Many weddings feature unity ceremonies for two simple reasons. First, they show a symbolic "joining" of the couple (for example, in combining two individual candle flames to light a larger candle), which is what a wedding is all about. Second, they offer an almost infinite range of customization possibilities. Customizing your unity ceremony lets you engineer a wedding modeled on timeless traditions that still reflects your passions, personalities and priorities.
Object Representing Passion
Choose a "unity object" that reflects a passion shared by both members of the couple, rather than using a more generic (or, some would say, universal) symbol like candles or wine. Unity objects can be almost anything. If you cherish handmade crafts and take pride in supporting local artisans, hire a craftsperson to make a custom-painted wooden heart made from two interlocking halves. Each member of the couple can start with one half at the beginning of the ceremony and combine it with the other half to form the heart. Inked couples can dramatically reveal complementary tattoos, whether silly (a piece of macaroni on the bride, a wedge of cheese on the groom) or sweet (each other's initials surrounded by a heart). Adventurers can tie a knot in a climbing rope together, pledging always to have each other "on belay." Techies can whip out their cell phones and simultaneously change their social networking statuses to "married."
Share Symbolic Meaning
Write the text of the ceremony to share with everyone the symbolic meanings of the objects and actions in the ceremony to imbue the actions with significance. For example, as you each hold a single lit candle while looking at each other, the wedding officiant could say, "These solitary candles represent the people you were on that summer day five years when you first met. Now, as you use the small candles to light this larger one, you pledge to share your love and energy to help each other burn brightly and joyfully in love, family, health, work and play." Choose the verbs based on the symbolic object you used. Consider emphasizing one core value, principle or pursuit that you and your loved one hold deeply important, whether that be faith, family, the pursuit of social justice or the pursuit of perfect surfing waves.
Involve the Attendees
Design the unity ceremony to involve everyone in attendance. This will not only help people feel connected to the couple and the ceremony, but also make it more memorable--and can provide a great photo opportunity. For example, give each person a tiny vial of bubbles. Have the officiant invite the audience to think of a loving, supportive wish or burst of energy to "send" to you and your loved one in your new life together. Then invite the audience to blow their good wishes toward you in bubble form. Or, in a small wedding, give each attendee a flower and ask him to contribute the flower to a bouquet representing the community and family support for the couple.
- Photo Credit light unity candle wedding ceremony bride groom event image by Paul Retherford from Fotolia.com Two Goblets with Wine image by Astroid from Fotolia.com petals from a flowergirl's basket. image by Matthew Antonino from Fotolia.com
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