I am currently creating a ceremony for a couple who want to include the lighting of a Unity Candle and this has become a very popular element in a wedding. You can buy a special candle holder consisting of a central stand for a large pillar candle (the Unity Candle) with two arms for smaller taper candles. The smaller candles are lit at the beginning of the ceremony and represent the bride and groom – or the two families – who are to be joined together. Later in the ceremony the central candle is lit by bride and groom together from the smaller candles, signifying their union.
The couples could say something like this together, as part of their vows:
In the lighting of this candle together we bring the flame of love, warmth and energy to our relationship and to the life we now live as one. As one, our desire is for a living flame of eternal love, and a warm glow of everlasting friendship, and we offer each other the constant presence of loving care and unconditional accpetance in our life together.
Or the celebrant might draw attention to the symbolism, allowing time for the couple to look into each others eyes, saying for example:
(Bride’s Name) and (Groom’s Name) entered this room as single individuals, each burning with individual energy and light … The light, warmth and constant burning flame of this One Candle they now light together represents the love, warmth and energy that is now greater, warmer, stronger and brighter in their new life as One.
Usually the candle is white, symbolising the presence of spirit, the purity of your intentions, and new beginnings. But it could also be red, symbolising the passion and strength of your love.
You can also have your candle specially decorated with the names of bride and groom, and the date, and maybe also a short prayer or inscription or even a picture. The candle can be kept for the future and lit on special family occasions, perhaps on wedding anniversaries as an occasion of remembering the vows and promises made.
Some candles incorporate a small slot for a tealight which can be renewed, so that in this way the candle will last indefinitely. Again, this symbolises beautifully the eternal love of the couple for one another and regularly lighting a candle together and meditating on your unity and your mutual love could be a very positive and creative spiritual practice for a you to share together, or individually at times when circumstances mean you have to be apart.
Another thought is that if you wanted to acknowledge more explicitly that it is the two families, or tribes, who are to be united you could use a large pillar candle surrounded by tealights on a large round candle plate. This way smaller tealight candles could be lit by certain representatives of your family and friends. Or if there are not too many guests at your ceremony, everyone present could light a candle at the beginning, representing the love, support and good wishes they bring with them to the occasion.
Well, I hope this gives you some ideas for your wedding day! Love and blessings to you ….