Looking for unity-ceremony ideas that represent the magic of two becoming one? Tying the knot and lighting a unity candle are two of the most popular ideas, but there are many more—even some that stray beautifully from tradition.
What Is a Unity Ceremony?
A unity ceremony is a symbolic ritual woven into the wedding ceremony. Among the most common unity ceremonies are the unity candle, handfasting, and circling.
Read on for 12 ideas to incorporate into your wedding, marking the blending of two lives into one!
1. Releasing a Wish Lantern
During this unity ritual, the couple releases a paper lantern into the air, allowing their love to pass into the universe as one.
2. Lighting a Unity Candle
The candle-lighting ceremony usually involves the couple lighting one large candle from two smaller family candles lit by each of their mothers, representing the merging together of two families.
3. Lasso Ceremony
Also called "el lazo," this ritual—traditional in Mexican, Filipino, and Spanish cultures—takes place after the vows have been said. At that time, the officiant (or whomever the couple has designated) drapes a floral garland or rosary around the couple, twisting it into an infinity symbol. At the end of the ceremony, the bestower of the lasso removes it and the couple saves it as a symbol of their love and unity.
4. Creating an Anniversary Capsule
The time-capsule ceremony is a reminder of the durability of your love and the lifetime commitment of marriage.
Before the ceremony, the couple should gather up important mementos from their relationship: ticket stubs, hotel room keys, notes, cards, etc. In addition, each should write a love letter to each other.
During the ceremony, all these tokens of love are sealed up in a box, and the couple can open it on their five-, 10-, or 20-year anniversary. The time-capsule ceremony can also include friends or family who are invited to bring photos, letters, or keepsakes to seal in the time capsule.
Handfasting comes from an ancient Celtic tradition wherein the bride's and groom's right hands are bound together during a portion of the wedding ceremony, symbolizing their commitment to each other.
6. Pouring Sand
The couple takes turns pouring colored sand from personal vases into another vase, where they blend their sand together to make a beautiful display. This is one of the best unity-ceremony ideas for blended families, as children can also add sand to the family vase.
7. Glass Pouring
This blended-family-friendly unity ceremony is a bit more complicated: The couple pours colorful glass crystals into a display container either before or after saying their vows. They then send the combined crystals to Unity in Glass, a Texas-based glass-blowing studio. Once it's there, an artist uses the crystals to create a one-of-a-kind glass sculpture, which is then shipped back to the couple. The artistic representation of the couple's union becomes a decorative part of their home together.
Although the most well-known Jewish wedding tradition involves breaking a glass, there's another one that gets both soon-to-be-spouses involved. Each partner takes a turn circling around the other, typically seven times each. This symbolizes the creation of a new family and the circle of protection and love each is placing around the other.
9. Braiding of the Cross
This ceremony idea comes from Christian tradition, based on Ecclesiastes 4:12: "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." Each strand of the braid represents the bride, groom, and God and the unending bond and strength between the three.
10. Blending Paint
Artsy brides and grooms can each choose a different color of paint and pour it onto a single canvas, creating a modern-art representation of their marriage.
11. Beer (or Wine) Pouring
The couple chooses two different yet compatible beers or wines and pours them into a glass to create a perfect blend, then drinks the blend together. This can also be done with tea for a dry wedding.
12. Tree Planting
A creative nature-inspired idea is to plant a tree together, adding soil (perhaps gathered from both of your hometowns) to a potted plant to symbolize your union. Like the tree, your relationship will need love and care to grow and bloom.