When many of us think of a "Unity Ceremony" within a wedding ceremony, the first image that comes to mind is probably unity candles. Yes, it is a lovely, meaningful ceremony; but they can be generic and repetitive.
There came a time when unity candles in their current form lost their luster and couples began to refuse them (WHAT? Did I say REFUSE? Can couples do that?? Fast answer: YES).
Allow me to make one exception for a ceremony that is thousands of years old and still performed at every Jewish wedding today: breaking the glass while everyone shouts "Mazel tov!" If you have a wild crowd and permissive couple, they may be lifted up on chairs and passed around to all the guests. For me, this never gets old.
After several years of unity candles becoming a rarity (how many guests even noticed?), modern couples and their officiants decided that unity ceremonies are a good thing (as long as there is more than 1 choice). Today's unity ceremonies are fresh, meaningful, and fascinating.
When deciding whether or not to include a unity ceremony in your wedding, consider multiple factors. First of all, the possibilities are endless. I have a reference that lists at least 100 different unity ceremonies. You can even create your own. Remember....it's YOUR wedding and the strict rules many religious institutions cling to are mostly confined to church weddings.
Next, If you already have a pastor or officiant, are they willing and able to properly lead the ceremony? If not, consider choosing one that does not require the officiant's participation.
What meaning/s do you want to express in your ceremony? Do you want to give a nod to your ancestors? For a blended family, you may use the ceremony as a way to include the children and reinforce that even though you may be "blended," you are still FAMILY. Do you feel connected to your culture or heritage? Do you want a way to help your non English speaking elders to feel included and respected? These are just a few factors that couples might consider when deciding if having a unity ceremony is right for them.
For whatever you conclude, a thorough officiant who is serious about fulfilling your desires for one of the most important days of your lives should be able to assist you with finding and choosing the perfect unity ceremony. They should also help make it happen. Very few of these ceremonies are complex. You should also ask your officiant if he/she will charge for the ceremony and have a plan to collect the materials you will need. This can be part of the fun!
If you just aren't into scavenging materials and figuring out how to put it all together, I offer many supplies and completed items that are ready for your wedding day.....at very reasonable cost. www.Etsy.com is also a great place for buying unity ceremony supplies....and you support small businesses.
One word of caution for those who take to the internet for information on unity ceremonies: there are still people and organizations who believe that marriage should be dictated and performed within churches. They will put out disinformation, hoping to frighten couples who have chosen a different way to marry. The most common is suggesting that these ceremonies are linked to "devil worship" (handfasting is a common target, as is jumping the broom).
These ceremonies have absolutely NOTHING to do with evil. So as always, when researching on the internet, take things with a grain of salt. I am also available to answer questions on this subject.
So be creative....unique. Make your wedding truly memorable and one of a kind! And have fun....preparing a unity ceremony will probably be the least costly item for your entire wedding!
Watch for later blog posts covering specific unity ceremonies.
When members of the British Royal Family marry, they do handfasting. Yes, Will & Cate did it as did Megan and Harry.......and those married before.....