- Pictured here: Ashley & Ryan light a unity candle during their stunning rooftop wedding at the Thompson Hotel in downtown Toronto; photo by Lisa Mark Photography.
Want to make your wedding ceremony extra special? Consider adding candle lighting into the mix. If you’ve been to your fair share of weddings, you’ve probably seen a unity candle ceremony (they’re pretty popular nowadays). It doesn’t take long and can be incorporated into both religious and non-religious ceremonies, so it’s definitely something to think about.
So, what exactly is a unity candle ceremony?
Put quite simply, it’s a tradition used to symbolize the joining of two parties with the lighting of a candle.
At some point in the wedding ceremony (typically closer to the end) the officiant, celebrant or marriage commissioner will kick off the unity candle ceremony by explaining its meaning, then the bride and groom will each take a taper candle and use them to light a larger pillar candle together. The flame that burns represents the unity of the two partners. The ceremony ends with each partner blowing out the other’s taper candle (kissing their unmarried life goodbye and bonding them forever).
Wish you could involve more people than just you and your partner? You totally can! Some couples have their mothers light the taper candles after guests are seated to give them a larger role in the wedding ceremony. Others ask their children to join them as they set their unity candle aglow. There aren’t any strict rules about this, so go ahead and include your nearest and dearest.
If you want to include this type of ceremony in your wedding, you’ll definitely need to consider your venue. First and foremost, you need to make sure your venue allows candles. This may sound weird since they’re basically a wedding decor staple, but some places, especially older venues, prohibit any burning flames. Next you’ll need to create a space to perform the ceremony, so you’ll want to check if there is a table available for use or if you need to rent one yourself. Your venue coordinator will have all the answers, so give them a quick call or shoot them an email.
If you’re hosting an outdoor wedding you may want to consider using a hurricane candle shade (pictured at top) or partaking in a sand ceremony, instead (it’s got a similar vibe). Why? If the weather starts acting up, you don’t want the flame on your unity candle to be blown out. This would kind of put a damper on what could be a really amazing moment.
When all’s said and done, you’ll probably want to hang on to your unity candle as a souvenir, so, after everyone has cleared out the venue, put out the flame and wrap it up for safekeeping. Ask your mom, dad or a trusted member of your wedding party to hang onto it (you probably don’t want to tote it back to your honeymoon suite). Once it’s in safe hands, prepare to party.