Unity Candle Ceremony Overview
The unity candle ceremony is a relatively new addition to wedding ceremonies and started gaining prominence in the early 1990's. These ceremonies have been gaining popularity ever since and today you have a nearly limitless selection of both candles and ceremonies to accompany them.
The unity candle ceremony represents the symbolic joining of a two single people into a married couple, essentially embodying the very essence of the wedding. Two taper candles that represent the bride and groom are used to light a center pillar candle, symbolizing their marriage and their commitment to one another. As mentioned above, variations on the ceremony abound, making it easy to customize it to your fit in perfectly with the day you have planned.
Unity candles can be as varied as the ceremonies in which they are used. For a more traditional religious ceremony, candles featuring religious designs and inscriptions are often used, and are available in many different styles. For a less formal ceremony, candles are available with less traditional designs, many that feature patterns such as roses, a traditional symbol of love.
No matter why type of candles you choose for you ceremony, what matters most is that your unity celebration is tailored to fits your personal tastes.
Basic Unity Candle Ceremony
Although there are many variations, there is a "traditional" unity candle ceremony. The ceremony often takes place after rings are exchanged, but before the bride and groom are pronounced man and wife. The mothers of the bride and groom light the outer candles using pre-lit tapers. Using these outer candles, the bride and groom light the center candle. At this time, the bride and groom often take a few moments to exchange a few words, or present their mothers with flowers.
Originally, at the end of the ceremony each of the outer candles where extinguished, to symbolize the coming together of two lives as one. As the unity candle ceremony has evolved however, the bride and groom will often choose to leave the outer candles lit, to symbolize their unique selves and individualism, in addition to their new joined selves.
Unity Candles Ceremony Alternatives
Variations on the traditional unity candle ceremony abound. Often these variations deal with when the ceremony takes place. Having your ceremony at the beginning of the wedding can help to set the tone for your wedding as a celebration of the joining of two people. Placing it at the end can be a fantastic way to symbolically tie all of the different parts of the ceremony together, and add a special ending to the wedding itself.
Other variations include giving all of your guest's candles, lighting one, and then having your guests "pass" the flame along. When it reaches the bride and groom, it can be explained that the ceremony not only represents the joining of the couple, but the joining of their friends and family as well. If a couple would like to experience the symbolism of the ceremony, but not have to worry about the risks of working with a medium that isn't always 100% guaranteed (candles are notorious for not lighting under pressure), a flower exchange between the couple and their immediate families is often a beautiful alternative.