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Current Trends in Wedding Ceremonies and other unity symbols

Posted by Sheryl Hunnie on March 18, 2012 at 2:10 PM

Although the wedding ceremony itself is a Unity Symbol of sorts, many couples include “a symbol within a symbol” to have a visual representation of their wedding.  In many cases, these ceremonies also result in a beautiful keepsake that may serve as a memento of your special day. Gaining in popularity, some of these are recent innovations, while others are cultural traditions that go back hundreds and hundreds of years.


Unity Candle: The Unity Candle is one of the most common ceremonies,though it seems that many couples are by-passing it in favour of more modern ceremonies.  The unity candle has many variations and still can one of the most beautiful ways to include your parents in your wedding ceremony.  Here are a few variations:

1. The bride and groom each take a lit candle and simultaneously light a third larger "unity candle." They may blow out their individual lights, or leave them lit, symbolizing that they have not lost their individuality in their unity.

 2. This version works best if you have a five candle candelabra. The parents of the bride and groom each light a single candle representing the family of origin.  The bride and groom each light their tapers from their family candles and then light the central candle together.

3. All guests are given a candle, and the first guest's is lit. Guests pass the flame until all are lit, and then the bride and groom together light their unity candle. This variation typically includes a proclamation that this ceremony represents the unity of friends and family supporting the couple in their marriage and is best suited to a small gathering of family and friends.

Wine Box Love Letter Ceremony: This ceremony is gaining in popularity and for good reason.  The couple places a bottle of wine, goblets,and personal love letters in a box with is sealed, only to be opened at a specified anniversary date.  The text that accompanies this ceremony is moving and beautiful.  I love it!

 Rose Ceremony: This may be a simple unity ceremony where the bride and groom exchange roses or a longer version which is scripted.

Variations:The families exchange roses, the bride and groom exchange roses with their families, the bride and groom exchange roses, then present their mothers with the roses, or an arrangement of roses is created as members of the wedding party, parents, and other participants each place a rose in a central vase to acknowledge their contribution.  The flowers can then follow the couple to the reception as a centerpiece at the headtable, or taken to a family member who may not have been able to attend the ceremony due to illness.

Sand Ceremony: The blending of coloured sands represents the union of the bride and groom and can also include family and friends. The separate sands once poured into the unity vase can never be put back into their separate vases. Some couples prefer to leave a small amount of sand in their respective container to show that even though they now function as one, they remain individual. This ceremony is particularly meaningful when blending families together as children can easily take part in the ceremony.

Handfasting: Handfasting is a traditional Celtic ceremony of  betrothal or wedding. It usually involved the tying or binding of the right hands of the bride and groom with a cord or ribbon for the duration of the wedding ceremony, or for a specific part of the ceremony (as it is difficult to exchange rings and sign a license with your hands bound together).

Celtic Oathing Stone: The couple holds or puts their hands on a stone during their vows to "set them in stone".

Wine Glass Ceremony: The bride and groom each take a carafe of wine and pour it into a single glass, which they both drink from.

 Water Ceremony: The couple each pour a different colored water into a single glass, creating a third color.

Breaking Bread Ceremony: The bride and groom tear off pieces of bread,and then each eat a piece. Sometimes the bread is also shared with family and friends. It symbolizes their future as a family together.

 Tree Ceremony: If the couple is to be married at home, the planting of a tree or shrub to “grow as your love grows”is a lovely symbol.  A variation if being married elsewhere can be to transplant the shrub from its nursery pot to a decorative planter.  I suggest using “Bridal Veil Spirea”.

Seven Steps: It is the role of the Hindu priest or 'pandit' to lead a couple and their families through the sacrament of marriage. An important aspect of the Hindu ceremony is to light a sacred fire to bear witness to the ceremony. The highlight is 'Saptapadi', also called the 'Seven Steps'. Here, traditionally the bride’s sari is tied to the groom’s kurta, or a sari shawl might be draped from his shoulder to her sari. He leads, her pinky linked with his pinky, in seven steps around the fire, as the priest chants the seven blessings or vows for a strong union. By walking around the fire they are agreeing to these. With each step, they throw small bits of puffed rice into the fire, representing prosperity in their new life together. This is considered the most important part of the ceremony, it seals the bond forever.

A niceway to adapt this into a creative, contemporary ceremony is to light a traditional fire, or use a candle, placed on a small table in front of the wedding altar. Bride and groom take seven steps while seven blessings are spoken in English. Here are Seven Blessings adapted from a Hindu ceremony.

1. May this couple be blessed with an abundance of resources and comforts, and behelpful to one another in all ways.

2. May this couple be strong and complement one another.

3. May this couple be blessed with prosperity and riches on all levels.

4. May this couple be eternally happy.

5. Maythis couple be blessed with a happy family life.

6. May this couple live in perfect harmony… true to their personal values and their joint promises.

7. May this couple always be the best of friends.

 As you can see, the possibilities in creating a beautiful, meaningful, and unique ceremony are endless!  I would love to help you create the wedding of your dreams.


Categories: Thoughts on Ceremony Planning

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