Unity Candle Ceremony: Wedding Day Traditions

Wedding traditions come and go, some change and morph into slightly different traditions, some disappear while new ones are also created every year. In the latest piece from our ‘Traditions’ series, we wanted to cover unity candle ceremonies at weddings.

Adding a unity candle ceremony into your wedding day can be a great idea to include a personal touch mixed with a bit of tradition to add to the intimacy of your special day. There are a few things you should know before you make a decision on wether or not a unity candle ceremony is right for you, so let us give you all the information you'll need before you jump into a tradition like this one!

What is a unity candle ceremony?

A unity candle ceremony is a common yet newer age wedding tradition that is added into a couples overall wedding ceremony to symbolise the joining of a person and their partner with the lighting of a candle. It’s often thought of as a representation of the passion a husband and wife share for each other and the fire that exists between them. 

How does a unity candle ceremony work?

During the latter part of a wedding ceremony, the officiant will generally transition into the candle ceremony by explaining the meaning of it to all of the guests in attendance. Once the officiant has done this, the bride and groom will light a candle each, generally from a smaller plain candle or candles, also known as a ‘votive candle’. The couple will then use their individual candles to light a bigger pillar candle together at the same time. This creates the fire that represents the couple becoming one which is then followed by the couple blowing out each others smaller plain candles, which represents the ending of their individual lives alone to match the new candle showing their new life together, as one. Some couples may choose to have their parents (usually the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom) light the votive candles for them.

Alternatively, some couples have chosen people important to them to do the candles for them in their entirety. I’ve personally attended a wedding where the brides mother and the grooms mother took the individual candles to light them on behalf of their children and then light the unity candle to signify the joining of their children in life.

Should you have a unity candle ceremony?

As always, everything comes down to personal preference, but if you’re looking for something extra to really personalise your ceremony and take it to that next level or to add another layer of intimacy to your wedding day, a unity candle can be a great option to consider.

One important thing to note if you’re considering a unity candle ceremony; if you’re having a church wedding, you'll want to be sure to speak to your contacts at the church in advance. While unity candles have been a common theme at weddings over the last 60+ years, it’s still something that not all churches will accept at a church wedding and may expect you to include it in your wedding reception rather than your church ceremony.

How do I buy or find a unity candle for my ceremony?

Finding the perfect unity candle for your wedding ceremony has never been easier than it is in today’s era of buying online. There are many wedding stores (both online and actual physical stores) that sell these as well as an extensive array of online stores you can purchase from. Etsy is a great place for starters if you want a custom made specific one or you want a unity candle made by a human you can talk directly with. Additionally, you can always make your own if you want to. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 large pillar candle (this will be the central candle that represents the joining of your partner and yourself)
  • 2 smaller candles (often known as ‘taper candles’)
  • 2 votive candles (votive candles are smaller, usually circular, candles that you’ll light your smaller taper candles from)

All of these can be found online and a lot of vendors will sell a pack of all 5 candles for you in one place to make everything easier for you. You can then decorate these yourself to match the theme of your wedding. Using Pinterest is a really good way to get some ideas on how it's been done before too. Just search 'Unity candle ceremony' and you'll see a ton of examples of brides who have had them at their wedding ceremonies.

We hope this blog has helped if you’ve had any questions or worries about wether a unity candle ceremony is right for you, and as always, if you have any other questions or included a unity candle at your wedding, please let us know below!

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