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Home > Unity Candles - History, Symbolism & Types

Unity Candles - History, Symbolism & Types

Unity Candles - History, Symbolism & TypesUnity Candles and the ceremony surrounding it are a literal representation of "two hearts become one". The wedding unity candle ceremony is a relatively new wedding tradition and is most often found in weddings in the United States.

How To Use
Typically, a representative from both families light the side taper candles at the beginning of the wedding ceremony. Later in the ceremony the bride and groom light the center pillar candle in the middle to represent the two families (or two lives) joining together. Typically, the unity candle ceremony is preformed towards the end of the ceremony, after the exchange of rings. The ceremony can include a special song, a reading, a poem, an explanation of the symbolism, or just happy glances between the couple as they light their candle.

The unity candle can be personalized, decorated, simple or ornate, it entirely depends on the couple's wedding style. Often couples will re-light the candle on their wedding anniversary.

The unity candle ceremony may have different meanings for different couples and families. Most often it is the representation of two families becoming one, or of the union of two individuals sharing a joint commitment. The side taper candles may continue to be lit to show that the individual families will continue to love and care for the bride and groom, or they may be extinguished to indicate the two lives are permanently merged as one. Alternatively, some couples prefer the meaning that the side candles represent their individual lives coming together as one. The symbolism is entirely up to you and your personal circumstances.

History of the Unity Candle Ceremony
The history of the Unity Candle ceremony is vague, although we can see it as far back as the 1930's. It has become more popular as an example of unity through interfaith couples and interracial couples to show the blending of both worlds into one. While the unity candle ceremony is widespread in modern times, some churches may ban this at the ceremony as the Christian ceremony is full of symbolism.

The unity candle is not necessarily a religious symbol and is not identified with a particular religion or denomination, although religious readings or prayers are often incorporated within unity candle ceremonies.

Unity Candles Today
Many couples still continue to use unity candles to show their love for one another and their union as one. In the case of blended families (those who have children from a prior relationship) may choose to include their children in the ceremony. Additionally, there are many other types of unity ceremonies including: sand, oil, water, rose exchanges, salt, circling of the altar, jumping the broom and more. You do not need to have a unity candle to celebrate your union, as couples are electing to become more unique in their style of marriage.

However, if you want to incorporate this tradition into your wedding, Little Things Favors has a variety of unity candles, holders and sets to set the tone!

2010 Erica Tevis, Little Things Favors

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