Many people today are adding and changing the traditional ceremony to make it theirs. Personal vows are being written, couples are choosing the format of their day, and unity ceremonies are becoming more and more common. Have you considered a unity ceremony with your wedding and just don't know where to start? Here are a few great ideas to possibly include in your day.
This traditional Pagan ritual is gaining popularity among people who do not wish to have a specific faith associated with their ceremony. In this tradition, toward the end of the ceremony, the officiant uses an object (cord, ivy, rope, ribbon, etc) to wrap and tie the couples hands together. This is meant to signify the promise of unity between the couple, and is often thought to be where the phrase "tying the knot" comes from. Many cultures have adopted this with their own twists, with a popular one being tropical islands using leis to perform the ceremony.
Paint Pouring/Sand Blending
If you would like a nice display to remind you of your ceremony, this is perfect. Often times these are popular with blending families as well as each member of the new family can be represented in the artwork. Each person has a color that represents them in the piece. During the ceremony, each family member is invited to either pour their paint from the top of the canvas (we recommend you put a tarp down for this and young kids may not want to be alone) or pour each of your sands into a vase. Some people, after the sand blending, opt to send their sand off to have it blown into glass as a keepsake as well. Each of these are vibrant, colorful ways to display your special day for years to come.
Rope with Three Strands/Braiding/Knotting
This is a religious ceremony popular with young, faith-filled couples that would like a physical reminder displayed in their homes. There are a few different versions of this knot-tying ceremony, but all involve three strands of rope attached to a cross at the head and each of the hands. Often times, the cross has an inscription on it that quotes the a portion of the verse Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, "A cord of three strands is not easily broken." The couple is invited up to either braid he three strands or knot them together. Often if the knot is tied, the officiant will follow with water, stating that a wet knot is harder to untie. The rope is meant to signify that the couple, alongside God, will remain strong as long as faith is with them.
Does your family have a good sense of humor? Then an alcohol mixing ceremony may fit in perfect. This mixing can be done with wine or with a specific type of alcohol. The bride and groom each select a brand/flavor of the selected alcohol that they prefer. At the ceremony, both the bride and groom fill another container with their selected drinks. Typically, in this type of ceremony, the mix is then sealed and saved for a later anniversary for them to enjoy. If in a glass bottle, some people like to wax seal in front of their loved ones and stamp with either their wedding date, their monogram, or the date it will be opened.
While this one needs to be done on private property where approved (or, if a park approves the planting, it can be done there), this is a great way to share your love for generations. The couple would have a sappling prepared and a hole pre-dug near the ceremony site (ideally this is a sentimental location). The couple will plant the tree and fill the hole in some (it doesn't have to be all the way, you can have someone designated to fill it in after). The couple would then be expected to help maintain the tree as it starts to grow until it takes its own root. The tree would then grow with the couples love and be a standing monument that they can take their kids and grandkids to see in years to come.
The Unity Candle has roots in religion but has been working its way into the general public as well. It is a great ceremony to also include older kids in on as well. In this ceremony, a large candle (usually decorated with symbols or a monogram) sits in the middle of the alter/table, and thin candle sticks adorn each side for each person that will contribute. When it is time for the ceremony, the officiant will light each of the candle sticks and invite the participants to come and use their candles to light the large one, combining their flames into one large one.
If your families are close, this is a great ceremony to get everyone (siblings, parents, grandparents, whoever) involved. The more participants, the more beautiful this ceremony comes to be. Each person who will be involve will be given a flower (ie everyone has a rose, or one family has daisies and the other has daffodils, etc). First, the bride and groom will exchange flowers in front of everyone, then will be invited to put their flowers into a vase (you can each have your own flower separate from everyone else as well). After that, family members that are involved are invited to come up and put their flowers into the vase as well, showing their love and support for the couple. If you want this display to stay forever (and acts as a memory of loved ones), you can always use fake flowers for the ceremony instead of real.
This tradition is typically associated with Filipino and Hispanic cultures, especially in Catholic ones (as typically a rosary is used). In this ceremony, an officiant or the parents of the bride and groom lay a large hooped garland or rosary over the couple in the form of a figure 8 to signify the couples eternal bond to each other. The lasso is draped over the shoulders of the couple and remains on them for the remainder of the ceremony. This is typically done after vows, so the couple is only intertwined a short while.
There are hundreds more personalized ceremonies out there to fit every couple. Will you do a unity ceremony? If so, what are you doing? We always love to hear your ideas!