Wedding Officiant serving Chicagoland and Southern Wisconsin
Unity Candle being lit

Many couples I work with like to have a ritual to symbolize their union after they’ve said their vows and exchanged rings.

The most common is the Unity Candle. At the beginning of the ceremony, prior to the wedding party processing in, a family member of each couple lights a candle on the respective side of the Unity Candle. After the couple says their vows and exchanges rings, I say:

“At the beginning of this wedding members of your family lit these two candles. Each of you brings your own experience, history, and memories to this marriage. Everyone here and loved ones who have gone before are represented by those flames. Those flames continue to burn."

Couples then walk forward, take the two side candles, light the center candle, and then replace the side candles which continue to burn. As they do this, I say:

“Now those two flames join as you become one. You are a Unity together while each of you retains all that brought you to this place.”.

The ritual can be modified for blended families with multiple grown children by having each light their own votive candle at the beginning of the ceremony.

Sand Pouring is another popular unity ritual. Like the Unity Candle ritual, family members begin by placing two vessels of different colored sand. At the ceremony’s conclusion, couples pour their sand into a common container creating a permanent, blended and multi-colored symbol of their union.

I’ve also done planting rituals where parents or stepparents begin the ceremony by placing soil from each of their yards into a pot containing a sapling tree. At the end of the ceremony, couples then water the sapling tree with the intention of seeing it thrive and grow in the years to come.

There are many other closing rituals that couples have chosen including knot tying, a wine box with love notes, the El Lazo and Las Arras, and The Breaking of the Glass.

All of these rituals add a visual final touch to a wedding ceremony, giving couples an opportunity to express themselves and symbolize their union.