Wedding Planning Tip #70 » Unity Candle Ceremony

The lighting of a Unity Candle is to symbolize marriage as “two becoming one” has become an integral part of today’s weddings for many couples. The lited candles and lamps down through history, has played an important role in weddings, the Unity Candle, as a token for the marriage union, has become a popular custom only within the past 25 years.

Though its popularity has increased, little has been written concerning the ceremony’s use and significance for celebrating the marriage relationship. As a result, what has become a focal point in many services is often a symbolic act with little relevance for proclaiming the depth of married love.

The couple utilizes two individual tapers to light a larger, center candle, then extinguishes their two single ones, the primary emphasis on the “oneness” of marriage.

A second expression also utilizes two candles (or more if children are involved) to represent the bride and groom. After the couple lights the unity candle symbolize marriage as a union of two persons who also recognize and respect each other’s uniqueness.

When to use the unity candles in weddings?

Ceremonies in weddings describe in this article can be used both in formal and informal settings.

The lighting of the unity candle usually follows the pronouncement of the couple as husband and wife. After the guests have been seated at the beginning of the wedding service and prior to the wedding party’s entrance, family members or friends may come forward to light the individual candles of the unity candle set.

Another option is to light the individual tapers prior to the wedding, and include them in he duties of the candlelighter, or have the couple light them from the wedding altar candles at the time of the unity candle wedding ceremony. This latter option highlights the symbolism of God as Creator who gives us the gift of love to be shared with one another.

Parents may participate in the candle lighting ceremony by lighting a taper and handling it to their child(bride or/and groom). This symbolizes a family tradition being passed along, or parents may stand next to the nuptial couple as they light the tapers and unity candle.

Involving children from a previous marriage in the candle lighting wedding ceremony signifies the beginning of a new family unit. Children enjoy the feeling of togetherness when they are included.

The bride and/or groom may light the child’s taper as they light their own, either at the beginning of the wedding ceremony or just prior to lighting the unity candle. The child then helps light the unity candle with bride and groom.

Attendants to the wedding ceremony can participate by forming a semi-circle with the bride and groom, each holding a lighted taper when the nuptial couple lights the unity candle. This offers an additional importance to those chosen to be part of the wedding ceremony.

Special thanks to Dr. Roger Coleman, Clergy Services, Inc., Kansas City, Mo., for allowing us to use his blessings, ceremonies, and explanations Wedding Acts and Celebrating Adora

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