This unity candle for wedding ceremonies is a great choice! Find out what makes it unique and find out everything else you need to know with top unity candle ideas. Join the list for the latest to your inbox!
Are you looking for a unity candle for your wedding? Or do you already know what kind of candle you’d like, but you have questions about the unity candle ceremony itself?
We’ve created this helpful resource with all of your questions answered for your traditional unity ceremony including who, what, where, why, and how it works. And yes, we’re also including a few mistakes to avoid when planning out your unity candle ceremony. :)
We’ll also show you where to buy a unity candle from a few resources with many design options.
We’ve thought of everything so you don’t miss a thing… including your most-asked question: how to keep unity candle from blowing out. Let’s get started!
Before we tackle the DOs and DONTs, let’s first talk about why couples need a unity candle for wedding ceremonies — and why a candle ceremony is a popular choice.
Why Should You Do a Unity Candle Ceremony?
Why should you do a unity ceremony? It is a nice tradition that is included in many classic or traditional wedding ceremonies.
What Does Unity Candle Symbolize?
The use of a unity candle at your wedding symbolizes two individuals joining in the union of marriage. The lighting of the taper candles — one taper candle representing each individual — also represents the joining of two families together, with the couple’s bond of marriage at the center, hereby represented by the lighting of the unity candle from the taper candles.
What Does a Unity Candle Look Like?
Your unity candle set consists of three parts: two taper candles and one central candle, placed in between the tapers. The unity candle itself is either a glass vase with a floating candle on top or a pillar candle, whichever style you prefer.
Where to Buy Unity Candle for Wedding Ceremonies
The first one is a pillar candle vase, which is a unique alternative.
The vase is filled with water and you add a floating candle to the top as your unity candle. It works great for your unity candle set and in addition, can be used at home. Yes, this means you can make unity candle flower arrangements after the wedding and enjoy fresh flowers with your personalized vase year-round! :) Your unity candle is personalized: the glass on your vase is permanently engraved and the designs will never wash off. (That is a big plus!)
The second option is a unity candle with a beautiful clay plaque on the front and two taper candles with holders featuring your monogram. These make a lovely gift to enjoy at home afterward, too.
Either design works well for any wedding theme, any color palette — you name it!
WHAT YOU NEED FOR A UNITY CANDLE CEREMONY
Here is your list of what you need if planning a unity candle ceremony:
For the floating candle option, you’ll need taper candles (they are not included). They are included in the clay set.
The taper candles you’ll need — one on each side — are available here. We recommend buying highly-rated 10″ taper candles in white or ivory. The taper candles should match the floating candle you select inside the vase. Prefer white? These are a great option. Want ivory? Try these instead.)
You will also need taper candle holders so they stand upright on their own. This is one simple, inexpensive option (and you can use them again at home). By Nightkey for around $10 for a pair of candle holders.
It is helpful to keep a lighter on the table so you can re-light it if necessary. You can use a small white pocket lighter like this, so it blends in with the tablecloth.
Now that you know what you need, let’s talk about helpful unity candle tips.
Unity Candle Ceremony Mistakes to Avoid
1. Place your unity candle on its own table.
If you’re planning a traditional wedding, the unity candle is sometimes placed on the altar inside a place of worship or a small side table. Outdoors, you may need to bring in a separate small table. Cover it with a tablecloth and place the candles on top: a unity candle in the middle, one taper candle on either side and a small lighter placed nearby.
Why? This keeps your candle from igniting anything else, causing a fire, or getting in the way of your vows. This is some very helpful stuff. :)
2. Keep your unity candle from blowing out.
If you’re having a unity candle ceremony outdoors, that’s great! Don’t worry about the flame going out, which can happen if you have a small breeze. Here’s what to do: buy a box of trick birthday candles (the kind you can’t blow out). With a drill and a small drill bit (1/3 should do the trick), replace the wick of the floating candle wick with the trick candle wick. You want the trick candlewick 2 inches down and leave half or 1/4 of an inch at the top of the candle to light it properly. Make sure you remove the wax from the tip of the candle leaving just the wick. If the wind blows the candle out, it will relight itself.
This is a great trick to use for pumpkins outdoors, too! I know because I’ve had many a pumpkin candle blow out with windy October nights!
PRO TIP: If you’re using this tip to keep your unity candle from blowing out, try it first on a separate candle before the wedding and test it out.
NOTE: You can extinguish the trick candle with water after the ceremony.
3. Invite your parents or mothers to light the taper candles
For a traditional unity candle ceremony, the mothers light the taper candles.
When do moms light unity candle tapers? Before the wedding ceremony begins.
4. The couple lights the unity candle together.
When does the unity candle ceremony get lit? Who lights the unity candle? You and your new spouse will light the unity candle together, directly after you exchange your wedding vows (and rings). Your officiant will let you know when (and you can list it in a wedding program like this in the order of events). Here is an example of a ceremony program with the lighting of the unity candle as part of its events (this program is by Jennifer Wick):
It’s easy to light the unity candle: one person takes one taper candle, and the other partner takes the other. Since they are already ignited (from the moms before the ceremony), you do not need to relight them (unless they blew out from the wind). You will then use the taper candles to light the central unity candle together.
5. Avoid placing the candle anywhere that may ignite.
Keep your candles away from anything that may catch on fire, i.e. a bouquet of flowers or floral arrangement, papers, etc. And don’t lean in too far when you light it to keep your veil or hair from catching the flame.
6. Take your time when lighting the candle.
Don’t rush it! This is a great opportunity to say something to your spouse, take a moment of silence together, or at least stand still for a moment so your photographer can capture the moment on camera.
For our traditional wedding, which was held in a church, our musician played music during the unity candle ceremony. After we lit the candle, we walked over to a religious statue as instructed by our priest and stood together off to the side, admiring the statue and spending a moment of quiet time together. In total, it was probably only a minute or two; we were off to the side so we were able to talk quietly for a minute. It was one of the most memorable parts of our ceremony because we got to spend our first “official” moments as spouses together, one-on-one.
7. Extinguish the flames after the ceremony.
Your officiant will likely take care of extinguishing the flames from the ceremony candle following the nuptials. However, just to be sure, make sure someone is appointed to do so, if not your officiant. As mentioned, a trick flame (if you go that route) can be extinguished with water. If you choose this unity candle vase, your candle will be floating inside water already, which makes it even easier.
Unity Candle Alternatives
If you’re not interested in a unity candle, but you like the idea of a unity ceremony, there are two other unique options to choose from including a sand ceremony or wine ceremony.
• Sand Unity Ceremony
For a sand unity ceremony, fill one vessel with one color of sand; the other vessel has another shade. Together, fill the central unity vase with colorful sand from each vessel.
You can get a sand ceremony set from Design’s The Limit:
Or from Susabellas:
• Wine Ceremony
Prefer a wine ceremony instead? This is a popular option for a wine themed wedding.
You fill two wine glasses with wine. Traditionally, you select two wines that represent you as a couple (your favorite type, flavor, etc.) Then, you pour the wine glasses into the carafe. One will hold the carafe, the other holds one wine glass: the carafe pours wine into one glass and you each take a sip. It represents the blending of two lives together in the bond of marriage.
You can get a wine ceremony set from this section at Design’s The Limit.
If you’re worried about being shaky when pouring the wine, spilling, or making a general mess, use this funnel when pouring the wine into the carafe.
Bonus: you’ll have an aerator to use after the wedding. :)
Hope it helps!
Shop Unity Candle for Wedding (+ Alternatives)
Happy Planning + Unity Candle Lighting! :) You’ll do great!
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Design’s The Limit and Susabellas are Featured Artists at Emmaline Bride.