A wedding is all about traditions, customs, and symbolism. Almost everything done at a wedding is a part of a bigger picture which paints the picture of the bride and groom’s love for each other. While many parts of the wedding ceremony are custom to the denomination, there are some rituals that you can incorporate that will make your wedding uniquely yours.
Here are a few unity rituals that you might consider.
In the Unity Candle Ceremony, couples use two lit taper candles (symbolizing their individuality) to light one big candle as a symbol of their two lives becoming one in commitment. It symbolizes the joining of two families and is typically done after the bridal couple say their vows.
The ritual actually begins with the couple’s mother are escorted to their seats. Each mother approaches the unity candle station and lights a candle to represent her family. It is also okay to have the bride and groom light the individual candles. The bride and groom then take these separate candles and use them to light one larger candle.
Whether or not you extinquish the two smaller candles after the ceremony is up to you. Some couples choose to extinquish the candles as a symbol that their old life is gone and they are fully committed to their new one. Other couples choose to leave the individual candles lit, symbolizing that while they are a couple they are still two unique individuals.
The Unity Boquet is another wedding ritual that borrows from the concept of the unity candle. During this ritual, the mothers of the bride and groom are given a boquet of flowers which they carry down the aisle with them. They then place the flowers into a side vase before being seated. Later, at some point during the ceremony, the bride and groom are instructed to combine the flowers together into one larger vase creating a special “unity bouquet.” The choice of flowers you use is up to you, just make sure no one is allergic.
The Sand Ritual, also know as the crystals ritual, is very similiar to the Unity rituals, only sand is substituted for the candle. During the
ritual, the bride use sand, colored sand, salt, or some other type of crystaline material usally in two contrasting colors. The sand is placed into two separate vials, which represents the person’s childhood and life before the marriage. The bride and groom then pour the crystals into a larger vessel, symbolizing how their two lives have now become one.
The sand ritual is a great alternative to the unity candle, especially when circumstances make the unity candle impracticle such as wedding outdoors. The exact origin of this ritual is unknown. Some claim that it began with the Native Americans, while others believe it began in Hawaii. One of the best things about the sand ritual is that it gives the bride and groom a permanent keepsake from their wedding.
The Covenant of Salt ceremony is similar to the sand ritual, but with a more religious background. In the Bible, when a contract was made, each party put a pinch of salt into the pocket of the other person. It was said that when each grain of salt could be sorted, identified, and returned to the rightful owner, the contract could be broken. Today, partners each take a vial of salt, and pour their salt into a container, joining the grains together for eternity.
The wine ritual is a Far Eastern ritual that involves two glasses, one filled with sweet wine and one filled with bitter wine (in actuality the driest wine that can be found). During the wedding, the bride and groom drink from both cups, symbolizing that they are agreeing to share both the bitter and the sweet. Unlike the Jewish tradition, the glasses are not broken afterwards.
I have included a sample of what can be said during this ritual below.
In Scripture, wine has rich symbolic meaning. In the Old Testament, wine, along with flour for baking and oil for cooking, represents the good, blessed life under God’s loving care. In the New Testament, wine represents Christ’s miracle at Cana as well as the new life that needs to be poured into new Christian lifestyles. The taste of this wine is sweet and fit for a “joyful heart” Wine also represents the dark side of life.
The Scriptures have many warnings about the misuse of wine. The psalmist calls the circumstances that bring us down and humble us “a cup in the hand of the Lord full of foaming wine mixed with spices” (Ps. 75:8).
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was asked to drink from that cup. The taste of this wine is bitter and fit for “those who are in anguish” (Prov. 31:6). With eyes wide open to all that life brings, from wonderful experiences that leave you breathless to terrible experiences that leave you short of breath, and everything in between, I invite both of you to drink from the sweet and the bitter wines before you today.The bride and groom drink from each glass.
With this symbol, you have declared before the Lord and all who are gathered here that you will remain faithful to each other in sickness and in health, for better or worse, whether your hearts are glad or sad. We praise God for your commitment and promises to each other.
Choosing the right music can be tricky for unity rituals. You want to choose music that emphasizes the ritual itself and does not take focus away from it. Ordinarily, one would shy away from using a soloist during this time because of that fact. However, with the right song, the soloist can actually add emphasis to the ritual. We’ve tried to find some of the best songs–both instrumental and vocal–to help you make your choice. For your convenience, we have compiled the songs in a playlist, making it easy for you to listen to a sample or purchase a song.A detailed list of the songs is provided below the playlist.