HOW A UNITY CANDLE CAN LIGHT UP YOUR CEREMONY
Lighting a Unity Candle can be a really fabulous symbol of what your ceremony is all about. In Weddings – two become one. For Vow Renewals – two remain one. And in Naming ceremonies – family becomes one.
You can get candles made to match your theme, colour scheme etc or you can use a plain candle or decorate one yourself. There is plenty of choice. I’m going to focus here on lighting a Unity Candle in a Wedding Ceremony but the basics are similar for other ceremonies. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.
Two become one.
The key symbolism of two becoming one comes from the couple each taking a lit candle (representing themselves as individuals) and joining the flames together to light a new unity candle signifying their shared life going forward. It can be quite straightforward. Some people then blow out the individual candles so that they focus on the shared journey. I have to admit that I prefer to leave the individual candles lit to show that individuals who people fell in love with are still there with all their gifts and individuality!
The individual candles can be lit by someone representing each family – for example the mothers. Or they can be lit by a friend of each of the couple.
Unity Candle symbolism can be extended to include more of the heritage form which each of the couple comes. For instance at this recent wedding there were four candles which represented each of the parents of the couple. The parents each lit those candles from a “pilot” tea light and brought them together as a pair to light the individual candle representing their child. The couple then used their candles to light the unity candle.
If children are part of the family coming together then the couple can light a candle representing each child from the Unity Candle. This shows that they are both committed to each child whether they are the children of the couple together or part of a blended family.
The idea of each person at the ceremony being part of the couple’s wider community can also be marked using a Unity Candle. The couple (and sometimes the Celebrant) light smaller candles which are then passed out to those attending the ceremony. These can also be used as wedding favours. Alternatively everyone can have an unlit candle given to them on the way in and then the Unity Candle used to light the candles of the front row who turn to light those on the next row and so on until all are lit. You can of course decide who you want to include and how (particularly if there are a lot of people at the wedding).
The words which are used in the ceremony are written to suit the couple and exactly who they are including in this part of the ceremony. It is a really lovely symbolism and there are lots of places to buy beautiful candles if you wish. Your Celebrant can often recommend some that they have used before.
Make sure you have Your Ceremony Your Way with symbolism that makes your Ceremony unique, personal and meaningful for you.
see The Blog for other Ceremony suggestions or
WEDDING VOWS – TRADITIONAL, TWEAKED OR TOTALLY NEW?
When it comes to wedding vows these are the three main choices that you have.
You can search for traditional vows and there are lots of examples. There are religious ones for a Church or other faith based ceremony. They can also be used in a Celebrant led ceremony which includes faith elements. Or there are civil vows which a Registrar will need you to make for the legal elements, as well as those which are allowed in a civil legal ceremony. Any of those can be used in a Celebrant led ceremony. Many couples find that they want to use traditional vows that generations have used before them. If you know a couple with a long and happy marriage you could ask them if they remember their vows.
Examples would include:
In the presence of God, and these our family and friends, I take you to be my beloved wife/husband/partner. Promising with divine assistance to be to you a loving and faithful spouse so long as we both shall live.
I, ______, take you, ______, to be my wife/husband/partner, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, for the rest of my life. This is my solemn vow
I (your full name), take you (your partner’s full name) to be my wedded wife/husband.
N, will you take A to be your wife/husband?
Will you love her, comfort her/him, honour and protect her/him, and, forsaking all others, be faithful to her/him as long as you both shall live?
A – All that I am and all that I have, I offer to you in love and in joy. From this day forward I will love and comfort you, hold you close, prize you above all others, and remain faithful to you all the days of our lives
You can look at traditional vows and then tweak them to fit what feels right for you as a couple. For the legal part of the wedding you will need to take advice – you don’t want to find you aren’t really married legally if that is what you want! Many couples find that they want their vows to be “traditional with a twist” and so add something to traditional vows or change them in some way. Celebrants tend to be more open to the possibilities and can work with you on this if you want to talk it through. I find that a number of people who start by wanting their own vows end up with something more like this – their own version of traditional vows.
Examples I have seen couples produce include:
I __, promise to love and cherish you__, for the rest of your life. I will try to bring laughter to your life, and make you happy, I will consider you in the decisions I have to make, and value your opinions. Today I vow to be your husband/wife for the rest of our lives.
(name) , with all my love, I take you to be my husband/wife/partner. I will love you through good and the bad, through joy and the sorrow. I will try to be understanding, and to trust in you completely. Together we will face all of life’s experiences and share one another’s dreams and goals. I promise I will be your equal partner in a loving, honest relationship, for as long as we both shall live.
Today, surrounded by people who love us, I choose you A to be my partner. I am proud to be your wife/husband and to join my life with yours. I vow to support you, encourage you, inspire you, and above all love you, for better or worse, in sickness and health, for richer or poorer, as long as we both shall live.
Many couples these days want to write their own vows. It can make your day particularly personal. However there are lots of things to think about. Will you share them before the big day? Would you feel awkward if one has written a lengthy romantic sonnet whilst the other has written two lines of jokes? What kinds of things do you want to include?
So talk to each other and agree something about the style and length of your vows. If you are having a theme for your wedding, consider whether you want your vows to fit closely with that.
Writing your own vows deserves separate blog posts but as a start consider including three things –
What do you love about your partner and how do they make you feel?
What promises do you want to make to them so that your married life is the best that it can be?
What are the hopes and dreams that you have for your life together?
Some examples I have seen couples write include:
I promise to hold your hand, take care of you in every way, make you laugh at the end of a long day, find things when you lose them, look after you when you’re poorly (even though you are an awful patient!!) open things you can’t, and sing for you when you are sad.
I will cherish, comfort and encourage you, be open and honest with you, hold you and kiss you lots and often!
I know that we will share so many happy and exciting times, and I love that you are standing by me as we journey together as one. I promise to forgive you for the things
you say when you are hungry! (I will always bring snacks on our adventures!) I promise to always be patient, see the best in every situation and love you unconditionally, my beautiful wife/husband/partner!
I promise to spend the rest of my life putting a smile on your face everyday. Laughing with you when times are good and crying with you when times are sad. I promise to give you hope when it may feel lost. To encourage and support you as you travel on life’s path. I promise to always celebrate your passion and enthusiasm never letting it fade away. I promise to give you me, every single part of me. You have my heart and soul, I am now complete because you are in my life. With my every breath I love you more and I promise to always tell you that I love you.
A, we have been together for 9 years and I love how kind and considerate you are and how you laugh at my rubbish jokes. I promise to love you and care for you and to try to remember to hang up my wet towels. I look forward to us building our life together as a family. I see us enjoying the good things and coping with the difficult things in life because we are doing it together. I am excited about the prospect of a long and happy life with you by my side.
Whatever route you choose to take, make sure you are happy with your wedding vows and that you can say them from the heart.
For a simple way to write your own wedding vows go to this post:
To find out how you can have a unique, personal, meaningful ceremony, get in touch:
For other elements for a Scrumptious wedding ceremony go to this post: