1+1=1 (aka Unity)

Though I normally embrace most wedding traditions, one thing I just can't get into is the unity candle. To me, it's become cliche and has lost the power behind the symbolism for which it stood. While I knew it would not be something we included in our marriage ceremony, I want to do something...but what to do?

With a little investigation, I found quite a few appealing alternatives to the unity candle phenom. Granted, some aren't great for our particular wedding, but I thought I'd share the options I've found, just in case you too are looking for a different symbol of unification for your ceremony. Have any other cool ideas or nuggets of your culture's tradition that you'd like to share? Please share the love!

Ah yes, the unity sand ceremony. I think it is the most popular alternative to the unity candle, but wow. That poor sand is sincerely abused. One itty bitty piece of advice? Please. Don't use bright colored sand. It's too garish and tacky for a wedding. I don't care if it matches your wedding colors, it's ugly and looks like a 5-year-old's art project. Yes, I said it because no one else would (aside from maybe David Tutera.) Fear not, dear brides-to-be! Look at the lovely sand option above. Yes, it's still sand, but it's chic sand (and if there's such a thing, this has to be it.) If you insist on sand, try to stick to the neutrals. They just look better (unless you are going for garish, then embrace your inner kindergartner!) Also to note, sand is best used for beach and outdoor weddings..unless you are really ridiculously careful and/or use a funnel..need I say more?

{Courtesy: RevSingleton.com}

My wine-making and loving grandfather would roll over in his grave with this one...
Yes, darlings. The mixing together of red and white wine and then drinking it. Clearly, not for vino connoisseurs, but it has a unique quality to it. Would be perfect for a vineyard or wine country wedding, n'est pas?

{Courtesy: NCBuy.com}

Personally, I think this is pretty, wedding-appropriate and isn't messy. I'm a fan. And who says you have to stick to red and white roses? Heck, maybe you have kids -- stick a couple pink ones in to represent your wee tots to include them in a special way.

{Courtesy: Leis of Hawaii}

I like the powerful simplicity of the lei exchange in a wedding. Rich in cultural significance, it would add beauty to any beach or Hawaiian wedding. This ceremony presents a great opportunity to work in symbolism of certain colors and your wedding colors, too.

{Courtesy: jwatkins.org}

"Tying the Knot" or handfasting is an ancient unity ritual and, despite popular belief, it is not only for Ren Faire or Wiccan weddings, though popular at both. Handfasting has a very interesting history (read a short version here.) Fr. Sean from Saint Colman of Lindisfarne Celtic Catholic Church Riverside, California puts it in perspective, "Hand-fasting is a symbol used in Celtic and other cultures to express marriage. It is non-religion-specific, meaning it is not pagan or Christian. It is just human. The symbol can be used by anybody, since it expresses part of the reality of matrimony." I couldn't agree more, Padre.


hennhouse said...

We had a unity candle with ivy under the wax. (It matched our invitations which also had ivy.) However, because our parents had been married a collective 55 years (75 now!) we used candles that they lit. Long story short though, we got married outdoors in a downpour, so the whole candle thing kind of fizzled. We get our candle out every year and burn it on our anniversary.

Eve said...

That sounds so lovely and special! I'm really glad to hear you made it your own and memorable with your parents' candles. I can't think of anything better for a unity candle ceremony. Thanks for sharing!

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