The Unity Candle Ceremony is a popular choice for both religious and non-religious ceremonies because it is non-denominational and has no religious significance.
The two outer candles represent your individual lives before today. They represent all that you are from your vast experiences, and they represent your individual families. As you each take a single candle and light the center candle, you will extinguish your individual candles.
Often the Bride will blow out the Groom’s taper candle and the Groom will blow out the Brides taper candle. This represents the closing of the chapters in your individual Books of Life and the beginning of new chapters as you begin to write a new book of Life as wife and husband!
Another way to do this is to allow the two taper candles to continue to burn. By allowing the flame of the two taper candles to remain lit, it represents that the Bride and Groom accept the individuality of each other as a means to fulfilling their commitment to one another.
Alternatively you could have your friends and family participate, give everyone a candle as they enter. When lighting the Unity Candle, each of you turn and share your light with the first row of seated guests on your side. Let the guests share the flame from their own small candle with the person sitting next to them until all the candles are aglow and you are pronounced wife and husband. The minister can suggest that everyone make a good wish for the Bride and Groom and blow out the candles.
If you are creating a new family you may want to include the children in the lighting of the Unity Candle. Often this is done by having the bride and groom light the candle for the children and then everyone lighting the center candle together. This is an excellent way to involve children from a previous marriage.
Having your unity candles personalized will add a special dimension to the ceremony and may reflect the themes and colours of your wedding – Hand crafted wedding candles will be as original and unique as yourselves –
You might consider including children’s names, gift candles for your parents and bridesmaids (and groomsmen too!) ,memorial candles remembering deceased loved ones, favours for your guests and even décor at your wedding reception – consider having personalized globe candles that won’t burn away and can be used again in your home, reminding you of that very special day.
Tip: Make sure that there aren’t any decorative beads, ribbon or lace around the candles – they can easily catch fire. Consider pre-lighting the taper candles and the Unity candle to make them easier to light in outdoor ceremonies. If your ceremony is outdoors, always have several extra lighters nearby in case the wind decides to blow the candles out. Putting the Unity Candle inside a glass hurricane lamp or using Globe candles can be very helpful in protecting the flame from the breeze.
There are other “unity ceremony” traditions that might appeal to others including
Rose Ceremony: A simple unity ceremony where the bride and groom exchange roses. Other variations: the families exchange roses, the bride and groom exchange roses with their families, the bride and groom exchange roses, then present their mothers with the roses.
Wine Ceremony: The bride and groom each take a carafe of wine and pour it into a single glass, which they both drink from.
Water Ceremony: The couple each pour a different colored water into a single glass, creating a third color.
Sand Ceremony: similar to the water ceremony, the bride and groom both pour different colored sand into a glass.
Salt Ceremony: Indian weddings often include a salt ceremony, where the bride passes a handful of salt to her groom without spilling any. He then passes it back to her and the exchange is repeated three times. She then performs the salt exchange with all the members of the groom’s family, symbolizing her blending in with her new family.
Breaking Bread Ceremony: The bride and groom tear off pieces of bread, and then each eat a piece. Sometimes the bread is also shared with family and friends. It symbolizes their future as a family together.
Garland Ceremony or Lei Ceremony: The bride and groom exchange garlands of flowers. This is a common part of Indian weddings, where the ceremony is called varmala or jaimala, and represents a proposal by the bride and acceptance by the groom. It also represents their new unity, blessed by nature. In Hawaian weddings, the bride and groom typically exchange leis. The families may also exchange leis with the couple. Leis represent the love and respect you have for the person you are giving it to, and the unity of the new family.
Circling: In Eastern European ceremonies, the bride and groom circle the altar three times, which are their first steps together as husband and wife. In Hindu ceremonies, couples circle the fire seven times, sealing their bond. The unbroken circle represents the unbroken committment to each other.
Broom Jumping: An African-American tradition that has its roots in slavery times when slaves couldn’t marry. Typically the family places the broom on the ground, and the bride and groom jump over it together. The broom can then decorate a place of honor in their home.
Lasso Ceremony: Lasso or rope is placed around the bride and groom’s shoulders, usually by the officiant. Sometimes rosary beads, or orange flowers are used instead of rope. It can also be placed around the couple’s necks, or wrists.
Celtic Oathing Stone The couple holds or puts their hands on a stone during their vows to “set them in stone (this may be where this phrase comes from!)
My favourite alternative is
Truce Bell. A bell is rung on the wedding day, the happiest day of the couple’s lives and then is placed in a central location in the home. If the couple starts to argue, one of them can ring the truce bell, reminding them both of that happiness and hopefully ending the disagreement quickly!
Here are some wedding reception candle ideas
Candle light is perfect for an evening or night time wedding, you don’t necessarily have to have flowers, but you do need to have candlelight. It adds a lovely incandescent glow and sets an intimate and romantic tone. You can put votive candles directly inside flower arrangements for a wonderful sparkling effect. Adding light to a flower gives it a really nice glow.
Candles can stand on their own, or in simple hurricane vase or votives that shield them from the wind. Globe candles can be used again and again – the wax globe remains while the candle burns within – you can have the globe personalized with design, names or appropriate quotation – the design and text will be illuminated adding a uniqueness to the display.
Reception candles can also be used to underline the architecture of a building or the shape of a pool, or by running along steps or pathways to invite you guests into a space.
What ever way you decide to decorate, keep it in scale with the space. Engage all the senses. Think about how things will look, feel and smell. Scented candles, fragrant flowers and greenery, and rich fabric will create a quality that is rich and sensual.
Lucky winner of prize will receive unique personalized Wedding Candle Premium Set (worth approx €300) which will include Unity candles (set of 3 candles) in a custom made personalized box for safe keeping, remembrance candle (if required), gift candles for parents. bridesmaids / groomsmen and Small personalized Globe candle for the Main table at the wedding reception. Closing date for the competition is 5th February 2012 with the Carlow Nationalist