A Wedding Unity Tradition makes a beautiful addition to any ceremony

We have a whole wide world of unity traditions to select from. Add a brief explanation of the significance and a beautiful reading or poem to make the tradition uniquely yours!

Some highlights of possible unity ceremonies are listed below:

The Unity Candle:
Rose Ceremony:
Wine Ceremony:
Water Ceremony:
Sand Ceremony:
Salt Ceremony:
Breaking Bread Ceremony:
Garland Ceremony or Lei Ceremony:
Broom Jumping:
Lasso Ceremony:
Celtic Oathing Stone:
Truce Bell:
Cord of Three Strands Ceremony:
Butterfly Release:
Flower or Bouquet Ceremony:
Glass Breaking:
Hand Fasting or Hand Wrapping:
Hand Blessing Ceremony:
Honey Ceremony:

Unity Candle

one of the most common ceremonies. The bride and groom each take a lit candle and simultaneously light a third larger "unity candle." They may blow out their individual lights, or leave them lit, symbolizing that they have not lost their individuality with their union.. Stores are now selling elaborate unity candle sets including ones with candelabras to hold the central unity candle higher than the others. Many suppliers also now offer candles which are personalized with your names and the date of your wedding, allowing it to be a keepsake from your wedding.

Variation 1:
All guests are given a candle, and the first guest's is lit. Guests pass the flame until all are lit. Often times the parents of the bride and groom are the last to light their individual candles. The bride and the groom then light their candles from their parents before the couple lights the central unity candle together. This variation often includes a proclamation, reading, or poem.

Variation 2:
Children of the bride and/or groom join in with their own smaller unity candles to represent the family joining.

Rose Ceremony

In this unity ceremony the bride and groom exchange roses.

Variation 1:
The bride’s family presents a rose to the groom to welcome him into their family. The groom’s parents present a rose to the bride to welcome her into the family.

Variation 2:
The bride and groom exchange roses, then present their mothers with the roses.

Variation 3:
friends and family bring roses (or other flowers) to the alter and place them in a large vase.

Wine Ceremony

The bride and groom each take a carafe of wine and pour it into a single glass, which they both drink from.

Water Ceremony

The couple each pour different colored water into a single glass, creating a third color.

Sand Ceremony
similar to the water ceremony, the bride and groom both pour different colored sand into a glass.

Possible words………
Just as the sand, once poured and mixed, literally become impossible to separate, so your lives are inseparably joined together.” Variation 1:
Couples with children include them in this ceremony. Using different colors and giving each child their separate vase to pour into the center vase makes the children feel not only a part of the ceremony, but also a part of the family.

Variation 2:
The minister pours the first sand into the unity vase to represent God as the foundation of their relationship. Then on top of the base, the couples pour their two colors together.

Variation 3:
Both sets of parents pour sand into the vase before the bride and groom to represent the joining together of separate families.

Salt Ceremony

Indian weddings often include a salt ceremony, where the bride passes a handful of salt to her groom without spilling any. He then passes it back to her and the exchange is repeated three times. She then performs the salt exchange with all the members of the groom's family, symbolizing her blending in with her new family.

Breaking Bread Ceremony

The bride and groom tear off pieces of bread, and then each eat a piece. Sometimes the bread is also shared with family and friends. It symbolizes their future as a family together.

Garland Ceremony or Lei Ceremony

The bride and groom exchange garlands of flowers.

In Hawaiian weddings, the bride and groom typically exchange leis. The families may also exchange leis with the couple. Leis represent the love and respect you have for the person you are giving it to, and the unity of the new family. This is a beautiful addition to any wedding, especially one taking place at a beach, a garden, or one with a Hawaian or tropical theme. This is also a wonderful tradition to draw other members of the family into and is great for weddings where the bride or groom have children from a previous relationship.

In the Hindu/Indian tradition the garland ceremony is referred to as Jaimala. The couple exchanges garlands as a gesture of acceptance of one another and a pledge to respect one another as partners.


In Eastern European weddings the couple circles the altar three times, representing their first steps together as husband and wife.

In Hindu ceremonies there are two different circling ceremonies. In the ceremony of Saptapadi, or (Seven Steps), the couple hold hands and take seven steps together around a fire; each making a vow to the other with each step.

In the Hindu ceremony of Agni Pradakshina, or (Fire Circumambulation) the couple walk hand in hand, clockwise around a fire either four or seven times. (A large candle on a small circular table works well.) The bride often takes the lead for the first three rounds and the groom leads for the last four. Each round is generally devoted to a particular aspect of marriage. Either the officiant or one of the couple offers a prayer or poem with each round. This beautiful unity ceremonies can be incorporated into any wedding ceremony, by using a large candle on a small circular table.

In traditional Jewish weddings, the bride circles the groom three or seven times at the beginning of the ceremony. The bride's circle represents her shift in commitments: Her top priority is now her husband. Until recently, liberal Jews usually chose to omit this ritual from their ceremony since it suggested the bride's subservience to her groom. But circling, with a new perspective is now becoming very popular liberal Jewish or Interfaith weddings. Some brides now view their circles as an active moment in which she defines familial space. Others share the ritual: The bride circles the groom, and then the groom the bride. These variations reflect "updates" on Jewish tradition that correspond to the couple's egalitarian values and priorities. And some couples choose to have the bride circle the grrom three times, the groom circle the bride three times, then the couple joins hands and walks in a circle together. This ritual shows their devotion to one another and their promise to work together on the relationship.

Broom Jumping

In the United States broom jumping is mainly known as an African American tradition. Yet it also is a tradition known to the Celtics in Ireland and Scotland as well as to the Welch. This ceremony symbolizes clearing away any negativity with a sweep of the broom thus creating a threshold for the couple to leap over into their new life together. Typically the beautifully decorated broom is held, or placed on the ground by members of the bridal party, but could also be done by parents, or other family members. The bride and groom jump over it together. The broom often becomes a treasured family heirloom.

Lasso Ceremony

Lasso or rope is placed around the bride and groom's shoulders, by the officiant. or a close family member. Sometimes rosary beads, or orange flowers are used instead of rope. It can also be placed around the couple's necks, or wrists.

Celtic Oathing Stone

The couple holds or puts their hands on a stone during their vows to "set them in stone" (I also believe this is where this phrase comes from, or so the rumor goes)."

Truce Bell

A bell is rung on the wedding day, the happiest day of the couple's lives and then is placed in a central location in the home. If the couple starts to argue, one of them can ring the truce bell, reminding them both of that happiness and hopefully ending the disagreement quickly.

Cord of Three Strands Ceremony

The cord of three strands ceremony is a great addition to a traditional wedding ceremony. It adds a truly unique element to your ceremony that friends and family will remember. It can also serve as a substitute for the unity candle. This is useful for situations where candles may not be used, or may be difficult. The Cord of Three Strands works well as a substitute in outside weddings. The cord can be home made or purchased online at

At some point in the wedding ceremony, the bride and groom braid the Cord of Three Strands together. The groom holds a small metal ring with three attached strands. The bride then braids the strands together, symbolizing the union of God, husband and wife. The colors of the cords are significant.

* Gold Strand - Represents God at the center of the Marriage, or in a secular marriage ceremony, it can represent their union.

* Purple Strand - Represents the Groom

* White Strand - Represents the Bride

Marriage takes three; you, your soon to be spouse, and God. It was God who taught us to love. By keeping Him at the center of your marriage, His love will continue to bind you together as one throughout your marriage.

The God's Knot - Cord of Three Strands is a beautifully handcrafted symbol to be used in your wedding ceremony. It consists of:

* High quality rayon cord in a deep purple, a brilliant gold, and a bright white. * Each cord is about 1/2 inch thick and about 25 inches long. * Brass colored metal ring about 2 and 1/2 inches in diameter * An explanation card that can be reproduced in your bulletin, read in your ceremony, or displayed with your braided cord after the wedding.

Are there readings for the Cord of Three Strands?

While braiding the Cord of Three Strands, you may wish to have someone read an explanation of the ceremony. You may also simply play music or have a song sung.

How do I keep the ends together once we've braided the strands?

Included with each Cord of Three Strands from God's Knot, there is a gold thread and rubber band to bind the ends of the strands together once you have braided the cord. You may find it easier to use the rubber band during the ceremony, and the gold thread to match the look of the cord later when you have time.

Possible ceremony reading………….

Today, [name of groom] and [name of bride] have chosen to braid three strands together into a single cord. Each strand has a significant meaning.

The gold strand represents God and His love.
The purple strand represents the groom and his life.
The white strand represents the bride and her life.
In braiding these three strands together, [name of groom] and [name of bride] have demonstrated that their marriage is more than a joining of two lives together. It is a unity with God as well. They have chosen to allow God to be at the center of their marriage, woven into every aspect of it.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 reads, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

Today, [name of groom] and [name of bride] have been woven together by God as ONE in marriage!

Butterfly Release

According to an American Indian Legend, if anyone desires a wish to come true he or she must first capture a butterfly and whisper that wish to it. Since a butterfly can make no sound, the butterfly can not reveal the wish to anyone but the "Great Spirit" who hears and sees all. In gratitude for giving the beautiful butterfly its freedom, the Great Spirit always grants the wish. So, according to legend, by making a wish and giving the butterfly its freedom, the wish will be taken to the heavens and be granted. Temperatures should be at least 60 degrees F or the butterflies will not be as active.

Flower or Bouquet Ceremony

Do you have a large family or many close friends that you would like to incorporate in your wedding? Here is a great way to include them in your ceremony. Friends and family of your choice are given a rose or other flower to bring up and set in a vase (on the altar or somewhere in the front). This bouquet represents all of the people who are present to love and support you in your marriage. These are the people to lean on when you run into rough spots in your marriage. They will encourage you and help you to stay committed to each other.
In this tradition the Mother of the bride and mother of the groom each carry a bouquet down the aisle, placing it in two waiting large vases. The Bride and Groom each take a flower from their family bouquet (or break off a flower from the bouquet) and place them together in a smaller vase or bud vase.

Glass Breaking

Typically done in Jewish ceremonies (although can be used by anyone) This tradition is done at the end of the ceremony, right before the proclamation of marriage and the kiss. Traditionally only the groom broke the glass, today the bride often joins in with the same (ouch, be careful of toes!) or a seperate glass.

Officiant can say……..

As __________ and ____________ break the glass, this symbolizes that their love and relationship are fragile so they must be cared for and not broken.

Or Officiant can say……….

The breaking of this glass serves to remind of two very important aspects of a marriage. The bride and groom - and everyone - should consider these marriage vows as an permanent - just as permanent and final as the breaking of this glass is unchangeable. May your bond of love be as difficult to break as it would be to put together the pieces of this glass. After __________ breaks the glass, I invite everyone to shout the Hebrew words “Mazel Tov,” meaning “Good Luck” and “Congratulations!

Hand Fasting

Wrapping of the hands is an ancient Celtic tradition. The hands convey the warmth of the heart and the infinity (or figure eight )symbol conveys “forever”. The wrapping of your hands also symbolizes the bringing together of your lives in a marriage of strength and unity.

Hand Blessing Ceremony

* This is my own personal favorite unity tradition. In the hand ceremony, the bride takes the groom'shands in hers and is invited to view his hands as a gift. Then the same is done by the Groom. A beautiful reading is then shared by the officiant. Ask me about it!

Honey Ceremony

As honey is a symbol of the sweetness of life, Bride and Groom each dips a finger into a small bowl of honey and then to the tongue of their loved one. It is their first taste together of the sweet life that lies ahead.


San-san-ku-do literally translates in Japanese as three-three-nine-times. In this wedding unity ceremony the bride and bridegroom have a three-times-three exchange of nuptial cups, taking a small sip of Sake with each pass.


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