When to Light the Unity Candle at a Wedding

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If you are currently planning your wedding are you’re helping someone to plan a wedding, “when to light the unity candle” or “who should light the unity candle” are questions that come up often during the wedding plans?

When it comes to planning a wedding, I’ve never seen two weddings just alike and doubt if I ever will.

Why?

Because each couple has their own creative style and idea for the wedding they want to have.

So, let’s talk about the history of the unity candle. How it words. And what is the purpose of the unity candle.

When to Light the Unity Candle at a Wedding

Where did the Unity Candle tradition come from?

Ceremonies with the unity candle is relatively a new tradition. Its use has become more popular in the last few decades.

However, the exact origin of the unity candle is unknown.

An episode of “General Hospital” in 1981 may help explain the initial popularity of the unity candle.

Symbolically, flames are said to represent the love and passion the bride and groom have for each other.

Joining the two flames together paints a picture of the bride and groom coming together as one.

When to Light the Unity Candle at a Wedding

Is the Unity Candle rooted in Christianity?

I’m not aware of any reference to the unity candle in the bible pertaining to a marriage.

Many Christians associate flames with the Holy Spirit and they incorporate this belief into wedding ceremonies.

But you do not have to be a christian if you wish to have a unity candle apart of your wedding.

How do Unity Candles work?

The lighting of the unity candle is lit by the bride and groom from the two separate families.

This represents the uniting of two families through the bride and groom coming together and creating their own family.

Most often the mother’s of both sides of the family will light the candle.

The bride and groom will then take the lit family candles and light their unity candle together (which could be a larger candle, different color or different design).

Another option would be to have the fathers to participate as well.

Why?

Because it gives the reflection of the commitment each of you is making to each other and it reminds everyone present of your parents’ commitments.

When should the unity candle be lit?

The unity candle is lit directly after the bride and groom exchange vows.

When to Light the Unity Candle at a Wedding

Are there any alternatives to the Unity Candle?

I’ve heard of a wine ceremony or a water and sand ceremony but I have not witnessed either.

  • Wine Ceremony – Couples for the wine ceremony would pour their own carafe of wine into a single glass.
  • Sand and Water – This represents the uniting of two souls together as one

In Conclusion – When to light the Unity Candle

Is a relatively a new tradition that started a few decades ago. An episode of General Hospital in 1981 may have helped ignite the popularity of the Unity Candle.

The mother’s of the bride and groom usually light a family candle (but the father’s can participate to show their commitment to each other).

The bride and groom use the family candle to light the unity candle directly after the exchanging of vows.

However, if you like the idea of the unity candle but would prefer an alternative.

A “wine ceremony” or “sand and water ceremony” or two alternative options.

Whether you chose the unity candle, wine or sand and water ceremony.

Each of these represent the coming together of two families through the bride and groom creating their own family.

But the answer of when to light the unity candle is immediately after the exchanging of vows.

I hope this helps!

An excellent resource for wedding ideas, vendor and more is The Knot.

Cheers!

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