Unity Candle Ceremony
The unity candle lighting ceremony is becoming more and more common in today's weddings. The
ceremony symbolizes the pledge of unity between the bride and groom and the merging of two
families.It usually occurs after the exchanging of rings and before the couple is pronounced husband and wife (sometimes it is done after this however). Usually the mothers
light their tapers before taking their seats, usually to a special piece of music. (This is often
an instrumental song so as to not take any attention away from the mothers.) When the bride and
groom light the center candle, a song is sung or played. They either take a few minutes up by the altar to exchange a few words or they can take a flower that was placed by the candle and present it to their mothers at this time.
Traditionally, there are three candles. The mothers each light one of the side candles. The bride and
groom then each take one of the side candles and together they light the center candle. They may then
blow out their individual side candles to symbolize the extinguishing of their two single lives. Or,
as is more common today, they may keep those candles burning to symbolize that their individualness is
not extinguished, even though they are united in marriage.
Here are some example wordings for this lovely, symbolic portion
of the wedding ceremony. Other ideas may be found at Mary Jane N. Shroyer's
Unity Candle FAQ site and her
Alternatives to Unity Candles FAQ site.
- "____ and ____ are going to light their wedding/unity candle, as a symbol of their marriage.
The candles from which they light it represent each of them in the fullness of their personhood. They
come into their marriage relationship as individuals and they do not lose their identity, rather they
create through their commitment the relationship of marriage. Therefore, three candles remain lighted,
one for each of them and one for their marriage as symbols of their commitment to each other and to a
lasting and loving marriage."
- "The two outside candles have been lighted by their parents to represent their lives to this moment. The
lights, representing the faith, wisdom, and love they have received from their parents, are distinct, each
burning alone. They light the center candle to symbolize the union of their lives. As this one light burns
undivided, so shall their love be one with God. From now on their thoughts shall be for each other rather
than for their individual selves. Their joys and sorrows shall be shared alike. Holding hands, they encircle
the alter and candle to symbolize the sacrificial nature of their life journey together. May the radiance
of this one light and their jouney together be a testimony or their unity."
- "The two outside candles of the candelabra have been lighted to represent their lives to this moment.
They are two distinct lights, each capable of going their separate ways. To bring bliss and happiness to
their home there must be the merging of these two lights into one light. This is what God meant when He said:
'On this account, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall be
one flesh.' From now on their thoughts shall be for each other rather than for their individual selves. Their
plans shall be mutual, their joys and sorrows shall be shared alike. As they each take a candle and together
light the center candle, they will extinguish their own candles, thus letting the center candle symbolize the
union of our lives into one flesh. As this one light cannot be divided, neither shall their lives be divided.
May the radiance of this one light be a witness of their unity in Christ."
- [This one is for a ceremony that uses a unity candle with the cross and double rings design on
it.] "On this their Wedding Day, they make this loving commitment, to follow the greatest Commandment of all: 'Love
one another, as I have loved you.' This they do in the hope that their union shall become a symbol of God's promise
to merge two devoted lives into one. The two distinct flames represent their lives to this moment; individual and
unique. To bring bliss and happiness to their home there must be the merging of these two into one. Together they
light the center candle. This is what God meant when He said: 'On this account a man shall leave his father
and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one.' From now on their thoughts shall be for each
other rather than for their individual selves. The entwining rings -- symbolize their two lives joined in dependence
and growing maturity. Their plans shall be mutual, their joys and sorrows shall be shared alike. The cross -- a
constant reminder of their faith in the Lord who blesses us each day,
for it is He who enriches their marriage in every possible way. Thus rhey extinguish the two, forever united in
the radiant oneness of God's love. Let them renew their vows each day as the memory of this joyous occassion reminds us:
The Way is Long -- Let Us Go Together
The Way is Difficult -- Let Us Help Each Other
The Way is Joyful -- Let Us Share It
The Way Is Ours Alone -- Let Us Go In Love
The Way Grows Before Us -- Let Us Begin"
- "Together they light one candle from two smaller candles as they acknowlege their union as husband and wife.
By allowing the flame of the two smaller candles to remain lit, they also accept the individuality of each
other as a means to fulfilling their oneness."
- [Between the Greeting and the Opening Prayer:] "On the day of their baptism, God began in (groom's name)
and (bride's name) the process of becoming a Christian. They were given the privilege of being a light, an
example to the people they would meet. Their process of becoming a Christian continues today. A new dimension
is added as they celebrate the Sacrament of Matrimony. Today they come here from two different families. Out
of these two families, a new family will be created in the Lord. At this time, I would invite the parents of
(groom's name) and (bride's name) to come forward and light the individual candles which represent the two
separate families who present son and daughter to the Lord in the Sacrament of Matrimony. The two individual
flames, one representing each family, will demonstrate to us in a very beautiful way the symbol of two who
become one." ... [Between the Blessing and Exchange of Rings and the Prayer of the Faithful:] "One in the Lord --
they symbolize this fact by lighting a third candle from their individual ones. From now on they will grow
together as unique persons becoming another Christ, a light to the world."
- "From every human being there rises a light that reaches straight to heaven. And when two souls are destined
for each other and find each other, their streams of light flow together and a single brighter light goes forth
from their united being." (by Baal Shem Tov)