The Minks Decide to Skip Symbolism

The rituals that symbolize the joining of two people always seem lovely when I see them in weddings. Now that we’re planning our own wedding, those rituals don’t feel “right” to me.

The unity candle, probably the most popular wedding ritual these days, is actually a fairly new item. Wikipedia says unity candles might have only been around for about 30–40 years. That was a surprise to me. I’ve seen so many unity candles that I assumed they had been around for much longer.


From Slava Slavik Photography

A few months ago, I started hearing about alternatives to the traditional unity candle. I first thought the alternatives were weird, but a few started to grow on me.

There’s the pouring of sand, which has become so popular that companies are making special vessels for the sand.

Congratulations, Beonce and Paul! / From

Even newer than sand pouring is blending wine or planting a tree. I have to admit that I thought the tree planting was kind of cute! I don’t know if that was because Mr. Mink likes the term “tree hugger” or if I liked the idea of taking the tree home and planting it. Forget the fact that I live in a condo and don’t have a yard. Details, details!


From Manolo for the Brides blog / Photo by Worthington Photography

We thought about the wine-box ceremony, too. The couple writes letters to themselves (or each other) on the wedding day. The letters are sealed in a box with a bottle of wine during the ceremony. Some say that the box is opened on a major anniversary or if the couple ever has a rough spot.

Sealing the wine box / From The Bride’s Cafe Blog / Photo by Katie Stoops Photography

The last ritual we considered was one I heard about on the Weddingbee Boards. It’s the “Chord of Three Strands.” The couple braids three short lengths of rope during their wedding ceremony to symbolize the bride, the groom, and God in their marriage. Aside from the blog where I found the picture below, the information I found about this was coming from the company that sold the chords.


The “Chord of Three Strands” / From Crystal Goss Photography

In the end, we decided not to have a unity ritual at our wedding. None of the things I described above felt right for us. Exchanging rings and saying our vows will be pretty powerful acts for us. We aren’t convinced that we need something extra to drive the point home.

Are you having a unity ritual at your wedding? Did you consider any alternatives?


Mrs. Mink

Charlottesville, Virginia
Wedding Date:
June 2012
Funnel Cake Ring Porn
Pretzel Party: Dance, Dance, DANCE!
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  1. honey Bee
    honey 1684 posts, Bumble bee @ 10:00 am

    No rituals for us either…I agree that the rings and vows are powerful enough!

  2. mink Bee
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 4:27 pm

    @Lexy: What’s more, they’re not even popular in certain countries. The boards have quite a few members from those places.

    @lisaelanna: I agree! Mass is long enough!

    @Miss Mole: The main event…as it should be!

    @Mrs. High Wire: I’m getting more and more enamored with simplicity. The wedding industry can convince us that we need all these extra accessories, but the vows and ring exchange is beautiful. They don’t need any help when it comes to being special.

    @TinyTina: I’m going to stalk your pictures!!! I really like the wine box idea.

    @Britt: I’m glad! I hope no one objects to a short, simple ceremony. 🙂

    @Mrs. Pony: If we had a house, I’d totally go for it. We gave some friends a tree as a wedding gift and they loved it! It’s planted in their backyard and I hope it’s there for years to come!

    @Miss Honey: It’s so awesome to have company in this. I had thought we were alone on this.

  3. Member
    Future Army Wife 2213 posts, Buzzing bee @ 7:09 pm

    We’re not doing any unity ceremonies. I agree with you, they’re nice but not us.

  4. unicycle Bee
    unicycle 476 posts, Helper bee @ 8:11 pm

    I really want to do handfasting, but I have no idea yet what’s allowed in my church. I don’t think you necessarily need anything though!

  5. teaspoon Bee
    teaspoon 768 posts, Busy bee @ 12:19 am

    We did unity candles, I love the symbolism of it in the catholic church. It sits in the cupboard with our confirmation and baptism candles and will come out for our first child’s baptism!

  6. mink Bee
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 8:35 am

    @Miss Unicycle: I forgot to cover handfasting! D’oh!

    @Mrs. Teaspoon: Aw, that’s so sweet!

  7. Member
    star cash 44 posts, Newbee @ 6:15 am

    i wanted 2 have

    1)a sand ceremony with parents & siblings of bride & groom as a symbol of not only joining us a husband & wife but also bringing 2 famalies 2gether……

    2)rose ceremony were we give our roses 2 each others mother-in-law when exiting

    3) jump the broom.

    i’m thinking its a bit much…my actual ceremony without the rituals is about 30 mins….i think its a bit short though…i’m liking the chocolate & wine ceremony..any xcuse 2 have a drink 2 calm my nerves i guess…… wa do u guys think???

  8. cinnamonbun Bee
    cinnamonbun 1116 posts, Bumble bee @ 9:29 am

    I wasn’t too sure about the background of the unity candle, and I never really looked into it because it seemed a bit too God-related to me, and we aren’t religious at all.
    The braiding thing is cute, but what would cord #3 be for us? Is the company selling them selling them as ‘chords’ though? That’s weird, because chord with an h is a musical term, and cord with no h is a rope….

    We ended up doing a ring warming, which I loved. It made our guests part of the day. Really, the whole wedding is a unity ritual, isn’t it, so why not do something where everyone else can participate?

  9. Member
    missmorganista 1580 posts, Bumble bee @ 3:11 pm

    We are doing the wine box, but NOT at the wedding. We are going to do this to celebrate our one year anniversary together. We are going to do it as a special thing on June 1, 2014.

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