unity-candle-unity-ceremony

7 Unity Ceremonies to Consider for Your Wedding

See if featuring one of these rituals as part of your nuptials is right for you.

7 Unity Ceremonies to Consider for Your Wedding

Ceremony & Traditions
unity-candle-unity-ceremony
Photo: Catherine Hall Studios

wedding sand ceremony

Often planning the ceremony gets lost in the shuffle during the wedding-planning experience. As fun as your reception will be, it’s important to remember that your nuptials are the real purpose of the day. The problem with coordinating the ceremony is that it usually doesn’t seem like there is much to plan.

Perhaps you are writing your own vows, but if you are having a religious ceremony, the details tend to already be mapped out for you. However, if you are having a secular ceremony, you may be struggling to fill the time. Many couples choose to have a close friend or relative do a reading, but an additional option is having a unity ceremony between you and your future spouse. A unity ceremony is a ritual performed during a wedding that represents two people becoming one unit through their marriage.

There are several different methods of unity ceremonies, and you can even come up with your own! Below are some of our favorites, to offer you ideas or inspiration.

1. Unity Candle
The ceremony of the unity candle consists of the future newlyweds each holding a candle that, together, they use to light a large candle at the same time.

2. Planting a Tree
Perfect for alfresco nuptials, a couple can plant a tree at their wedding to represent how they’ll grow together. The symbol can even be planted at their new home, so they can watch it mature along with their relationship.

3. Tying the Knot
You may know the expression means marriage, but did you know a literal tying of a knot is used in many wedding ceremonies? The couple takes two pieces of rope, which are tied together using a fisherman’s knot – the strongest kind of knot.

4. Handfasting
Much like tying the knot, handfasting is a Celtic tradition in which the couple’s hands are fastened together via ribbon, braided cord, or a similar material.

5. Jumping the Broom
Another cultural ceremony is jumping the broom, which is a predominantly African American custom. The practice was started as an alternative to the marriage ceremonies that slaves were not allowed to have, and was reclaimed and popularized after the release of the novel and miniseries Roots. The newlyweds jump over a broom together before proceeding with their recessional.

6. Sand Ceremony
Especially popular for beach weddings but applicable for any nuptials, a sand ceremony has the couple pour their designated color of sand into a larger vessel, so that the sand can never be separated – much like the newlyweds.

7. Wine Box Ceremony
The couple places a bottle of wine, along with a letter they each wrote declaring their love for one another, in a box to be opened on their 10th (or whichever milestone anniversary the newlyweds select) anniversary. Alternately, if the married couple finds themselves in a rough patch, they can share the contents of the box to remind themselves of why they fell in love in the first place.

Learn everything you need to know about a sand ceremony here, discover the pros and cons of having a friend officiate your wedding, and see how to honor your mother at the ceremony. For more wedding ceremony ideas, click here, and browse our photo galleries for inspiring images from real weddings!

Opening photo by Melissa Mermin | Love Stories