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Home > Wedding Articles > Wedding Ceremony Articles > What Are Unity Candles? Here's Everything You Need To Know!

What are Unity Candles?

wedding unity candles

Unity candles are typically round or square pillar candles, traditionally in ivory or white, that are lit during the ceremony to signify the joining of couple, uniting as one. The pillar candle is often accompanied by two taper candles, and sometimes even a stand. The unity ceremony is a popular way to commemorate a wedding, and include the family in the process. This unique custom can include a song that's special to the couple, a poem or reading, or simply a happy glance between the couple as they light their candle. Often the candle is saved and re-lit on the wedding anniversary and cherished as a keepsake.

Here are some of the most common questions regarding unity candles and the unity candle ceremony.

What is a unity candle ceremony?

Typically after the formal wedding vows, the unity ceremony will take place. The couple will each use a single taper candle to jointly light the unity pillar candle.

What do unity candles symbolize?

The unity ceremony symbolizes the joining of the couple and the blending of their two families.

Who lights the unity candles at the wedding ceremony?

A representative from each family--often one of the parents, or the maid of honor or best man--will light the taper candle, then pass it along to the bride and groom who will light the unity candle together.

When are unity candles lit?

Most couples opt to light the unity candle after the formal vows have taken place. The unity pillar candle is lit immediately after the taper candles are lit.

How to light unity candles at the wedding?

Simply a lighter or match will do, then each spouse will take a lit taper candle and light the unity candle together. You won't have to light the taper candles until the unity ceremony is about to take place. You should also check with the venue to make sure you are able to use candles during the ceremony, as some locations have restrictions.

Is a unity candle necessary?

Unity candles are definitely not necessary. It is simply something extra you can opt for on the big day.

Why use a unity candle?

This is a timeless ceremony that is just another great way to honor your marriage. It also involves the families of the bride and groom, and is excellent for blending families or even children.

Are parents included in the unity ceremony?

Traditionally, yes--specifically each mother lights the taper candle and passes it along to the couple.

How to have a unity ceremony with divorced parents?

If you're sticking with tradition, only the mothers are included in the ceremony. But if you're hoping to include both parents from both sides, as long as everyone gets along, go for it! And remember - even if you're not including all the parents in this act, there are other ways to involve them in your big day.

The blended family unity candle ceremony.

Blending families is very common today, and often the unity ceremony can be used to signify that. If you are blending two families and want to include your children in the ceremony, you certainly can! With help from the parents, the children can assist in lighting the candle, or pouring sand if you opt for an alternative.

What are some unity candle verses, words that can be used for the ceremony?

Popular phrases that are printed on unity candles or associated with the ceremony include (but are not limited to!):
  • Honor, Love, Cherish
  • This day I will marry my friend, the one I laugh with, live for, dream with, love.
  • One love that is shared by two.
  • Two shall become one.

What are some unity candle songs for a wedding?

This is completely up to you, the couple! If you're incorporating this tradition into a religious ceremony, perhaps you'll want to play gospel, or something that is relevant to your faith. If you want something more casual, you can go with a traditional love song, or even something that relates to the two of you personally.

Does a unity candle have to be white?

While most unity candles are made in white, many are offered in ivory as well. However, you do do not have to exclusively use a white unity candle (just as the bride does not have to wear a white dress). You'll find that many unity candles are decorated so they can be personalized or match a certain theme, which can incorporate color into the white candle.

Are unity candles religious?

The unity candle ceremony is not religious, and not known to be affiliated with any religion.

What religion uses unity candles?

No specific religion uses a unity candle, as it is a not a religious act.

Are unity candles Catholic?

Unity candles are not a Catholic tradition. In fact, some churches prohibit the ceremony because the formal vows and wedding ceremony itself are full of unity symbolism.

When is a unity candle lit in a Catholic wedding ceremony?

Again, as it is not a Catholic tradition, some churches may not allow it. However, if your church does allow it and you wish to incorporate it, it is usually performed after the formal vows. Some churches only allow the lighting of the unity candle from the Paschal candle, and others will not allow it on the altar. Individual rules may vary from parish to parish so you you would discuss with your priest or pastor.

What types of unity candles are there for religious ceremonies?

You'll find many personalized unity candles when shopping online! Some are printed with cross, scripture, or bible verses.

What kind of unity candle can I use for an outdoor ceremony?

As long as the weather cooperates, you can use a unity candle outside. But if you're worried about rain or wind, perhaps you should consider some unity candle alternatives, such as unity candles with sand, wine ceremony, or rose ceremony. Many couples choose to have a unity ceremony but don't want to use an actual candle. There are many unity candle alternatives! The sand ceremony is the most popular unity alternative. A large vase will take the place of the unity candle, and two smaller vases will hold sand (usually a different color in each). Then the couple will pour the sand into the large vase. This can also be done with wine, or even flowers.

We proudly carry a wide variety of unity candles in a variety of colors, designs, themes, and personalized options. We also offer unity candle alternatives such as wine or sand ceremony sets!

© Kelsey Bowen, 2017, Little Things Favors


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