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Unity Candles for your Sacred Union

Aug 17, 2007
Visualize weddings as like a jigsaw puzzle of traditions. Everyone has their own customs they bring from their family and culture. When a man and woman decide to marry, they each bring a piece of the puzzle to create a unique tradition of their own. The lighting of unity candles is one of these traditions that have become more popular within the past ten to twenty years.

When referring to unity candles, there are actually three. Two thin tapered candles stand for two individuals who will unite in marriage. There is also a large pillar candle that will be lit which signifies the joining of the two individuals. Depending on the location and preference, sometimes you will have a special candle dish or holder which will house all three unity candles. Other times you will have the large candle in the middle and the other two flanking it. Individual candle holders may be used for the unity candles as well.

The lighting of the unity candles has no religious connotations, but is representative of what a marriage is all about. There are no written rules on how the lighting of the unity candles should be performed. Therefore, you can create your own traditions and tailor this ritual to suit your wedding ceremony.

Typically, though, the unity candles are lit right after the wedding rings are exchanged but before the bride and groom are announced as husband and wife. There are also variations on who originally lights the individual unity candles. Sometimes, the individual tapered unity candles are lit before the ceremony starts and stay lit throughout the entire process. Other times, the parents of the bride and groom step forward after the ring presentation to light the candles.

The practice of the lighting of the unity candles also may have the bride and groom each lighting their own during the ritual. Then they come together and light the larger one in a symbol of unity, of two becoming one. Some debate exists about whether or not to blow out the individual tapered unity candles or leave them lit. One argument for blowing out the individual candles is that it symbolizes your forsaking the single life and committing to one another in marriage. On the flip side, leaving them lit means that while you are committed to one another in marriage, you are not forsaking your own individualism either.

Now that you have an idea about the ritual of lighting the unity candles, did you realize that are so many to choose from too? The unity candles are made in a variety of styles, shapes and sizes. Some are simple and unadorned. Others are elaborate and showy, decorated in a style suited to match your wedding décor.

These unity candles are customizable too. You can make them personal by having your wedding date printed on it along with your names. A special quote or short poem might be appropriate to convey your sentiments about marriage.

Marriage is the biggest commitment a person makes. Lighting of the unity candles as part of your wedding ceremony makes a big impact. Not only are you reciting vows before your loved ones, but you are also symbolizing your union in a very visual way.

So what do you do with the unity candles once the ceremony is over? Keep them to light for special occasions like your anniversary or the birth of a new child. You will be able to enjoy your unity candles for years to come.
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