Unity Rituals

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 your 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.  


420 Ceremony sometimes a double bong or combining of different strains of cannabis are used during a 420 friendly ceremony.

A Ring Warming is performed by having the guests pass the rings from one to another, adding their blessings and/or positive thoughts as it moves along.  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.

Tea Serving is traditional in Asian culture, and the couple shows respect to their parents and heritage when they incorporate this act in their ceremony.

A Tree Planting 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 ritual 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 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.

A Norse Handfasting Blessing
As your hands are now bound together,
So your lives are joined
In a Union of love and trust.
The eternity knot of this binding
Symbolizes the vows you have made.
Like the stars, your love should be
A constant source of light.
And like the Earth,
A fine foundation from which to grow.

May this knot of love be forever tied,
And may these hands be blessed.

May they always be held by one another.
May they have the strength to hold on tightly
During the storms of life.

May they remain tender and gentle as they nurture each other.

A Grounding Ceremony is performed barefoot.   The couple (or the whole wedding party) utilizes their bare feet on the ground to connect with Mother Earth. It is a personal affirmation that we are not in nature; we are of nature. We are part of the Earth, and reinforcing that connection is comforting, refreshing, and helps keep us stable.  This may also be referred to as “Centering” or “Earthing.”

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.)

Tying the Knot is another type, or segment of a handfasting, where a cord or ribbon is draped or wrapped around the couples hands/wrists.

When “Tying the Knot,” the couple participate in the actual tying of the knot, symbolizing the strength in their union.

I offer some Handfasting cords, or bring your own.

The Wedding Box or Time Capsule is a fun 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.

A Wine Blending is the simple act of pouring two wines into one or two wine glasses.  This is most often performed by the couple, but can be done by parents or other special people.  The couple then sips the wine together.

A Shotski allows the couple to celebrate just after their vows, with a shot of their favorite liquor.  The two shots are placed in the ski, and consumed simultaneously.   Larger shotskis can be used to include more people in this ritual.

An Oathing Stone is a Scottish / Celtic tradition from olden days. Simply stated, the couple holds hands, enclosed around a stone during the vow exchange. In this way, they are able to have a visual, and deeply symbolic way to show their commitment. The tradition pre-dates wearing rings forged from metal.
Another way to perform this honored tradition is with guest participation. In a small wedding, guests pass the stone from one person to another, to be warmed in hands while a special blessing or wish is bestowed upon it. A different version, and one that lends it self to a larger audience, would be to have a pile of stones for guests to choose one, warm it in hand with their wish or blessing for the couple, and lay it at a designated space. The base of a tree, in a vessel, or along the alter route are some good choices.

Certificate Signing is done by 2 witnesses, and is required in the state of RI.  Although signatures are usually obtained after the ceremony, you can incorporate this act into the ceremony.   I do provide each couple a decorative certificate, with a place for signatures.  Since it is decorative only, it is appropriate for anyone, regardless if your state requires witnesses or not. 

Creating a ritual space   

  • Calling in the Directions means acknowledging, welcoming, and thanking in prayer the energies associated with each direction/element and asking them to join in the proceedings to offer support and guidance.

Hear me Guardians of the East, the element of Air.
We call to you tonight with open heart and clear voice to offer thanks…
For the wind that brings inspiration and plays with our thoughts…
For the ability of communication that offers us with the power of understanding…
For the new dawn that greets us and offers a place to begin anew.
For the moments of poetry, song, and story that blossom within.
We thank you for the breath that gives us life.

Guardians of the South, the Element of Fire…
We offer our thanks for bringing us the long days of summer so that we may enjoy evening sunsets over the river…
For inspiring us to explore new expressions of our creativity while still embracing the arts we love…
For lighting the passions within, so that we may connect more deeply with the world around us…
For delivering us the strength and courage we need to open ourselves to all that life brings…
We thank you for the spark that burns within us all.

Guardians of West – Element of Water
We call you today to thank you for the gifts you give to our lives
Because water is always surrounding us
From our mother’s womb to the waves of the ocean
From a sprinkle of rain to an intense waterfall
The blood in our veins and the tears in our eyes
You give us emotions, love, dreams, imagination
You cleanse us and heal us
Thank you for being here with us today and always
We honor and we thank thee.

Guardians of the North, Powers of Earth,
We thank you for your gifts and blessings in our lives,
The food that nourishes us,
The homes we live in.
We give thanks for our bodies and their abilities to sustain us,
To feel pleasure,
And to dance upon the Sacred Ground.
We honor and thank thee,
Powers of Earth!

  • Smudging/Saging is a way to release negativity from both people and places.

During a smudge, leaves or stems from one of the four sacred plants are ignited.  The flames are then gently blown out to allow a billowy, smoldering smoke, which is wafted over the person, or area, either by hand or feather.  A person who is being smudged pulls the healing smoke to them and gently inhales. The ashes traditionally are returned to mother earth by disposing them outside on bare soil – it is believed that the negative thoughts and feelings have been absorbed by the ashes.

  • Using moonwater 

Making moon water is a useful tool in setting intentions and positive energy.  It is commonly ingested, bathed in, sprayed, and fed to plants.  During a ceremony, it can be poured in a circle around the couple and wedding officiant to create a safe space and manifest a powerful commitment.


The Feet Washing Ritual 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.

A Hand Washing has some similarities to the feet washing ritual, but is generally an easier task at the alter.  No sitting or removing footwear is required.  Just a pretty bowl of water, sometimes fresh lemon or river rocks for aesthetics.  One will dip their hand, the other will pat it dry, and repeat. 

You may choose Another Symbolic Ritual 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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