Unity Candle Ceremony

Gay wedding unity candle ceremony

I love the Unity Candle Ceremony. It is a really beautiful ceremony element and a lovely addition to any wedding ceremony. It is always special. I do it early in the wedding ceremony, at some point before the wedding vows. I invite a member from each family to come forward and light a candle for each spouse. Usually it is a mother, but can be any member of the family to represent the family.

Then after the vows the first act of the couple as a “married” couple is to light the centre candle together. It is lovely where the couple hold the taper together. It also makes for a lovely photo. 

Unity - Two Families Coming Together

The Unity candle ceremony symbolises the joining of the two families and the coming together of  the two individuals and the creation of a new family. Relationships will never be the same again and the candle is very powerful symbolically.

Flames are said to symbolise love and passion, and so in the context of a marriage they show the adoration that the couple has for one another. Lighting candles and joining them together is the physical representation of their enduring commitment, and the blending of their two families.

The Unity Candle Ceremony is a special way to show the joining of families, the merging of two people and the first steps as a blended family.
While the couple lights the Unity Candle, usually the Celebrant will say some beautiful words while music plays behind.

couple light Unity candle during wedding ceremony

Tradition, Symbolism and Ritual

Fire and light are age-old ceremonial symbols. It goes back for time immemorial. What better way to symbolise the joining of two souls than the merging of two lights? Light brings hope. Fire brings warmth. The light allows us to see what is beyond.

The Unity Candle Ceremony is a tradition that provides important symbolism for the couple. Arriving as individuals, each having forged their own pathway. Each individual with their individual achievements, hopes and dreams. You each arrive to bring these attributes to the marriage. You will share what is best in each other with each other. The single candles and the lighting of them signify all these individual traits, achievements and accomplishments. It is a special ritual.

From Generation to Generation...the unity continues

The lighting of the candles in the Unity Candle Ceremony not only signifies the individuals, but also the passing from one generation to another. This Candle Ceremony is a lovely way to get others involved. Your parents, or family members, can get involved and play a special part in your big day.  It also allows you to customise the ceremony. It expresses your own sentiment of what and who are important to you. 

You may wish to recognise an aunt, uncle, or an older person who has had an impact on your life. They could play a role here. No matter whether it is a parent, an aunt, an uncle, or a friend or friends or whether you the couple yourselves light the individual candles, the real magic then happens later. When the married couple light the centre candle and the light merges and mingles to become one.

You can buy a special candle for the occasion and keep it forever as a memento but an ordinary candle will work just as well.

Sand ceremony cork celebrant legal wedding ceremony at River Lee Hotel Cork

Basic Unity Candle Ceremony Outline

A member from each family is called forward. They will begin the Unity Candle Ceremony. Music may be playing in background, possibly something instrumental.

At the beginning of the ceremony the Celebrant will already have lit a candle in the ceremony space. This can represent source or where we have come from or all that is.

The family members light two candles, one for each partner.
Alternatively the two family members might light them and pass them to the couple for them to light the two outside candles. Or the Celebrant might also light them and pass them to the couple to light the individual candles.

The Celebrant talks about the meaning of the two candles, and the symbolism of two flames joining as one. The two families coming together as one and nothing will ever be the same again.

Later the couple will light the centre candle after they are married. This may be the first act the married couple make after getting married. It is best to do all the lighting with tapers for the Unity Candle Ceremony.

It makes for a lovely photograph.

When to do a Unity Candle Ceremony Element?

You can do a unity candle lighting ceremony at any time during the marriage ceremony. However I love to split it in two as it unifies the ceremony also. In the first part early on we get the two outside candles lit. Then after the couple have made their vows the second part usually fits seamlessly after the vow or ring exchange. It is almost like a continuation of these symbols of love and commitment already exchanged but in ethereal form.

If you decide to marry in Cork a Unity Candle Ceremony makes for a beautiful element to any wedding ceremony.

Check out my blog for some useful articles.

A Unity Candle forever?

You can go all out for your wedding and get specially made candles with your names on it. You could get someone else to give you them as a gift also. However, I am reminded of the traditional christening candles that never saw the light of day after the event. So if you are sentimental and want to keep it forever, go for it, if not ordinary candles will suffice for your Unity Candle Ceremony.

However, if you do go for a special candle it may be a nice way to celebrate the various milestones as a couple as you move forward through the years or when you need extra help in your marriage.

I came across the website below. I have never dealt with them but they do bespoke candles for weddings amongst other things.

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