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.

Unity CandleThe 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.

Family involvement

Unity Candle, Nottingham Celebrant, Leicester CelebrantUnity 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.

Community involvement

Unity Candle, Naming CelebrantThe 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.


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