Marriage is the union of two people who bring out the very best in each other. They know that as good as they are as individuals, that together they are even better. When brides and grooms want to symbolize their union in their wedding ceremony, one way is by lighting a Unity Candle.
Two regular candles and one larger Unity Candle sit in an array on a table near where the couple will exchange vows. When the mothers of the bride and groom enter just before the ceremony begins, they each light one regular candle before they sit. These candles burn during the ceremony.
After the Exchange of Rings and before pronouncing the couple, the officiant announces that they’ve chosen to symbolize their union by lighting the Unity Candle. As the officiant explains the symbolism to the guests, the bride and groom walk behind the table so everyone can see what they are doing. The bride & groom each takes a lit candle to simultaneously light the Unity Candle. If the timing is perfect, the bride and groom return to stand before the officiant just as s/he finishes explaining the symbolism with more beautiful thoughts.
In the past, when religious influence on marriage was much greater, the officiant would tell the bride and groom to extinguish their individual candles after they lighted the Unity Candle. Today, modern couples believe that their unity is strengthened by keeping themselves strong, and the officiant says something like Do not extinguish your individual candles. Remember, you are individuals choosing to unite in marriage. As a braid of strands is stronger and more flexible than a single strand, the bond of your marriage will strengthen with your unique weave. This modern approach may broach a potential argument between generations, but the decision is entirely up to the bride and groom because it characterizes their unique marriage.
Candles do not work well outside in any breeze. Why risk the bad omen of extinguished candles?
Provide a lighter that is easy for the mothers to operate.
Accommodate three or more mothers with a candle for each.
If the bride and groom have children, you may include them in the Unity Candle ceremony instead of mothers, or with the mothers to emphasize family and generations.
Many brides and grooms prefer to show that their marriage will grow and strengthen over time, not blow out or burn down. Unity Candles are not how they want to portray their marriage. I will explore other symbolism that shows marriage unity in future blog spots.
Your day, your way!