Lots of couples who book me to be their Celebrant, decide to have various unity ceremonies. The unity candle ceremony is the most popular, but what is it and how can it be unique to each different wedding ceremony?
The unity candle ceremony is a mini ceremony performed during a wedding or vow renewal. It consists of two taper candles either side of a larger pillar or church style candle. Each of the taper candles represent the Bride and Groom or both members of the couple.
During the ceremony, the two tapers are lit from a tea light which I usually ask the Best man or chief Bridesmaid to light before the wedding ceremony starts. It can also be done at the start of the unity candle ceremony. The tapers are lit by either the couple, a family member or friend. Most couples ask their mothers to light the candle as it is a poignant gesture for them to represent their son or daughter’s life.
As they light the candles, the mothers are not only representing their children, they are also representing the heritage of their individual families. The couple each take the candle lit for them, and together they light the large unity candle. During this part of the ceremony, their first task as a couple, they are bringing together both personal and family attributes to create a heritage of their own.
The ceremony is the joining of two people from two families to make a new branch of each family. There are various different ways to represent each member of the couple and different words to perform the ceremony.
Candles can be personalised, themed or different coloured depending on a couple’s requirements. I have performed many different unity candle ceremonies, all unique to each couple. Steampunk, Goth, Rockabilly, Tim Burton and Pagan themes are some of the requests I have had.
Some couples choose to present the tapers which represent them to the person who lit them as a gift and keepsake of the ceremony. Some couples choose to also have another close family member to read the ceremony. There are so many different ways to make the unity candle ceremony personal. The ceremony can also be performed as part of an engagement, betrothal, handfasting or naming ceremony.