30 Beautiful Unity Ceremony Ideas
Here is a list of unique unity ceremony ideas to make your wedding day extra special.
A unity ceremony is a symbolic ritual carried out during a wedding ceremony, it is a unique way to add something extra special to your wedding. There are many different unity ceremonies, but the most common unity ceremonies are sand ceremonies or candle ceremonies. Most often these ceremonies are performed after the giving of the wedding rings and vows.
This list of 30 unity ceremony ideas will go beyond just the most popular ideas, so you can find a symbolic or unique unity ceremony idea to fit your day.
- Love letter ceremony
- Anniversary capsule
- Hand casting ceremony
- Lasso ceremony
- Candle ceremony
- Sand ceremony
- Wine ceremony
- Handfasting ceremony
- Ring warming
- Tree planting
- Art ceremony
- Paint blending ceremony
- Tattoo ceremony
- Knot tying ceremony
- Mother’s rose ceremony
- Gathering ceremony
- Circling ceremony
- Love locks
- Fire ceremony
- Glass pouring ceremony
- Unity quilt
- Wine box ceremony
- Jumping the broom ceremony
- Tea ceremony
- Handwashing ceremony
- Sundial ceremony
- Breaking glass ceremony
- Crowning ceremony
- Hasta milap ceremony
Love letter ceremony
In a love letter ceremony, the couple writes each other a love letter describing what they mean to one another and why they are getting married. These letters are then sealed in envelopes. They each place the letters in a special box that is then locked.
This box should now only be opened for two reasons. The first is if the couple is going through a time where they are questioning their marriage. They should then open the box, with a beverage of choice and read the letter that their partner wrote to them. This will help them reflect on why they chose to get married in the first place.
The second reason could be if the couple chooses a special anniversary date that they might want to open the box and reflect back on the word wedding day.
This is like a time capsule. It can also include love letters, but the couple can add things that have special meaning. A ticket to the movies from a first date, or another special memento, maybe some special photos, and a bottle of wine.
The couple can set a special anniversary date, maybe the 5th or 10th of their marriage to open the time capsule. They can then look back at the photos and memories of their love story and enjoy a glass of wine together whilst reflecting.
Hand casting ceremony
On the day of the wedding, the couple can get a sculpture made of their hands held together, with a hand casting session.
Rosie’s casting studio offers this service and says “I attend the wedding ceremony, cast the couple’s hands, and help them to unpeel the mold to reveal the cast in front of guests at the reception. When the cast is revealed, it will be in its rough state. I will then take the cast home to finish over the following 10-12 weeks.”
This is such a beautiful way to literally set in stone your love for each other.
The wedding lasso rosary is popular in Mexican, Filipino, and Spanish communities. During the ceremony, a large rosary lasso (el lazo) is placed around the bride and groom as a symbol of unity. After the couple has exchanged their vows, their wedding witnesses place the lasso around the couple’s shoulders, and the priest says a prayer. The couple wears the lasso throughout the remainder of the service.
At the end of the ceremony, it is removed by the witnesses or the priest.
A unity candle ceremony is popular for weddings in the Catholic faith. The candle ceremony involves two smaller candles lighting one large center candle.
Traditionally, the smaller candles were lit by the mother of the couple, (using taper candles), and the larger candle by the couple themselves, using the smaller candles. The lit candle represents the uniting of the two families.
A sand ceremony
Wedding sand ceremonies involve the couple pouring colored sand into a single vessel after the exchange of vows. Each person has an individual container of sand. Often the colors of sand are different but they don’t have to be.
When the sand is poured together into a third container it symbolizes the lifelong commitment they are entering. It is like a visual representation of the promises made on the wedding day.
A wine ceremony is perfect for wine lovers. The newly married couple will take their respective wine glasses and pour them into a single glass that they will both drink out of. It is common for the couple to make three toasts as they drink.
Once to their past, once to their present, and once more to their future. The common practice is to have one white wine and one red, to symbolize the mixing of two different lives into one new life. However, the wine choice is up to the couple. For beer lovers, the wine can be swapped for beer.
Handfasting/ Ribbon Tying Ceremony
This ceremony comes from an ancient Celtic tradition. It involves the couple standing face to face, with their hands being bound together by ribbon. The phrase ‘tying the knot!’ likely came from the couple’s hands being tied together.
Ring Warming Ceremony
This ceremony involves all the wedding guests. The couple’s rings are passed around to all the wedding guests. Each guest can briefly hold the rings and bestow their good wishes upon them. The ring warming ceremony is an old Irish tradition.
Tree planting ceremony
A unity tree planting ceremony involves the couple planting a tree together after the exchange of vows. The young tree is planted in fertile soil and watered by the couple to ensure it has a great starting point to grow well. The growing of the tree is a visual representation of the couple growing together in their married life.
Art unity ritual
In an art unity ritual, the couple creates a piece of art together. This is is a fun way to create something special that’s totally unique to you and your partner.
On a blank canvas, paint with brushes or simple squirt paint onto the canvas and let it drip down naturally. If you want to display this in your home, it helps to choose a color scheme that will go with your home decor.
This is similar to the artwork, but not so structured. The couple each holds a vessel of paint, and together they pour it down the canvas. As the paint runs down, it blends together. This is a great option for ceremonies that involve children coming into the family, as they can also have their own paint vessel. This symbolizes the blending together of a new family.
Getting a matching tattoo on your wedding day with your partner is a way to show your permanent bond.
There are two ways to do a knot ceremony similar to the handfasting ceremony, a knot tying ceremony can involve the couple’s hands being tied together with a knot. In another way, the couple can work together to tie a fisherman’s knot in a rope.
The fisherman’s knot is the strongest knot and it symbolizes the strength of the new marriage.
Mother’s Rose Ceremony
A mother’s ceremony is usually performed at the beginning of the wedding ceremony. Either the bride or groom can offer a rose to each of their mothers. This is a symbol to show that marriage is more than just the joining of two people. It is the joining of two families.
In a gathering ceremony, guests are given a small item such as a stone, dried leaves or piece of engraved wood. During the ceremony, the guests can bestow their best wishes on these items. At the end of the ceremony, the items can be collected and put in a display case.
This is a beautiful representation of the support felt towards the couple.
In Jewish tradition, circling is when the bride circles the groom clockwise as a symbol to break down any barriers between the couple.
Traditionally the bride would circle the groom 7 times as 7 is the magic number in Jewish tradition. Nowadays the couple often circles each other, and the number 7 is sometimes brought down to 3 or 4 circles.
In a Love Lock Ceremony, a couple each gets their own heart padlock. They then lock their individual padlocks together as one. They can then pledge to each other that the keys that opened their hearts can never be the keys to break up their bond. Some couples choose to get rid of the keys entirely so they can never be unlocked.
In a Hindu wedding, a fire ceremony is a common ritual. This ritual is known as Havan or Homa. It involves a sacrifice ritual where the couple will offer handfuls of coconut, incense, seeds, and herbs to the fire. It is a symbol of purity.
Glass pouring ceremony
In a glass pouring ceremony, the couple takes turns adding pieces of colorful glass called ‘frit’ to a vessel. After the wedding, this glass is given to a glass artist who will fuse together these pieces of glass and create a stunning piece of artwork.
This is a great way to both symbolize your marriage and create something beautiful to display in your home.
The couple will ask guests to bring a piece of fabric to the ceremony that means something to the couple and their guest, or just a really special piece of fabric that the guest thinks the couple might like. After the ceremony, the guests would give these pieces of fabric to the couple, with the idea that at some point a quilt would be made from them.
This quilt could be decorative or used as a blanket.
Wine box ceremony
A wine box ceremony is a non-religious unity ceremony. In this ritual, a bottle of wine is enclosed in a beautiful box. A love letter, their wedding vows, or a poem can be added in too. The idea is that couple will open this on a special anniversary date.
Jumping the broom
Jumping the broom is a traditional wedding tradition in which the bride and groom jump over a broom after the ceremony. The act symbolizes a new beginning and a sweeping away of the past, and can also signify the joining of two families or offer a respectful nod to family ancestors.
There’s no clear answer as to where jumping the broom came from originally. Some people believe that it began in the 18th century in West Africa where, among some cultures, handmade brooms were used not only for cleaning but also for removing evil spirits.
A tea ceremony is a popular wedding unity ritual in South and East Asia. Traditionally these ceremonies involved the couple serving tea to their elders and close family members. Nowadays it is often just the couple that will pour tea for one another. Then they enjoy the tea together at the altar.
Hand washing ceremony
In a hand washing ceremony, or sometimes foot washing, the couples wash each other’s hands or feet a symbol to release any past emotional blockages.
This lets them enter into the marriage with open hearts. It symbolizes the purity of love, and symbolize a fresh and clean start to the marriage.
This is another ancient Celtic ritual.
Dara Molly writes “The couple face each other on either side of a Sundial and place the index finger of their right hand through the hole. By touching fingers through the hole, they confirm their marriage vows. This continues an ancient practice, where the Sundial was used as a contract stone.
The ceremony ends with each person joining hands with the next and walking/dancing around the sundial in a clockwise direction. This is an ancient Celtic ritual that imitates the sun going around the earth. It brings everybody into harmony with the cosmic rhythms.”
In the Jewish tradition, after the vows, it is traditional to break the glass. A glass is wrapped in a cloth and placed under the wedding canopy. One of the members of the couple will then stomp down on the glass and break it.
The wedding guests will shout “mazal tov!” The symbolism behind the breaking of the glass is supposed to recall the destruction of the temples.
This ceremony is a custom in Greek Orthodox culture. Witnesses known as koumbaroi are appointed to place wedding crowns on the heads of the couple.
The crowns are known as Stefana and they are joined at the back with a ribbon.
Hasta Milap Ceremony
In an hasta Milap ceremony, the bride’s parents place the bride’s and groom’s hands together. They then take a cloth and tie it around their hand and hold them together while the