When you are having an outdoor wedding, the traditional unity candle ceremony is just not an option (need we say it...wind). So many of our brides begin the search for unity candle alternatives. Even our indoor brides are looking for a unity ceremony with a little twist. We've put together 11 of our favorite wedding unity ceremony ideas, and we must say, we think you will have a hard time deciding. They are all pretty great.
1) Sand Ceremony
Source: Sand Ceremony Shadow Box Set
Made popular by outdoor and beach weddings, sand unity ceremonies are undoubtedly the most popular alternative to the traditional unity candle ceremony. Great for windy locations, you won't have to worry about a flame flickering and going out. How does it work? The bride and groom each have their own color sand which is then poured together to represent the blending of their two lives. Variations include adding additional sand colors for children and/or the officiant.
2) Love Letter Ceremony
The love letter ceremony is a romantic concept that involves both the bride and groom writing letters to each other listing all the reasons why they fell in love. The letters are then sealed and placed in a box along with a bottle of wine to be opened either on a set anniversary date or in times of hardship (which is why this concept has also been dubbed a "fight box"). The couple would then open the box to read the letters to each other and drink to their marriage. Afterwards, you can write new letters to be sealed and opened on a future anniversary.
3) Make a Time Capsule
Similar to the love letter ceremony, the time capsule box is meant to be sealed and opened either on an anniversary or during times of hardship. Instead of letters and a bottle of wine however, this concepts goes one step further to include well wishes from guests, along with sentimental items from the bride and groom's courtship years. Open the box to reflect on your marriage and then add new items to reseal into a brand new time capsule.
This unity ceremony idea goes out to our rustic and country brides. Why not create your own brand to display in your home after the wedding. Very country chic.
5) Plant a Tree
6) Reverse Unity Candle
This is by far one of our favorite unity ceremony ideas. A small twist on the traditional unity lighting ceremony, the reverse unity candle involves all the guests and we can almost guarantee there won't be a dry eye in the crowd. How it works: After the bride and groom light the main unity candle, they continue down into the pews to begin lighting the candle of the maid of honor and best man, who then continue passing the flame one by one until every candle in the crowd is lit. The result is a magical room of candlelight that unites the bride and groom with their family and friends. We especially love this reverse unity ceremony idea for evening weddings or dimly lit venues where it will have the most impact. (For larger weddings, the bride and groom can opt to continue down the aisle lighting the first candle at the end of each pew to help speed the procession).
For garden, summer, or spring weddings, a tree planting ceremony falls right in line and represents the strong roots of your marriage.
7) Wine Ceremony
Blend your two lives together as one with this twist on the traditional unity ceremony. Like a good wine, a marriage will only ripen and grow stronger with age. Seal the same brand of wine along with a few mementos in a box to enjoy later on your 1st, 5th, or 10th anniversary.
8) Unity Cross Ceremony
In a unity cross ceremony, the outer cross represents the man, the inner cross the woman, and the three pins represent the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The two are are fit together and held by the pins during the ceremony to represent the togetherness of marriage and strength through God.
9) Handfasting / Binding of Hands
The Handfasting ceremony is a Celtic custom that dates back centuries and is a historic tradition that is quickly cementing itself into modern wedding day customs. Handfasting or the "Binding of Hands" involves wrapping different colored ribbons into the infinity shape during your wedding vows representing the symbolic union, commitment of marriage, and binding to each other as man and wife.
10) Jumping the Broom
Broom Jumping is a centuries old African American tradition that has become more increasingly popular due largely to the book "Roots" and the film "Jumping the Broom". Broom jumping involves a handmade natural bristled broom decorated with ribbons, flowers, and mementos. The bride and groom jump over the broom as an act of sweeping away any past wrongdoings and welcoming new beginnings as husband and wife. Jumping the broom can also be placed at the end of the ceremony to represent the joining of the two families and as a wonderful tribute to the tradition.
11) Hand Washing Ceremony
A humble tradition, the hand washing ceremony is an act where the officiant pours water over the bride and groom's hands to purify them. The couple then wash away each others past wrongdoings, cleansing each other from their faults, and starting fresh as man and wife. The hand washing ceremony is many times used in conjunction with the blessing of the hands; where the couple, now cleansed, take each others hands to repeat their wedding vows.