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The Unity Candle

The fifth in a series of marriage rituals

The Unity Candle ritual is chosen by many couples. It's a popular choice for a marriage ceremony and has no religious significance. It can be successfully combined with a blessing.

In a nutshell, three candles are set at the front of the ceremony space – the Unity or Marriage Candle in the centre. It is flanked by two single candles representing your two families uniting in the marriage and symbolising your individual lives up until this day.

The celebrant opens the ceremony and then invites your parents (more often mother's) to come forward and light your family candle. After vows are said, the celebrant invites you to each take a taper and light it from the flame of your family candle and to join the flames to light your Marriage Candle.

The lighting together represents your united strength, the warmth of your love, the sacredness of your relationship and the light that will guide you throughout your lives together.

Blessing from parents

This can be done in two parts. The first is just prior to the sequence of getting married. The celebrant invites parents to come forward and to give their blessing to you. Often done by the fathers, they briefly speak to you about marriage and its significance. Parents then sit down.

The second is after the pronouncement. The parents come forward again and form a circle by joining hands around you as the celebrant gives the blessing. This can be quite profound for you and your parents.

The parental blessing can be beautifully coupled with the candle ceremony that begins with the lighting of family candles by the mothers’.

Just a quick comment about candles in ceremonies. Nothing gathers consciousness and calm like the flickering of candle flame. However an outdoor setting presents issues. You can use glass hurricane lamps or vases avoiding the 'wind' factor - in daytime the flames will be almost invisible.

Take great care in choosing your candles. They ideally need to have a sloping top so the melting candle wax can drip and not pool at the top and snuff out the flame.

Have a great wedding, make it one to remember for a lifetime.

Jo x

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