Unity Rituals

One of the ways couples can personalize their wedding ceremony is through inclusion of a unity ritual. These can be as diverse as the two individuals involved, and there are as many renditions as the internet can possibly find for you. Below is a sampling of some of the more common options, but I’m happy to discuss any idea you may have to determine if it can be used to symbolize unity in your ceremony.

Unity Candle
One of the most common unity rituals, couples use individual tapers to light a central pillar representing their unity in marriage. Family can also be included by lighting the individual tapers, or a whole congregation can “pass the flame” from the back up to the couple to then light the central candle. These ceremonies are particularly beautiful indoors or at night.

Sand Ceremony
Another common unity ritual, sand ceremonies utilize different colors of sand poured into a central vessel to create an artistic piece for display in the home. These can be done with two colors for couples, or multiple colors as a way to involve children. Perfect for beach or summer weddings, they can also be used in almost any setting (though not recommended in high winds)

Rose Ceremony20140712-174705
Roses have long communicated a language of their own, with red roses always symbolizing love. This ceremony not only shows your union the day of your wedding, but giving each of your first gift as a wedded couple, but also makes a commitment to using roses in the future to speak for you when words may fail.

Excerpt from the Rose Ceremony
“Your gift to each other for your wedding today has been your wedding rings…which shall always be an outward demonstration of your vows of love and respect; and a public showing of your commitment to each other.  For your first gift as husband and wife…that gift will be a single red rose. In the past, the rose was considered a symbol of love and a single rose always meant only one thing…it meant the words…”I love you.”  So it is appropriate that for your first gift…as husband and wife…that gift would be a single rose. Please exchange your first gift as husband and wife.

In some ways it seems like you have not done anything at all. Just a moment ago you were holding one small rose…and now you are holding one small rose.  In some ways, a marriage ceremony is like this.  In some ways, tomorrow is going to seem no different than yesterday.  But in fact today, just now, you both have given and received one of the most valuable and precious gifts of life…one I hope you always remember…the gift of true and abiding love within the devotion of marriage.”

A full ceremony version is available upon consultation

20140712-174223Handfasting
Handfastings have a variety of origins, and in many cultures represent the binding of two lives. 1-6 cords or ties (can be a variety of materials) are used to “tie the knot.” This can be used as couples read their vows, or as a separate ceremony.

Excerpt from a Handfasting Ceremony
“_______ and ______, please join your hands to form an infinity circle, visually demonstrating that your love will always be present and will run between the two of you throughout the years.
These cords are a symbol of the life you have chosen to live together. Until this moment you have been separate in thought, word, and deed. But as these cords are tied together, so shall your lives become intertwined. With these cords I bind you to the vows that you make to one another. With this knot, I tie you heart to heart, together as one.”

A full ceremony version is available upon consultation

Wine/Whiskey CeremoniesH&A-1248
As Rochester and the Finger Lakes are well known for our local wineries, including a wine ceremony can bring some local flair to your ceremony! It’s a great addition to weddings at any time of the year, but particularly in summer and fall. If wine’s not your thing, maybe a nice whiskey, bourbon or other aging liquor might be more appropriate!

Wine Blending Ceremony Excerpt:
“Marriages are a blending of lives, and of families, and __________ and __________ have decided today to symbolize this joining through a wine ceremony. Western NY is a well-known and respected viticultural region, and today’s ceremony will use wines from the region to figuratively “put down roots” for ____________ and ____________ as they begin their new lives together.

These individual wines also represent the two families that will be joined today. By combining the two ________ and _______ express their willingness to join these two families and to take the values and traditions.

Each individual wine holds it own beauty and character and can stand on it own and without needing anything else. However blended together they create a new and extraordinary more intricate entity.

Please pour the wines together in the unity glass to symbolize the union of your two lives and families.

As with any glass of wine, one of you may have found it sweet and the other perhaps dry or different. Let the drink you shared today serve as a reminder that although you may perceive things differently, you will remember that marriage requires compromise and you will be able to blend the differences you each have as you have blended the wines to create a new wine. With this always remembered your lives together will become deeper, richer and more satisfying just as a rare fine wine.”

A full ceremony version is available upon consultation

Wine/Whiskey Box Ceremony Excerpt
The Wine Box ceremony utilizes a wooden wine box as a pseudo time capsule. Couples write a letter to their spouse, which is then sealed in the box with a bottle of wine. It is only to be opened on a particular anniversary, or in times of trouble when reconnecting with their feelings on their wedding day will help ease the situation. The letters and wine are placed in the box during the ceremony and then sealed (clasps or nailing shut).

“_____ and _____ have chosen as a couple to perform a Love Letter & Wine Box ceremony.

This box contains a bottle of wine, two glasses, and a love letter from each to the other. The letters describe the good qualities they find in one another, the reasons they fell in love, and their reasons for choosing to marry. The letters are sealed in individual envelopes and they have not seen what the other has written. You have created your very own “romantic” time capsule.

I recommend that you keep the box in a place of honor prominently displayed in your home as a constant reminder of your commitment to each other.”

A full ceremony version is available upon consultation

Sky Lantern Ceremony
A more recent addition to unity ceremonies, a couple may choose to light a sky lantern rather than a unity candle. It is important to check with venue and town regulations regarding the release of these lanterns, as some areas (particularly those on airport flight paths), may not allow their use or may prohibit lighting due to fire restrictions, particularly during dry summer months. This works best for evening or night weddings.