Sunday, April 27, 2008

Special Observance Ceremonies

The unity candle is one of most well known side ceremonies in the wedding. It is usually done with 2 taper candles and 1 large candle. The tapers are lit before the ceremony, sometimes by the mothers of the bride and groom. During the ceremony the bride and groom take the tapers and light the middle candle signifying 2 people becoming one family unit. Sometimes other candles can be lit in honor of children in the family. A unity candle in an outdoor ceremony can sometimes be a challenge. We recommend a tea light in a votive holder to be lit and on the table in case the wind blows out the tapers. A blown out candle in no way reflects on the future of the marriage.

The sand ceremony can be an alternative to a unity candle for some couples. Containers are needed, one container to pour the sand into, and smaller containers that you pour the sand from. Plain or colored sand can be found at numerous craft stores (as well as online) or can be sand from beaches from prior vacation destinations. This ceremony can be created for just the couple or can include as many people as they desire. The bride and groom pour their two containers of sand into the vessel simultaneously. A small amount of sand can be left in each container to symbolize that although the couple is joined, each remain individuals. If desired, other family members can be asked to pour a container of sand into the vessel. There is a ceremony that is read while the sand is poured.

Hand fasting appears in most cultures in one form or the other, and in many major religions. Its meaning is essentially the same from culture to culture and religion to religion, in that it is symbolic of the couple's "oneness" and unity. The form we use is basically Celtic. We have the bride and groom place their hands on top of each other, and then four separate cords are loosely tied, each cord representing something different. We have also made a "sandwich" of hands when a couple has children they want to include in the ceremony as a symbol that everybody is now tied together as a family.

The rose ceremony is used to thank or honor guests or family members. A rose or other flower is handed to the honored person in the gathering. Usually the reason for the rose presentation is written into the ceremony. In one ceremony, the roses were given to the co-workers in honor of a co-worker who had just passed away. Many times it is used to thank Mothers, Parents and/or grandparents for being there for the couple throughout their lives.

The wine unity ceremony. Three glasses, one empty, one with white wine and one with red wine are placed on a table. At the same time, the bride pours the white wine, while the groom pours the red wine into the empty glass. They then sip from the glass.

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