Wedding Ceremonies, of all faiths, have deep histories and long-standing traditions associated with them. You might not know that the Unity Candle Ceremony is a fairly new tradition, having only been around for the past 30 or 40 years.
For those not familiar, the Unity Candle is a symbolic gesture that the bride and groom make, normally following their vows. Two outside candles are lit by representatives of each family (usually the mothers) at the beginning of the wedding ceremony. The bride and groom take their family's candle and light a center candle to represent their new union. The outside candles are sometimes blown out (to symbolize the idea of two becoming one) or they are kept burning (to symbolize that even though the two are now married, they are still individuals and retain their individuality).
Nowadays, this tradition is optional in most Christian weddings. The history is hazy on when or who exactly started this tradition, but it wasn't until recent history where it became more popular. Some say that the candle companies themselves started the tradition, much like how greeting card companies have helped boost the popularity of holidays such as Valentine's Day. But because of this, there are actually many churches, such as St. John Vianney in Shelby Twp, that do not recognize the Unity Candle Ceremony and will not allow their couples to perform the ceremony in their church since it is not a part of mass. Fire, especially in candle form according to Catholic tradition, represents both the holy spirit and light. Therefore some churches consider it sacrilege to have fire representing things of the flesh (such as families or people.) Other churches see it as a harmless and touching symbol of the marriage that just took place.
So whether you choose to take part in the Unity Candle Ceremony or not, it is always good to examine the symbolism behind what you are doing, otherwise why do it? If having a unity candle isn't your thing, another activity that has recently gained popularity is the Unity Sand Ceremony, where the bride and groom each have a vile of different colored sand, and they pour their sand into a vase. This is also symbolic of two becoming one, not to mention it makes a great keepsake that will last past your wedding day (unlike the candle). It is also more practical, if you have an outdoor wedding, where keeping candles lit may not be possible. Modern-day brides and grooms who already have children can also have their child take part in the Sand Ceremony, by adding a third color of sand into the mix.
The Unity Candle and Sand Ceremonies are the most popular signs of unity at a wedding, but they are not the only ones. Click here for a bunch of different ideas that you can use to celebrate your new union.
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Tom Santilli has been in the Detroit wedding industry since 2002, and in that time has established himself as one of the top in his field. His company, Complete Video Solutions , was named as the #1 Best Wedding Videographer in Detroit by local brides and Channel 4 FIVE consecutive years and is currently inducted into TheKnot.com's "Vendor Hall of Fame." He also has won several awards for his wedding production, and is a member of WEVA (Wedding & Event Videographers Association.) As the Detroit Wedding Examiner, he has helped hundreds of brides with their weddings, with a local knowledge not found anywhere else. Being in the industry for so long, he is an expert in all areas of wedding planning, not just videography. He welcomes your questions, article suggestions, or feedback, and he can be reached