Since about 99% of my wedding ceremonies are at resorts and are outdoors, I no longer recommend the Unity Candle Ceremony. The least little puff of wind and the candles are either too difficult to light or they blow out.
The Arizona heat is another reason. Often the candles begin to bend in the sun and are not easy to remove from their holders. At indoor ceremonies the Unity Candle Ceremony works fine!
Another option would be to have Larry James perform the Unity Candle ceremony at the reception which is usually indoors.
Having said that, I still do a few Unity Candle Ceremonies now and then. Here are a few tips that might help.
Consider pre-lighting the taper candles and the Unity candle before the wedding ceremony (then quickly blow them out) to make them easier to light at outdoor ceremonies. A pre-burned wick is easier to re-light. If your ceremony is outdoors, always have several extra lighters nearby in case the wind decides to blow the candles out.
Since a fresh wick on a candle that has never been lit may be difficult to light, have your wedding consultant pre-light the candles, then put one (only one) drop of lighter fluid on the wick about an hour before the ceremony. That gives the fluid time to lightly soak the wick, evaporate and when the taper candles are ready to be lit, that should solve the difficulty.
It’s a good idea to light a small tea light candle in advance so you do not have to fumble with the lighters in the middle of the ceremony. The taper candles can then be lit from the tea light candle.
If your wedding is outdoors, putting the Unity Candle inside a glass hurricane lamp can be very helpful in protecting from the Arizona desert breeze.
Make sure that there aren’t any decorative beads, ribbon or lace around the candles – they can easily catch fire.
A Unity Candle Ceremony can easily be added to any marriage ceremony. It is placed near the end of the ceremony, following the Exchange of Rings. The mother’s of the Bride and Groom often will be called forward to light the two taper candles at the beginning of the Unity Candle ceremony. If there are breezes present, be sure to use the lighter fluid tip above before the wedding ceremony begins.
A Unity Candle set consists of two slender candles (called tapers) and a large center candle. They are usually white candles.
In the past, the Unity Candle Ceremony has been a popular choice for both religious and non-religious ceremonies because it is non-denominational and has no religious significance.
The two outer candles represent your individual lives before today. They represent all that you are from your vast experiences, and they represent your individual families. As you each take a single candle and light the center candle, you will extinguish your individual candles.
Often the Bride will blow out the Groom’s taper candle and the Groom will blow out the Brides taper candle. This represents the closing of the chapters in your individual Books of Life and the beginning of new chapters as you begin to write a new book of Life as wife and husband.
Another way to do this is to allow the two taper candles to continue to burn. By allowing the flame of the two taper candles to remain lit, it represents that the Bride and Groom accept the individuality of each other as a means to fulfilling their commitment to one another.
If you would like to have the entire audience participate, give everyone a candle as they enter. This works best at indoor ceremonies. When lighting the Unity Candle, each of you turn and share your light with the first row of seated guests on your side. Let the guests share the flame from their own small candle with the person sitting next to them and pass it along until all the candles are aglow and you are pronounced wife and husband. The minister can suggest that everyone make a good wish for the Bride and Groom and blow out the candles.
Some couples choose to have soft instrumental music playing during the Unity Candle Ceremony.
If you are creating a new family you may want to include the children in the lighting of the Unity Candle. Often this is done by having the bride and groom light the candle for the children and then everyone lighting the center candle together. This is an excellent way to involve children from a previous marriage.
Larry’s Note: A really great (recommended) alternative is the Blending of the Sand Ceremony. The symbolism is similar and the sand doesn’t blow out! 😉
Copyright © 2010 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 455 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.
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