The unity candle is a
common element added to many wedding ceremonies. It
involves three separate candles, the middle one being the
Typically, the candles are placed at the
front on a table or altar. The two side candles are lit
before the beginning of the ceremony by representatives of
each family (often the mothers of the bride and groom).
After the declaration and signing of the license the bride and
groom each take one of the side candles and together light the
middle unity candle. This symbolizes their separate
lives and families now being joined together.
Unity Candle Ceremony Tips
unity candle symbolizes the very essence of the wedding
ceremony. Two taper candles, representing the couple as
individuals, are used to light a single center candle as a
visible symbol of their commitment to each other. There are
many variations on the ceremony and the individual details
are completely up to you. Here are some ideas to help you as
you plan your ceremony.
Preparing for Your Ceremony
the ceremony begins, place the unity candle on a small table
near the altar. If you have an on-site coordinator who may
have specific instructions, be sure to check in advance. To
prepare for the ceremony, it is a good idea to light the
wicks for a moment. (We know you won't be nervous or
anything...but just in case, your candles will light much
more easily.) Oh, and who's got the matches?
are several popular options for lighting you taper candles.
You can have your parents come forward to light the side
tapers as a symbol of your two families coming together as
one. At this point, some couples choose to present their
mothers with a rose. If you wish, the minister or best man
and the maid of honor can light the tapers. Or, you may
light the tapers yourselves from a candle on the altar.
To Extinguish or Not to Extinguish
it comes to your unity candle ceremony, that is often the
question! While some folks feel that you should extinguish
the candles to symbolize your commitment to one another,
others argue that to emphasize your individuality within
your union, you must leave the tapers lit. Whether or not
you extinguish the taper candles is a personal decision and,
like many aspects of your wedding planning, is entirely up
choose to extinguish your tapers, try this reading:
and [Name] together light the center candle, they will
extinguish their own candles, thus letting the center candle
symbolize the union of their lives. As this one light cannot
be divided, neither will their lives be divided.
prefer to leave your tapers lit, try this one...
and [Name] come into their marriage relationship as
individuals and they do not lose their identity, rather they
use their individuality to create and strengthen the
relationship of marriage. Therefore, the three candles
remain lighted, one for each of them and one for their
marriage, as symbols of their commitment to each other and
to a lasting and loving marriage.
Sample Unity Candle Ceremonies
(different ideas we have come across)
This candle you are about to light is a candle of
Marriage. It's fire is magical because it represents the
light of two people in love.
This candle before you is a candle of Commitment because
it takes two people working together to keep it aflame.
This candle is also a candle of Unity because both must
come together, giving a spark of themselves, to create the
As you light this candle today, may the brightness of the
flame shine throughout your lives. May it give you courage
and reassurance in darkness. Warmth and safety in the cold.
And strength and joy in your bodies, minds, and spirits.
May your union be forever blessed.
From every human being there rises a light that reaches
straight to heaven. And when two souls who are destined to
be together find each other, their streams of light flow
together, and a single, brighter light goes forth from their
united being. In this spirit, bride and groom, take your
individual candles and light together a third candle which
signifies your marital bond.
May the light of love, and the light of understanding,
and the light of respect, and the light of tolerance shine
eternally for you both.
Now, we're going to engage in a ceremony of spiritual
symbolism. Ancient sages tell us that for each of us, there
is a candle, a symbol of our own inner light, but that no
one can kindle his or her own candle. Each of us needs
someone else to kindle it for us.
When two people fall in love, they kindle each other's
candles, creating great light and joy and glorious
Now, (Bride) and (Groom), I'd like you to remember when
it was in your relationship that you first realized you were
truly in love and wanted to spend the rest of your lives
together. And holding that thought...
(Groom), (pick up candle), take this candle, symbol of
the inner light in (Bride), lit by the eternal light, with
the dedication to rekindle it again and again, whenever
necessary. And (Bride), (pick up candle), take this candle,
symbol of the inner light in (Groom), lit by the eternal
light, with the dedication to rekindle it again and again,
With these candles, we can see how to achieve a beautiful
marriage. In your marriage, you will try to bring these
lights, the symbols of yourselves, closer and closer to each
other, until they become (join the flames) one great torch
of light a radiant symbol of love, joy, peace and harmony.
(hold flames together) This is the mystery of the union two
Yet, it is vitally important to remember that there are
always really two (divide the flames) in a marriage, each
with his or her own desires, yearnings, dreams and wishes.
And these must be respected and responded to with great
love, with great compassion and with genuine tenderness.
We know that it is the prayer of your beloved, as it is
the prayer of each of us here, that you will continuously
light these candles of love, so that there will always be
light and joy, peace and harmony in your hearts and in your
Today bride and groom come here from two different
families. Out of these two families, a new family will be
created in the Lord. At this time, I would invite the
parents of ________and__________ to come forward and light
the individual candles which represent the two separate
families. The two individual flames, one representing each
family, will demonstrate to us in a very beautiful way the
symbol of two who become one. From now on they will grow
together as unique persons becoming a light to the world.
"The scripture tells us that life is
like a flame,
It has its own warmth, and its own brilliance,
But it's in the union of Two, that something brighter,
warmer, more wonderful takes place.
You have chosen the Unity Candle as a symbol of your love
and life to come, and the lighting of the Unity Candle
signifies that you are now TWO in ONE flesh.
(The Bride and Groom goes to the Unity Candle which the
Mothers lit before they were seated at start of the
"I ask you now, will you light your
Candle, from the Mother's Candles previously lit,
which symbolized the fate and life they have shared with
(After the bride and groom put the flame of the two
mothers' candles previously lit and light their Unity
Candle, they blow out the flame of the mothers' candles, and
put them back in the holder. Then, I ask the bride and groom
to join hands by the Unity Candle, look at each other, and
repeat after me.)
"Entreat me not to leave you, or to return from following
Where you go I will go;
Where you lodge I will lodge;
Your people will be my people, and your God my God" (Ruth
There can be and are variations in the Unity Candle
Celebration, but the above is the one I use which has become
most popular one chosen by the bride and groom.
Today, [Name] and [Name] make a loving commitment to
follow the greatest Commandment of all: "Love one another,
as I have loved you." They do this in hopes that their union
will become a symbol of God's promise to merge two lives
The two distinct flames represent your lives to this
moment; individual and unique. As you light the center
candle together, the entwined rings symbolize your two lives
joined in dependence and growing maturity. Your plans will
be mutual, your joys and sorrows will be shared alike. The
cross is a reminder of your faith in the Lord who who
enriches your marriage in every way.
Extinguish the two, and you are forever united in God's
Children and Your Unity Candle Ceremony
If you're tying the knot for the second time around,
especially if your children are involved, there are several
unique ways to still celebrate the beauty of the Unity
Include your children in the meaningful lighting of the
Unity Candle. The eternal symbol of two flames becoming one
not only means two hearts becoming one, but an entire family
uniting as one force. Here are some ideas for you and your
children's' Unity Candle Ceremony.
Have Your Kids Light the Candles
During the processional, or just right before the
ceremony, have both of your children light the individual
tapers - mom's kids light mom's candle, and the same for
dad. If only one of you have children, you might consider
having the child light the parent's candle while the other's
mother lights their individual candle. This is a great way
to include your children in the ceremony, as well as make
them feel a part of their new family.
Have Your Kids Join You In Lighting the Unity Candle
If you have your parents light your individual tapers
before the ceremony begins, or perhaps if you, the bride and
groom, light them yourselves, also have your kids light an
individual taper for themselves as well. When it's time to
light the the Unity Candle, each member of your new family
takes their own taper candle and contributes to the single
flame. This is a beautiful, emotional way to bring your
family together in a ceremonial bond.
Create Your Own Unique Ceremony
Reverend Ann Palmer of Palm Springs, CA, describes an
unusual rendition of the Unity Candle Ceremony: "I would
like to tell you about one surprising Unity Candle service I
did. The bride had 2 daughters and the Groom had 2 sons.
They wanted to have the children feel a part of their union.
I suggested that we include them in the Unity Candle
service. After we had gone through most of the candle
service including their individual vows to each other they
had written, they lit the Unity candle. After that, I had
the Groom light the Bride's daughters' candles and the Bride
light the Groom's sons candles. In unison they read a
statement to the children, then all six joined their
individual candles to the one Unity candle. Of course we
hadn't practiced and we were all surpassed to see the flame
flare up. The audience all swooned "ahhhh" - it was a
surprising moment but beautiful. That was the most unusual
Unity Candle service I have done to date."
More Second Wedding Unity Candle Ideas
Make your children feel they're already a part
of a new family. Choose a Unity Candle specially printed
with your names, your wedding date, and also your children's
names right on the candle.
Give your children a symbol of your new family
that they can always keep. New Beginnings Medallions come
with a special poem for little ones, and the silver
medallion can be engraved on the back.
Make your daughters feel extra special as they
enter a new family. A necklace with a new beginnings charm,
accompanied by a sweet poem, is something she can wear as a
reminder of the beautiful wedding.
Including all of your new family in the lighting of your
unity candle makes it a unique, personal ceremony that
everyone will remember for years to come.