Friday, March 8, 2013

The Stuff We're Skipping: the Unity Candle

Yes, this is a blatant rip-off of Miss Otter's "The Stuff We're Skipping" series. I was going to come up with a clever name but... I'm not that clever. She wrote about choosing to forgo the programs, removing the garter, and the wedding website. I'm going to continue her awesome series and talk about two (or three) things that Mr. Lemur and I are skipping in our wedding.

I'm not sure how prevalent having a unity candle is in other cultures, but in the Protestant Christian culture it seems like every wedding has a unity candle. (I read somewhere that this is not true of Catholicism, but I don't know much about that! If anyone wants to comment and clarify, I'd love to hear about it.)

I assumed this was a hallowed tradition, you know, one of those Things You Have To Do. I was never a huge fan of the unity candle—the practice seems strange to me and it causes awkward moments where the candle doesn't light right away or it blows out.

Image via / Photo by Natalie Franke Photography

I think the unity candle does make for some really sweet moments. It's a symbol of support from the parents as their children get married and form their own families. Sometimes the lighting is accompanied by a song or reading by a friend or family member—this is special!

Image via / Photo by Evan Miller

I've also seen people do ceremonies with unity sand. Rather than light a candle, the two parties pour sand into a larger container at the same time. This solves the blowing the candle out problem—and might be cute for a beach wedding!

Image via

All of these ideas are sweet, but they're not for me. At first I thought I had to come up with something new and exciting if I wasn't going to do a unity candle—like somehow I was depriving my guests if they couldn't watch us light a candle together. Really though, the unity candle is just a tradition. The importance is the symbolism—which we're already showing by choosing to leave our families to form our own.

So no unity candle for us! What about you? Did you do something special?

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