7 Unity Ceremony Ideas

A knot made of white rope with a pair of gold wedding bands on one side.

Often performed in a marriage ceremony after the couple exchanges vows, a unity ceremony acts as a metaphor for the fusion of the couple and their families. If the vows are a verbal promise to one another, the unity ceremony is the act that concludes them. A unity ceremony is not a requirement by any means, but it can be a special way to symbolize you and your new husband or wife coming together as one. If you’re looking to add a personalized touch to your wedding, a unity ceremony is definitely something to consider.

A bride and groom holding a unity candle.

A common example of a unity ceremony is the lighting of a unity candle, in which the two newlyweds light a single candle together. Sometimes, other members of the family or even the guests are involved in the process. However, there are many alternatives to the candle, and you are free to put your own twist on them as well. Here are some ideas taken from various cultures throughout the world.

1. Plant a Seed and Watch it Grow

If you’re an eco-friendly person, you might like the concept of planting a tree, flower, or anything else for that matter. This is actually a quite common unity ceremony, as the growth of the tree is meant to symbolize the growth of your relationship. For some, it also symbolizes fertility.

Traditionally, a sapling tree is used for this type of unity ceremony. However, you can choose any flower or plant that you feel is more suitable.To make it even more special, mix soils from your and your significant other’s hometowns or any other places that are close to your heart.

2. Create a Time Capsule for a Future Anniversary

Putting together a time capsule will ensure that you’ll be reminded of your wedding day for years and years to come. There are many ways to go about this—the idea is that you place a few items in a box, seal it together, and open it on your first anniversary or a far-in-the-future anniversary. (You can also decide to open it on a random occasion, such as when you have your first fight!)

Usually, a couple will write love letters to one another that will only be read when the box is opened. You can include multiple letters so that the box can be opened, resealed, and opened again. Many couples also choose to put away a bottle of wine and a few other meaningful items in the box.

Similar to the time capsule idea, you can create a “piggy bank” of reasons why you fell in love with your significant other. Feel free to fish for a note whenever a moment strikes. In which case, it may be a good idea to make two separate ones.

3. Combine Sand

A bride and groom performing a unity ceremony with sand.

Both modern and traditional, this is one option that will leave a souvenir behind. It can be as simple as mixing two colored sands together in a bottle, or mixing multiple sands together from places you’ve visited or that are meaningful to you. Because the sand will be hard to separate afterward, this unity ceremony embodies the idea that after marriage, the two people are forever intertwined.

4. Enjoy a Tea Ceremony

Popular at Chinese weddings and among other Asian cultures is mixing teas as part of a unity ceremony. At the wedding, each newlywed brews their own tea which is then mixed together into one cup. The blend is then drank out of the same cup in turn.Feel free to serve this tea blend at your future anniversaries or at-home celebrations.

5. Create Your Own Spice Blend

If you’re a couple that loves to cook, blend your favorite spices together instead of sand. It’s rare for two spices to not match, and it may inspire you to craft up a whole new dish that is uniquely yours.

6. Tie the Knot

A bride and groom with their hands tied together from a handfasting unity ceremony.

Surely you’ve heard the phrase “tying the knot” when it comes to weddings—but do you know where it comes from? It actually refers to a Celtic and pagan tradition of handfasting, in which the newlyweds’ hands are literally tied together during their marriage ceremony. This unity ceremony allows plenty of room for creativity. Not only can you use a material of rope that holds meaning for you two, but you can also choose a type of knot that best symbolizes your relationship.

7. Create a Piece of Art Together

Another popular alternative is painting a picture together. Artsy types may find this a perfect addition to their special day, but you don’t have to be a true artist to do this. Some couples just randomly splatter paint on a canvas. Adventurous couples may even paint a picture together blindfolded! Fun aside, do keep in mind that this is one unity ceremony that can get quite messy if you’re not careful.

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