The Unity candle-lighting ceremony usually involves the couple lighting one large candle from two smaller family candles lit by each of their mothers, representing the merging of two families.
After the couple light's the unity candle together, they will either extinguish their individual candle, or each other's individual candles. This represents the closing of the chapters in their individual lives and the beginning of new chapters in their married life.
This is also a ceremony in which the entire audience can participate. Once the couple lights the Unity candle, they can each turn and share their light with someone from the first row of seated guests on their side. That person will then share it with the person next to them and so forth, until all of the candles are lit. The officiant will then suggest that each person make a good wish for the couple, and then blow out their candle.
Handfasting is an ancient marriage ritual made popular in Ireland and Scotland. This symbolic binding together of the couple’s hands is the origin of the familiar expression, “tying the knot.”
During the ceremony, the officiant introduces the concept of handfasting so your guests can appreciate its history and significance. Afterwards someone important to you, (bridal party member, parent or otherwise) take ribbons and tie them around your wrists and through your hands to bind the two of you together. They are finished with a visible knot.
A sand ceremony expresses the joining of two people or two families into one new family. Typically, each person has different colored sand and takes turns pouring it into one clear vessel, forming a layered effect. Sometimes just the couple participates, and sometimes the couple's children and/or parents join in with their own colored sand, adding to the layers of colors, and expressing the harmony of the entire family. To finish, everyone pours at the same time, forming a mix of colors at the top that represents the newly united family.
The sand ceremony is based on a unity candle ceremony, yet with a candle, the flame eventually will blow out. The advantage of the sand ceremony is that there is a lasting memento to display in your home.
The tradition of God’s knot consists of tying three ropes into a braid during the ceremony. Each strand has a significant meaning. The gold strand represents the divinity of God. This covenant relationship is initiated by him, will be built under his authority, and is intended to glorify him. The purple and white strands represent the couple and their relationship with Christ.
In braiding these threes strands together it signifies that a marriage is more than the joining of two lives, it is a unity with God as well.
The ring warming tradition begins at the opening of your ceremony and ends with the ring exchange. At the beginning of your ceremony, your officiant will let your guests know that your rings will be making their way through the assembled guests, with an invitation for each guest to hold the ring, say a silent prayer, good thought, or blessing for your marriage, and then pass it to the next guest.
The rings then filter through the guests, and continue until it's time for you and your partner to present the rings to each other.
The time-capsule ceremony is a reminder of the durability of your love and the lifetime commitment of marriage. Before the ceremony, the couple collects important mementos from their relationship: ticket stubs, photos, trinkets, notes, cards, etc. In addition, the couple will write a love letter to each other. During the ceremony, all these tokens of love are sealed up in a box. The box is kept in a special place in their home and opened on your first, fifth, tenth or twentieth anniversary.
The wedding couple exchanges two red roses, symbolizing the giving and receiving of their love for each other throughout their entire married life. The Rose Ceremony also conveys how to use the rose and its symbolism in difficult times in order to forgive each other.
The tradition of Jumping the Broom symbolizes sweeping away the old and welcoming the new.
The jumping of the broom also represents crossing the threshold between past and present, and symbolizes going from an engaged couple to a married couple. Starting a new life with another person requires a leap of faith, and by taking this leap, the couple shows their commitment to work together through their marriage.
During this unity ritual, the couple together release a paper lantern into the air, allowing their love to float into the universe as one.
Traditionally, sky lanterns are sent with well wishes, good thoughts and blessings for a happy marriage either written on the lantern or with a note tied to it.
Newlyweds are enchanted by the idea of watching their dreams for the future literally "take flight" on their wedding day.
"These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever. These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future. These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other. These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow, and tears of joy. These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children. These are the hands that will help you to hold your family as one. These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it. And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.”
“From the beginning of my life I have been looking for your face, but today I have seen it. Today I have seen the charm, the beauty, the unfathomable grace of the face that I was looking for. Today I have found you, and those who laughed and scorned me yesterday are sorry that they were not looking as I did. I am bewildered by the magnificence of your beauty, and wish to see you with a hundred eyes. My heart has burned with passion and has searched forever for this wondrous beauty that I now behold. I am ashamed to call this love human, and afraid of God to call it divine. Your fragrant breath, like the morning breeze, has come to the stillness of the garden. You have breathed new life into me. I have become your sunshine, and also your shadow. My soul is screaming in ecstasy. Every fiber of my being is in love with you. Your effulgence has lit a fire in my heart, and you have made radiant for me the earth and sky. My arrow of love has arrived at the target. I am in the house of mercy, and my heart is a place of prayer.”
“It is often said that it is love that makes the world go round. However, without doubt, it is friendship which keeps our spinning existence on an even keel. True friendship provides so many of the essentials for a happy life-it is the foundation on which to build an enduring relationship, it is the mortar which bonds us together in harmony, and it is the calm, warm protection we sometimes need when the world outside seems cold and chaotic. True friendship holds a mirror to our foibles and failings, without destroying our sense of worthiness. True friendship nurtures our hopes, supports us in our disappointments, and encourages us to grow to our best potential. (Bride) and (Groom) came together as friends. Today, they pledge to each other not only their love, but also the strength, warmth and, most importantly, the fun of true friendship.”
by Judy Bielicki
“I love you, not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you, not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me. I love you, for the part of me that you bring out. I love you, for putting your hand into my heaped-up heart, and passing over all the foolish, weak things that you can’t help dimly seeing there, and for drawing out, into the light, all the beautiful belongings that no one else had looked quite far enough to find. I love you, because you are helping me to make of the lumber of my life, not a tavern, but a temple. Out of the works of my every day, not a reproach, but a song. I love you, because you have done more than any creed could have done to make me good, and more than any fate could have done to make me happy. You have done it without a touch, without a word, without a sign. You have done it by being yourself. Perhaps that is what being a friend means, after all.”
by Roy Croft
"Sooner or later we begin to understand that love is more than verses on valentines, and romance in the movies. We begin to know that love is here and now, real and true, the most important thing in our lives. For love is the creator of our favorite memories, and the foundation of our fondest dreams. Love is a promise that is always kept, a fortune that can never be spent, and a seed that can flourish in even the most unlikely of places. And this radiance that never fades, this mysterious and magical joy, is the greatest treasure of all -- one known only by those who love."
"Love is friendship caught fire; it is quiet, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection, and makes allowances for human weaknesses. Love is content with the present, hopes for the future, and does not brood over the past. It is the day-in and day-out chronicles of irritations, problems, compromises, small disappointments, big victories, and working toward common goals. If you have love in your life, it can make up for a great many things you lack. If you do not have it, no matter what else there is, it is not enough."
by Laura Hendricks