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Wedding Ceremony Trends: Five Alternatives to Unity Candles

Sarah Make it Posh, Weddings Leave a Comment

Every couple wants a personalized wedding ceremony – one that uniquely reflects their love story. Sometimes planning a wedding means including the traditional elements as a way to honor our connection to the past. And other times, it means finding, or even making, our own new rituals.  Here are some wedding ceremony trends to consider.handfasting


The unity candle ceremony is one traditional wedding ceremony idea that means a lot to some folks, but lacks significance for others. Furthermore, in some cases, lighting a candle and keeping it burning in the wind, as happens sometimes during outdoor weddings, just isn’t practical. No one wants to start a marriage with an accidentally extinguished symbolic candle, or worse, a call to the fire department! Many couples search for different ways to symbolize the joining of their families and lives together.

If a unity candle is not for you, why not consider one of these interesting wedding ceremony alternatives?


Hand-fasting: you can track hand-fasting back to ancient weddings, and variations of it are seen in some contemporary religious rituals as well. It is simply the joining of hands by the officiant (or in some religions, by a special family member) with a symbolic rope or sash. It is easy to accomplish, doesn’t require setting anything on fire (more than a small favor if your wedding is on a windy beach, for example), and requires little preparation or explanation.  sand ceremony

Sand Ceremonies

One of the more popular beach wedding ideas can actually be used at any wedding. During a sand ceremony, each person pours sand from a container or carafe symbolizing his or her own family and origins into a central container representing the couple’s newly joined lives. The container is often decorative and kept as a keepsake. The sand can be natural, or tinted to coordinate with your wedding color palette.

Wine Ceremonies

A variation similar to the sand ceremony is a wine ceremony. Glasses of wine representing the individuals or each family are poured and then mingled in a common glass or chalice. The couple drinks from the combined vessel (and in very intimate ceremonies, sometimes has other members of their family or wedding party drink from it as well). The wine can be poured before the ceremony from one bottle, or for couples who are connoisseurs, could be two different, special varieties poured during the ceremony. If you choose a wine or wines that are particularly significant to you, you might consider enjoying a bottle on your anniversary! wine ceremony

Cord of Three Strands

The Cord of Three Strands idea is derived from a passage in Ecclesiastes 4:12: “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” The three strands represent each partner and God. Couples who want to incorporate a ritual with religious significance might this idea. At some point during the ceremony the couple will braid or twist the three strands into a single cord (which can, incidentally, then be used for binding their hands if they choose – see hand-fasting above). There are many companies that sell keepsake sets of strands with directions for turning them into cords.   wine box

Planting Ceremony

Another symbolic joining of two families is the “planting ceremony”. Together, the couple plants a tree as the beginning of their new lives. Some couples each bring soil from their homes and mingle the soils in a single container. The ceremony is particularly special if you are having a garden wedding at your home and can actually plant the tree where it will grow in the future – but a special pot or planter is perfect too. Choose a tree that you will want to watch grow through the years (and preferably one that is suited to the climate where it will ultimately be planted).

As you can see, the unity candle is not your only wedding ceremony option. You can symbolize your union in many ways. Choose a ritual that is right for you as a couple;  one that honors your love story.  If you have any other trends please send us a note and share them!

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