Unity Candle Resources

The unity candle is a common element added to many wedding ceremonies.  It involves three separate candles, the middle one being the 'unity candle'.

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.



Sample Ceremonies

Including Your Children

Unity Candle Ceremony Tips

The 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

Before 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?

There 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

When 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 to you.

If you choose to extinguish your tapers, try this reading:

As [Name] 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.

If you'd prefer to leave your tapers lit, try this one...

[Name] 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)

Ceremony 1

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 new light.

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.

Ceremony 2

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.

Ceremony 3

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 expectations.

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, whenever necessary.

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 becoming one.

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 home.

Ceremony 4

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.

Ceremony 5

"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 ceremony.)

"I ask you now, will you light your Unity
Candle, from the Mother's Candles previously lit,
which symbolized the fate and life they have shared with their children."

(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 you:
Where you go I will go;
Where you lodge I will lodge;
Your people will be my people, and your God my God" (Ruth 1:16).

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.

Ceremony 6

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 into one.

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 love.

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 Candle Ceremony.

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.