Unity Ceremony - Ideas for a Non-Traditional Ceremony

When we hear the word "wedding", most people have a pretty similar mental image - a white dress, lots of family and friends, maybe even in a church, the bride walking down the aisle to meet her forever partner. But weddings don't have to be this way. In fact, more and more brides are looking for a unique element to add to their wedding to make it a little more personal - especially if the wedding involves the blending of two families. These ideas range from everything involving the lighting of a candle to the planting of a tree. Check out this list for a few ideas of how to work a mini-unity ceremony into your wedding day.

1. The Unity Candle

Perhaps the most common of all unity ceremonies, this sweet gesture usually involves three candles - one large one in the center and one smaller candle on each side. Traditionally, the smaller candles are lit by the mother of the groom and the mother of the bride upon their entrance. Later in the ceremony, the bride and groom take the two candles and light the center candle together, symbolizing the two families joining together.

2. Reverse Unity Candle

There's a saying that "it takes a village" to make a family work. In this play on the unity candle, guests each have their own smaller candles. The unity candle is lit by the bride and groom and then the flame is passed from guest to guest as they light their own candles.

3. The Washing of the Feet

This symbol has religious roots and can often be found in Christian weddings. In this ritual, the bride and groom wash each others feet to show that they will serve each other throughout their lives. The idea comes from servants washing the feet of their masters.

4. Unity Puzzle

This is an excellent way for blended families to incorporate their children into the ceremony. Each piece features the name of a family member and is assembled during the ceremony. We recommend keeping the number of pieces small to limit the amount of time spent putting the puzzle together. This often symbolizes find your "missing piece".

5. Wood Branding

Perfect for rustic weddings, the bride and groom have a custom brand made prior to the ceremony. During the ceremony, the brand is heated and stamped onto a piece of wood. We like this idea because it allows you to create a piece of meaningful art for your new home. Some couples even opt to sign the piece at the end of the ceremony.

6. A Memory Box

In this ritual, couple's bring memories from their relationship and place them in a box. These could be things like letters written to each other or ticket stubs from a special concert or event. Memory boxes are often opened on first anniversaries to see how far you have come in your relationship.

7. Letter Boxes

Similar to memory boxes, letter boxes include notes written by the bride a groom. These are often written the night before the wedding and express feelings of excitement and nervousness. Sometimes there are several letters included with themes like "Open after your first big fight" or "Open when you're feeling lost".

8. Tying a Knot

In this ceremony, the couple literally ties a knot in a piece of ribbon or rope. This symbolizes the strength of their relationship. In more religious ceremonies, three strands may be tied together representing the bride, the groom, and God.

9. Building a heart made of Legos

Another great idea for couples with kids, building a heart made of Legos is a great way to have a custom "art" piece for your new home.

10. The Unity Tree

This is great for environmentally conscious couples! The parents of the bride and groom bring some dirt from their childhood homes to symbolize the joining of the two couples. The new tree is planted at the couples new home.

Whether or not you choose to include a unity ceremony in your big day is completely up to you, but they are a great way to add a unique touch to your wedding!

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