Wedding Ceremony Ideas: Alternative Unity Symbols

The most familiar unity ceremony is probably the lighting of the unity candle, to symbolize two people coming from their own families to become one new family. Typically, the mothers of the bride and groom first light two side candles, then the couple uses those side candles to light the center candle together. If you’re looking for a new twist on this tradition, we have some suggestions for you today!

If you’re getting married outdoors, consider a more convenient unity ceremony than the unity candle (believe me, even the slightest breeze makes the candle lighting tricky). A sand ceremony consists of two smaller vessels filled with different colored sand being poured into a central vessel together to symbolize unity. You can even customize the colors of the sand to match your wedding colors (check your local craft stores for colored sand)!

Here are some other basic ideas for unity ceremonies; take them and use your creativity to personalize them to something that truly reflects you as a couple:

    • Wine ceremony– Performed in a similar manner to the sand ceremony, but using wine glasses and wine instead, the couple sips the glass that has been poured together
    • Gift exchange– The couple exchanges a small wrapped gift, which should not be opened until a future anniversary, this symbolizes that they are giving themselves to one another, and that what the future holds cannot be known to them until it is revealed in time, and when it is, they will face it together
  • Letter exchange– The bride and groom trade letters that they have written to each other, this can be one letter each, or many letters to be opened on significant future anniversaries, include hopes and dreams for the future and memories from the present day to share again later, families can also contribute letters to the couple if desiredI hope this gives you some inspiration for your own wedding unity ceremony! Have you seen any unique unity ceremonies at weddings you’ve been to? Please email information to

Written by: Susan Southerland of Head over Heals blog

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