The Complete Guide to the Unity Candle Ceremony


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Do you plan on including the lighting of a unity candle within your wedding day ceremony? It’s beautiful and symbolic. But it’s also been a longstanding and traditional component within a wedding ceremony. More recently, the unity candle lighting has expanded and included family members as well.  

So, let’s learn a bit about it, shall we?

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What is the Unity Candle Ceremony?

Near the end of the ceremony, the minister will call upon the bride and groom to take respective taper candles and, together, light a new candle as one. It’s quite simple in its symbolism as well. As it showcases two individuals, or two families, becoming one.

Cultural & Religious Significance

The unity candle lighting is celebrated and used throughout both religious and non-religious ceremonies. And since it’s still a fairly new tradition there isn’t a lot of history rooted in its development. Most see the ceremony as a non-denominational component to the wedding ceremony so you can really cultivate, style and make it your own.

It’s an extremely popular choice for couples planning second wedding ceremonies. Be sure to check with your church, synagogue or other house of worship to ensure they will allow the candle-lighting to be part of your second wedding ceremony.

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What to Expect During the Unity Candle Ceremony

Fortunately, the unity candle ceremony isn’t complicated and there’s not too much extra you’ll have to buy to prepare!

Steps & Process

In a traditional unity candle ceremony, the mothers of the bride and groom will light the two taper candles before the vows are exchanged. Once those I do’s are said though, the bride and groom will each take the respective candles and go on to light a larger, centered candle together, as one.

Sometimes a song is played or vows and readings are included, it’s just a matter of taste.

Family Medallion Ceremony

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Example Readings & Vows for Your Unity Candle Ceremony

Example Readings

“And now you shall feel no pain, for each of you shall be comfort for the other. And now you shall feel no rain, for each of you shall be shelter for the other. And now you shall feel no cold, for each of you shall be warmth for the other. Now there is no loneliness for you. You are two persons, but you now share one Unity of Purpose.” Light the Unity Candle – Native American Blessing

Ruth 1:16 “Where you go, i’ll go, where you stay, i’ll stay.”

Mark 10:8 “No longer two, but one.”

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 “Two are better than one, for if they fall they will lift up the other.”

Example Vows

“BRIDE and GROOM, the two separate candles symbolize your individual lives.

The individual candles represent your lives before today. Before you shared vows and shared in a commitment to one another and the family you will create. Lighting the center candle together will represent these two individual lives coming together as one and are now joined to one light.”

“Every human being possesses a special light that burns within them.

When two spirits, destined to be together, find each other, their streams of light flow together, and a single brighter light, goes forth from their union.

Bride and groom, by committing to one another today, you kindle the light within each other, and promise to do your best to always see that light within each other, to nurture and tens that flame in your partner as best you can, especially in difficult times, when this may be hardest to do.

Bride, take this candle as a symbol of your spirit, and Groom, take this candle as a symbol of your spirit.

Now joining your individual flames together, light the center candle which symbolizes the spirit of your union and the new greater flame of your marriage. As you do so, silently vow to tend the spirit of this union, and never forget that just as this union is made stronger by your strength as individuals, so are you as individuals made stronger by this union.”

Get more sample wedding ceremonies and unity candle vows, including ceremonies and vows for children / family in The Wedding Ceremony Planner – the essential guide to the most important part of your wedding.

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