A wedding ceremony is where two people are united in marriage. It's all about two lives becoming one, and most of them include a "unity ceremony" which symbolizes the joining of lives and families. This usually takes place after the exchange of the rings. The most common ceremony is the unity candle. But with creative freedom, you can make this ceremony meaningful to you, as a couple, in any way you want! Here are a few ideas....
If you want a classic feel to your wedding, the candle ceremony is your best bet. This involves three candles placed at the altar: two tapered candles, and one large candle. After your exchange of vows, you each take a lit tapered candle and light the larger candle together. You can choose to light the tapered candles yourself, or to make it more special, have each of your moms light one. If you have children, they can join in the ceremony with their own tapered candle. At this point, you can each blow out your tapered candle or leave them lit, symbolizing that you have not lost your individuality in your unity.
This one is great for the eco-friendly couple; not only are trees an important part of Mother Earth, they also have a lot of great symbolism. Majestic and mystical, trees have been found to represent spiritual nourishment, union and fertility, wisdom and growth as well as having a great energy and healing power. Trees are strong, beautiful, and adaptive; just like a marriage should be, that's why the tree-planting ceremony is so popular, especially for outdoor weddings. You could even mix soil from different places that are meaningful to you. Before the ceremony, a tree is placed in a large pot near the altar. After the vow exchange, you each take turns adding soil and water to the pot. After the wedding, you'll replant the tree at your home, so that it can grow along with your marriage.
This sweet idea is one that you'll cherish on more than just your wedding day. It's a great way to have an anniversary surprise, plus it lasts better than eating preserved wedding cake a year later. Have a custom-made "treasure" box with your names and wedding date, and place it on a table by the altar. Sometime before the wedding, you can each make a collection of handwritten love letters, photos, movie tickets, etc. During the ceremony, you'll both place your items and a bottle of wine in the box and seal it shut. Your officiant will explain the significance of the wine that you chose, and which anniversary you plan on opening your box.
This is another popular ceremony, and another one that you get a souvenir out of. When the wedding is done, you'll have a new sentimental statement piece for your home. Like any other unity ceremony type, there are numerous variations on this tradition. It can involve solely the groom and bride (in which case you'll need two sand colors), include the officiant (three sand colors), or add other family members (a different sand color for each person). You'll also need a vase or a jar, ideally something with a lid. The groom will start by pouring a small amount of his sand into a central vase. The second person, often the bride, will pour some of their sand into the central vase, forming a second layer. This process will continue until the vase is almost full, then the couple will pour their sand at the same time, forming a mix of colors at the top that represents the united family.
This ceremony can be a good option to include God in your unity. The unity knot, also known as the God's Knot, can be mounted on canvas or wood after the wedding and displayed in your home as a constant reminder of commitment and strength. The ceremony is derived from Ecclesiastes 4:12: “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” The three strands (representing bride, groom, and God) are braided together symbolizing the joining of man, woman, and God as equal partners. During the ceremony, the couple takes turns braiding the rope and securing it with a knot.
Sky Lantern Release
Another ceremony idea for the outdoor wedding, though maybe not for the eco-friendly. Typically done at the end of a reception, couples have begun releasing these paper hot air balloons in place of a typical unity ceremony. While this is one ceremony style that doesn't offer a take-home souvenir, it is one that can include all of your guests. Before the ceremony, pass out the lanterns and ask guests to write their wishes or advice for you on them. After the vow exchange, invite everyone to release them with you and watch them float away. It will make for great photos, and would be perfect for an evening ceremony.
Ring Warming Ceremony
Yet another ceremony to involve your guests and loved ones, this can be done either during the ceremony or upon your guests' entrance to the venue. Each guest will have the opportunity to hold your wedding bands, or "warm" them, and wish you good luck in your marriage. As mentioned, this can be done two ways, depending on your guest count and the length of your ceremony. Either set this up by your guest book with a sign explaining the directions, or pass them around during the ceremony. The rings are then returned to the bride and groom who exchange them as a symbol of their love, with the blessings from all friends and family.