As there are various types of unity candle ceremonies, here are the explanations for the different types of ceremony.
Marriage as a gift
The first ceremony,”Let there be light,” uses more traditional religious language, viewing marriage as a gift of God that brings people together in a new creation. Marriage is the merging, over time, of the “you” and the “me” into the”we” – with a developing concern for others, the “us” that grows out of loving relationships. The one flame created by lighting of the unity candle signifies God’s gift of love that leads us into a new future.
Here marriage is celebrated as a shared experience in which people come together in ways that create a new potential for both persons. The motive is not self-gratification, but a response to God’s creating love, calling us to love in return.
Marriage as equality of relationship
The second unity wedding ceremony,” The two and the One,” is less traditional in language, focusing on marriage as a balancing of individual needs and mutual growth. The unity candle’s merged light becomes a symbol for equality as the basis for a growing love.
Both unity wedding ceremonies emphasize marriage as more than a union of two persons. Marriage is the merging of families and friends into a new, supportive community. Additional resources are included in this booklet, such as candle lighting by guests and a share prayer, to encourage participation and recognition of guests in the unity wedding ceremony.
Marriage as merging and expanding of families
Brides and grooms who have children and remarry may wish to involve their children in the lighting the unity candle to recognize the new family coming together. A third unity wedding ceremony, “Celebrating the New Family,” has been written for this purpose.
Because of the significance and complexity of merging families, it is recommended that, when children participate, the unity wedding ceremony includes a presentation of gifts, such as a Medallion.
Marriage as growing together
To become married is to initiate marriage. It is to begin the journey of merging and unifying goals and aspirations, not that identity will be lost, but that a new strength will be born.
To recognize marriage as a growing, evolving relationship to be continually celebrated and affirmed,
unity candles may be re-lit on each anniversary – as gifts are exchanged, memories shared, a joint activity planned, or a mutual desire fulfilled.