There are so many cool ways to make your wedding day special. I’ve seen all types of wedding themes, wedding exits, centerpieces, and really cool cakes. One other thing that you can do that is fun to watch but also has a much deeper meaning is a unity ceremony.
Today, we will talk about what a unity ceremony is, when to do a unity ceremony, and give you plenty of unity ceremony ideas.
What Is a Unity Ceremony?
A unity ceremony is a ritual that allows two people to declare their love for one another in front of friends and family.
There are lots of different options for a unity ceremony, but the general idea is you are doing something together or creating something together.
It’s also an opportunity for you to share your hopes, dreams and aspirations with those who are closest to you.
When To Have a Unity Ceremony
I always like to say that you can make your wedding your own. You don’t have to follow rules or do things like everyone else. In general, though, the unity ceremony happens during the wedding ceremony.
It’s when everyone is together and paying attention and it fits with the idea of joining two people together.
Depending on what you choose to do, you could also do your unity ceremony another time. For example, lighting lanterns is usually done at the end of the night instead.
What are some unique unity ceremony ideas that can make your wedding memorable?
One of the great things about a unity ceremony is that it makes your wedding ceremony different. I’d say I see a unity ceremony 25% of the time, maybe less. This means your wedding will be more memorable.
Below we will cover a ton of different unity ceremony ideas. Feel free to use one we listed, adjust one, or come up with something on your own.
What are some common unity ceremony ideas?
Some of these ideas have been around for a long time, and others have just become that popular that everyone knows them.
There is nothing wrong with using any of these common ideas as long as it connects with you both.
The unity ceremony that I see the most by far is pouring sand. Basically, you get a jar and sand and you both pour into it. In the end, you have a decoration with two different sands.
The idea is that two different people are coming together and will mix into one beautiful person. I’ve also seen this done with mixed families where the kids will get a color as well.
Handfasting is one of the oldest traditions I could find. From what I understand, it’s where the phrase tying the knot comes from.
With this, an officiant or friends tie the couples’ hands together to show the bond they have.
Lighting a Unity Candle
This is probably the second or third most common unity ceremony idea. You have three candles. Two are smaller and a large one in the middle. Often, the mothers of the couple will light the two smaller candles, but you could have anyone do it. Then, the couple takes the small candles and work together to light the main candle. Again, it’s the idea of two separate things becoming one.
What are some unity ceremony ideas that can incorporate your cultural or religious beliefs?
Most weddings are a religious event, so it makes sense that some will want to incorporate their religion into a unity ceremony. I’ve mainly seen Christian ideas, but I’m sure all religions have their own things you could do.
Wash Each Other’s Feet
Marriage is about taking care of each other and being a servant. Before Jesus was crucified, he washed his disciples’ feet. This is a great way to show your devotion to each other and your Christian beliefs.
One thing to consider is how you will make it all work. You’ll need water and possibly a tub and towel and something to sit on. Also, make sure your venue is ok with you having water out.
Braiding of the Cross
This is a great way to incorporate your Christian beliefs into the ceremony. So the name might be a bit misleading. It doesn’t really have to have a cross. It’s more about the idea of a cord of many strands being hard to break.
Usually there is a wood piece with three strands of rope attached to it. The strands represent the couple and God. Then, the couple works together to braid them together.
Build a cross
Building a cross is another idea that’s similar. The cross is a very strong image for Christians. There are different models for this, but they all involve each person having a piece to the cross. Then, in the end, there are nails or pins to hold it together, and that represents God.
I’ve seen this in several Hispanic weddings, but I believe it goes back to other cultures as well. The couple is wrapped in a lasso by a few people that are very important to them. You could also use flowers or anything that can be wrapped around them.
I have yet to see circling in person, but it’s a part of many Jewish weddings. The couple takes turning walking around each other 7 times. I’m not sure if the 7 comes from the days of creation or because 7 in general is a lucky number.
What are some ways to personalize your unity ceremony to make match your personality?
Your wedding is about the two of you, so everything, including your unity ceremony, should line up with who you are as a couple.
Below are a few ideas that might line up with some couple’s personalities.
Create A Cocktail
Most weddings have a lot of alcohol consumption, so why not start it off early? If you are a big fan of cocktails, you could work together to create a cocktail. It could be something traditional or something of your own creation.
I would suggest something with multiple parts and steps, so it’s not over quickly like if you made a screwdriver (vodka and orange juice). In some cases, you can buy a kit with all the pieces in small containers with the exact amount, so you simply open and pour.
Wine or Beer Pouring
This idea is basically the same as the cocktail except you are using beer or wine. You get two that taste good together and you mix them into a drink. It’s an interesting idea, but I feel like it would require a lot of testing to find something that mixed well.
Make a Sandwich
Ok, I know it seems like I’m only talking about drinks and food, but I’ve seen this one and it’s funny. Pick your favorite sandwich and work together to make it. The best part is you can both take a bite! The one thing to watch out for is allergies. I’m sure you will already have asked, but you’d hate to have someone go to the hospital over your peanut butter.
Build a Lego Set
I know this is really random, but it just shows how you can bring your personality into it. A lot of people like Legos or building or crafts. A simple 25 piece set could be done in like a minute or two.
Another option with this is have the Legos be related to your personality trait. Maybe they are Star Wars or rock climbers or something else cool.
It’s a few minutes of fun, and in the end, you have something to keep in your house or play with later.
What are some ways to make your unity ceremony more interactive and fun for guests?
Yes, your wedding is about you two, but it’s also about the families and friends that you invited. They are there for a reason, so you want to make sure they are entertained.
Some unity ceremonies let all the guests interact and be part of it.
Seal An Anniversary Box
I think most of us had some experience with a time capsule, but I don’t think I ever got to actually open one. Anyway, for your unity ceremony you could seal an anniversary box.
This could be something you do by yourself, but I suggest getting the guests involved. Tell everyone in advance what you are planning and they can bring something to put in the box.
Then, it’s all put in there without the couple knowing. The seal it up together during the ceremony or wedding reception, and then they open it a year later to see what everyone put in there.
Releasing a Wish Lantern
Another fun idea is lighting and releasing a wish lantern. It’s quite challenging at times, so it really requires the couple to work together to pull it off.
Again, this could be done with just the couple or invite the guests to jump in. From my experience, the guests really love it, and the pictures look better with a bunch flying around.
Make sure to talk to your venue and possibly city before doing this. There might be restrictions.
What are some ideas for couples who want a non-traditional unity ceremony?
Honestly, I would say the majority of the unity ceremony ideas I listed are non-traditional, but I wanted to throw in a few other ideas that didn’t really fit anywhere else.
For many couples, they will move in together for the first time after the marriage. They might be buying a house, and a tree planting is great way to show the commitment and longevity of the relationship.
During the wedding, they work together to move a sapling from one container to another, and then add some water. A few days later, they will do another ritual where they actually plant it in the ground.
The cool thing is the tree is a visual reminder of their wedding day and commitment. As the tree grows, so should their marriage.
Besides photography, I’m not much of an artist. The good thing is there are ways to do a painting unity ceremony without any real skill. I’ve seen it done a few different ways. One way is to have a stencil, usually the letter of the last name, and the couple paints over it. Then, when you remove the stencil, you just have the letter. Another option is to do a paint by number type thing. They take turns filling in certain spots with the right color.
Like many of these ideas, it’s fun for the couple and for everyone watching. More importantly, they have something to take home and remember the day and their vows and love for each other.
What are some things to keep in mind when planning your unity ceremony?
When you start planning your unity ceremony, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, will it be fun and add to your wedding? If it’s not something you both want to do, then don’t do it or come up with more ideas. Two, make sure it’s realistic. There are certain things that would be very hard to pull off, take too long, or just are dangerous or not allowed. It’s best to talk to your venue and to even try it out beforehand. Three, is it going to be worth it? Adding this will require planning, money, and time during the day. If you are already struggling with all the normal wedding things, it might be a better idea to skip this.
Creating the Perfect Unity Ritual for Weddings
There are so many good ideas for a unity ceremony, and if I didn’t cover something, feel free to come up with your own idea. Just make sure to go over all the things we talked about to make sure things go smoothly.