • Communicates “I will be here for you through the muck and mud of life”.
  • Places you in a position of prayer (on your knees) a great place to be in marriage.

Having your feet washed;

  • Says you are loved
  • Shows you can receive your spouses support, and won’t “go it alone”
  • Communicates, “I will let you help me”
  • Places you in a position of power, which we need to remember we hold, so we don’t abuse it!

A feet washing ceremony, performed right after the “I do’s” allows the newly married couples very first act to each other to be one of servitude on utmost honor, both given and received.  

You’ll need a basin, two small towels and a vessel of water as well as a chair/seat.  You will take turns sitting, while the other washes and gently pats the feet dry.  It’s nice to have gentle music playing in the background during a feet washing.

Jumping the Broom signifies sweeping away the past and starting a new life as a married couple. It also signifies the freedom of a couple to choose who they love and commit to.  Slaves were not allowed to enter into legal marriage so they jumped the broom to publicly signify their commitment.  For this reason, jumping the broom in an African American wedding symbolizes the fact that love cannot be governed by unrighteous laws and lawmakers.  It is yours, freely, untameably, passionately yours.

The symbolism of a broom in Ghana was used to signify the wife’s willingness to clean the courtyard of the new home she had joined.  The couple did not jump the broom it was waved over their heads. 

​In the Celtic tradition, the broom is actually a Besom with is a type of broom that is made with twigs tied together with a strong pole.   The couple might hold hands and jump over the broom in the church after the priest pronounces them married.  The broom can also be laid at an angle at the entryway of their new home and they can take turns jumping over it.  (Or, the groom could jump over it while carrying the bride over the threshold.)  It is believed this tradition was introduced to the Celts by Gypsies, which leaves a lot of leeway for interpretation in a wedding joining together all sorts cultures and forms of spirituality.  

The couple may jump the broom separately or together at the end of their ceremony or as they enter their reception.  It is done with no speech or explanation, at most a simple announcement.

A Rose Ceremony can be a good way to honor the mothers of the couple.  And by “mothers,” I certainly mean mother, foster mother, mother figure, father, foster father, father figure or anyone so special within your life and upbringing, you wish to honor them during your ceremony.  In this fashion, the rose ceremony may be presented like this;

This wedding is also a celebration of family.

It is the blending of two families, separate up to this moment, but united from this day forward.

(Person 1) and (Person 2) wish to honor this blending of families by presenting a rose to their (mothers/parents/other) …to thank them for their wisdom, support, and for the unconditional love that has been so freely given to them throughout their lives.  Parents plant so that their children may harvest.  They welcome the pains and burdens of cultivation, in hopes of witnessing their children bloom.  With an abundance of love, (Person 1) and (Person 2) would like to present (mother/father/other) and (mother/father/other) with these single roses, to symbolize the culmination of your efforts, and remind you simply, plainly, daily, “you are loved.”  

You will need to provide single fresh roses (in water tubes, preferred.)

 

The Wedding Box or Time Capsule Ceremony is a nice option for couples who love to write.  Perhaps you want to write your own vows but don’t want to share them in front of everyone?  You can write them and put them in the box for a memory for later.  Perhaps a note to your future self?  

A wooden box, or box of some sort, is what you’ll need.  Being able to lock the box, or secure it in some way adds a very tactile element.  

Inside, the couple will place a bottle of red wine that ages well, or other spirits (or not!)  Their vows, love letters, promises, poems, or other meaningful trinkets and treasures.  

It is completely up to the couple to decide when to re-open their Wedding Box and relive the thoughts and memories of their special day.   Some couples open it on their first first anniversary, and add new thoughts and memos each year.  Others will wait until a milestone anniversary, and open it among friends and family.  The choice is entirely yours.

You may choose Another Symbolic Ceremony other than the many listed here.  If you are a couple who wants to create their own symbolism, or present me with another tradition to add to my hat of tricks, you are more than welcome to.  Your ceremony should represent you, and honor you in all ways.  I believe that, and I am more than willing and able to facilitate that for you.  

Always remember to consider your guests when creating your own symbolic ceremony.  A long, drawn out act or recital may have guests losing interest, or peeking at their phones.  

Your symbolic interlude should be relevant to you, as a couple, interesting and fun, and not too difficult for your audience to follow along.  

One of my Grooms serenaded his Bride.  

One of my Brides gifted her Groom.  

Often couples will have the officiant say a prayer, blessing, or remembrance for loved ones who have passed on.  This can be accompanied by a reserved seat, blowing bubbles to Heaven, having a moment of silence, a photo or jewel lovingly placed within the bouquet, wearing a piece of their clothing, or with a photo display.  

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