Illuminating Unions: Different Unity Candle Wedding Ceremonies
In recent years, the unity candle wedding ceremony has grown to be a popular way for couples to symbolize their unity. But this tradition in the making currently has many variations, which is not a bad thing, because this way you can customize this ceremony to fit your tastes without worrying about breaking any wedding mores.
Probably the most popular unity candle ceremony is the one in which the bride and groom light two tapers and then take their individual tapers and together they light a middle one. In this ceremony, the individual tapers can be lit at the beginning of the wedding and then the middle one can be lit at the end to signify the two coming together as one. You can also do the entire ceremony at the end of the wedding if you do not want your individual tapers to get too drippy. After this ceremony, you can blow out the individual tapers to symbolize that you are giving your whole self to your loved one, or you can leave them lit to show that you are committed to your partner but still retain your individual qualities.
The unity ceremony is also a great way to involve significant family members into the wedding ceremony. This is an especially lovely way to include any children that the couple might have. What happens is that the children light the individual tapers and then the couple takes those candles and light the center one with them. This is a beautiful way to symbolize the unity of the entire family. Sometimes couples like to include older relatives in this way as well, letting the mothers or grandparents light the individual tapers.
Some couples like to let the entire audience in on this ceremony by providing them with tapers as they enter, and then at the designated time, lighting the first guest’s candle, and then letting that guest light the next one’s, and so forth. Once everyone’s candle is lit, the bride and groom light the center candle.
Many couples also like to have what is called a family candle in their wedding. The family candle can be lit either during the wedding or at the reception. In this event, there are several candles surrounding a center one. The family members light their individual tapers and then, together, light the center one.
There are many ways to perform this ceremony, and you can even come up with your own variation, in any case – it is a great way to include special people into your wedding and a lovely way to symbolize the love of two coming together as one.
Understanding the Unity Wedding Candle Ceremony
Sometime during the 1990’s, the unity candle ceremony became a big part of weddings, and while it is a fairly new practice, dating back to around the 1970’s, it is becoming more and more popular. Because it is so new, however, couples are still unsure of exactly what it is. And since it is so new, it is still being formed and defined, which adds to the confusion. The youth of the unity candle ceremony lends it to many possibilities; this is a part of the wedding ceremony where you can have a little freedom since it is not set in stone. What is true is that it is a lovely way to symbolize the union of two people or two families.
The actual unity candle has three tapers or three wicks, and the ceremony consists of the lighting of two side tapers, and then the lighting of the middle one with the two side tapers. The question of who lights the individual tapers is up to you to answer.
This is a way to not only bring two individuals together, but also a way to represent the union of two families. And for this reason, many couples choose to have other family members light the individual tapers. One popular version of the unity ceremony is to have the mothers light the individual tapers, and then the bride and groom use the tapers to light the middle taper. Couples who have children often have their kids light the individual candles to represent the union of two families. Sometimes, the grandparents are asked to light the tapers. And of course, if choosing between all these different family members is too difficult, you and your spouse to be could simply light the individual tapers yourselves.
Another thing you will want to consider is when the individual candles will be lit. On one hand, you could light them at the beginning of the wedding ceremony and then unite them at the end. While this is lovely, sometimes the tapers melt down quite far during long ceremonies and can look messy at the end, so if your ceremony is going to be a long one, you may want to wait until the end of the wedding ceremony to perform the entire unity candle ceremony.
You will also want to plan out what to do once the middle candle is lit. In more traditional ceremonies, couples extinguish the individual tapers to signify giving up their individual lives to become one. Some couples, on the other hand, prefer to keep the lit to symbolize that they are coming together as one, but without losing their individuality.
While the ceremony is truly a beautiful way to bring the union of two together, it is a good idea to check with your minister or rabbi (if you are getting married in a church or synagogue) before scripting it into your ceremony. This is because some religious leaders, especially stricter Catholic and Jewish ones, will not include the unity candle into a wedding ceremony because it is not a part of the traditional litany. If you can plan it into your wedding, I am sure that you and your guests will find it to be a meaningful and lovely way to demonstrate the purpose of the most special day.