My Day, My Way
Unity Candles: 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.
Variation 1: Each mother holds an unlit candle. Fathers light the mother's candles, then mother's use those candles to light bride and groom candles; followed by bride and groom lighting the larger unity candle with their respective candles.
Variation 2: Bride's mother passes a lit candle to last bridesmaid, and the candle is passed ceremoniously up the line to the bride. At the same time, groom's mother passes her candle to the last groomsman, ceremoniously passing the candle up the line to the groom. Then bride and groom turn, with candles in hand, to light the unity candle with the candles they received.
Variation 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.
Sample reading for candle ceremony:
(prompt)And now, ______________ and __________, it is time to light your candles.
And now it is time for the candles of unity.
(During Candle Lighting) On this day you make a new light together, symbolizing the two becoming one. May you also continue to recognize that separateness from which your relationship has sprung. May the lights of your own special lives continue to feed the new flame of love which will fuel your future together -- through all its hopes and disappointments, its successes and failures, its pleasures and its pains, its joys and its sorrows -- a future filled with the warmth and love of the flame you share today..
Rose Ceremony: A simple unity ceremony where the bride and groom exchange roses. Other 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.
Wine Ceremony: The bride and groom each take a carafe of wine and each pour some into a single glass, which they both drink from.
Quaich variation: A quaich is a two handled cup, and signifies the trust and unity between the partners. The Quaich (pronounced "Quake"), filled with wine or other favorite drink, either before or during ceremony, sits on a pedestal between the bride and groom. At the appropriate moment, the groom picks up the Quaich by the handles, bride places her hands on his, then they take turns drinking
Note: We have a Quaich available for ceremonies.
Example of reading for Quaich Unity: "The Quaich, a two handled loving cup, is an ancient Scottish tradition that seals the bond of two people, and marks the blending of two families. It symbolizes the love and trust implied by the bond, as the new couple shares the first drink of their marriage together.
___________ and _________, it is now time to complete your bond.
Water Ceremony: The couple each pour a different colored water into a single glass, creating a third color.
Sand Ceremony: Similar to the water ceremony, the bride and groom both pour different colored sand into a glass, taking turns, a little at a time, which creates colorful swirls and patterns. After the ceremony and festivities, jar is typically sealed by pouring hot wax into the top of the jar, and then capping it with a cork stopper or other lid. This will preserve the swirls and make a nice display item for the home.
Variation 1: Includes children or other family members of the bride and groom, each having a different colored sand and taking part in the unity ceremony.
Variation 2: Brides family fills one glass with different colored sands, and groom's family fills a second. Then bride and groom take their respective mixes to alternately fill the large container.
A common reading used for sand ceremonies (can be adapted for water, too): "Life's moments are as grains of sands, forever moving and shifting with the winds of time. Today, ________ and __________, you are making your eternal commitment to one another, blending the sands of your lives together. The separate vessels of sand you each hold represents your lives up to this moment. And from this moment on, as with the sands you now blend together, you shall become one; a family created."
Salt Ceremony: Indian weddings often include a salt ceremony, where the bride passes a handful of salt to her groom without spilling any. He then passes it back to her and the exchange is repeated three times. She then performs the salt exchange with all the members of the groom's family, symbolizing her blending in with her new family.
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.
Garland Ceremony or Lei Ceremony: The bride and groom exchange garlands of flowers. This is a common part of Indian weddings, where the ceremony is called varmala or jaimala, and represents a proposal by the bride and acceptance by the groom. It also represents their new unity, blessed by nature. In Hawaiian weddings, the bride and groom typically exchange leis. The families may also exchange leis with the couple. Leis represent the love and respect you have for the person you are giving it to, and the unity of the new family.
Circling: In Eastern European ceremonies, the bride and groom circle the altar three times, which are their first steps together as husband and wife. In Hindu ceremonies, couples circle the fire seven times, sealing their bond. The unbroken circle represents the unbroken commitment to each other.
Some examples of ceremonies
Sand, sea, salt and more.