There are so many different cultural traditions and unity ceremonies that can be added to
a wedding ceremony. Details for each ceremony are listed below:

Unity Candle
Sand Ceremony
Rose Ceremony
Glass Breaking
Broom Jumping
Hand Wrapping/Hand Fasting
Hand Blessing
Wine Ceremony
Honey Ceremony
Cord of Three Strands
Bouquet of Love and Support
Family Ceremony
Butterfly or Dove Release

Unity Candle
The unity candle consists of two taper candles symbolizing the couple as individuals and a pillar candle, that when lit by both tapers at the same time, symbolizes the joining
together of two into one. Usually the mothers of the bride and groom light the outside
taper candles during the processional, then the bride and groom light the larger Unity
Candle, symbolizing their new union. This ceremony can also be altered to include new
children entering the family. This ceremony can be added to any wedding package. Not
recommended for outdoor ceremonies.  For more ideas on how to personalize your Unity
Candle ceremony,
click here.  For an outdoor ceremony, I would recommend the Sand
Ceremony, outlined below.
Counter
Ceremony Additions
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Hand Wrapping Ceremony
Photo by jamiegrayfoto
Butterfly or Dove Release
May be done in lieu of tossing rice or rose petals at the couple. Ideally performed
at the end of the ceremony or at "the kiss". The couple is responsible for purchasing
either the butterflies or the doves, although I would be more than happy to assist
with this matter.

Butterfly Release:
According to an American Indian Legend, if anyone desires a wish to come true they
must first capture a butterfly and whisper that wish to it. Since a butterfly can make
no sound, the butterfly can not reveal the wish to anyone but the "Great Spirit" who
hears and sees all. In gratitude for giving the beautiful butterfly its freedom, the Great Spirit always grants the wish. So,
according to legend, by making a wish and giving the butterfly its freedom, the wish will be taken to the heavens and be
granted. Temperatures should be at least 60 degrees F or the butterflies will not be as active.

Dove Release:
The "Ceremonial Dove Release” has been a custom for centuries. The "Noblemen of Olde" released the dove as symbols of
their eternal love for their brides to be. Doves choose one partner for life and make this commitment until death. The white
dove has been used throughout history as a symbol of Love, Peace, Purity, Faithfulness and Prosperity. It is said that if
doves are seen on your wedding day, a happy home is assured. Releasing doves uplifts the eyes, signifies new beginnings,
and true celebrations in flight.
Sand Ceremony
Sand Ceremony
This tradition is similar to the Unity Candle in that it is two smaller
containers of sand that are poured into one larger container. The
individuals are different colors so you can watch them blend
together. The couple will never be separated just as the grains of
sand can never again be separated. This can also be done to
incorporate the joining of families and asking the parents of the
Bride and Groom to also pour their containers into the one larger
container, signifying the unity of the entire family, creating a
wonderful keepsake. Recommended for outdoor ceremonies in lieu
of the Unity Candle.
Rose Ceremony
This ceremony can be done two ways. One is presenting your mothers (and/or grandmothers) with a rose as a way of
showing appreciation for everything they have done for you. The other is exchanging roses as your first gift to each
other as husband and wife.

Glass Breaking
Typically done in Jewish ceremonies (although can be used by anyone) signifying the end of the ceremony and the time
for celebration.

Broom Jumping
Both Celtic and African tradition, this ceremony symbolizes clearing away any negativity with a sweep of the broom and
creating a threshold for the couple to cross over into their new life together. Broom is typically held by members of the
bridal party, but could also be held by parents. I can provide a rustic broom for a nominal fee, or you can decorate your
own, though decorations are not required.

Hand Wrapping/Hand Fasting
Wrapping of the hands is an ancient Celtic tradition. Because the hands
convey the warmth of the heart and the infinity symbol conveys “forever”...
the wrapping of your hands also symbolizes the bringing together of
your two hearts in a marriage of strength and unity.

Hand Blessing Ceremony
In the hand ceremony, the bride takes the groom's hands in hers, palms up
and is invited to view his hands as a gift. Then the same is done by the
Groom. Can also be done together with a shortened version. Often combined with hand wrapping/hand fasting.

Wine Ceremony
In this unity ceremony, the bride pours a white wine while the groom pours a red. This makes a blush wine which can
be served at your reception as a reminder of the ceremony. This can also be done by pouring one glass of wine and
sharing it together.

Honey Ceremony
As honey is a symbol of the sweetness of life, Bride and Groom each dips a finger into a small bowl of honey and then
to the tongue of their loved one.

Cord of Three Strands
The cord of three strands ceremony is a great addition to a traditional wedding ceremony. It adds a truly unique element
to your ceremony that friends and family will remember. It can also serve as a substitute for the unity candle. This is
useful for situations where candles may not be used, or may be difficult.

At some point in the wedding ceremony, the bride and groom braid the Cord of Three Strands together. The groom
holds a small metal ring with three attached strands (or simply tie a knot at the end of the cords). The bride then braids
the strands together, symbolizing the union of God, husband and wife. This ceremony could be adapted to be religious
or non-religious. It can also symbolize the first task completed together as husband and wife.
If you wish to order the
Cord of Three Strings with the metal ring, click here.

Bouquet of Love and Support
Do you have a large family or many close friends that you would like to incorporate in your wedding? Here is a great
way to include them in your ceremony. Friends and family of your choice are given a rose or other flower to bring up
and set in a vase (on the altar or somewhere in the front). I will explain that this bouquet represents all of the people that
are present to love and support you in your marriage. These are the people to lean on when you run into bumpy spots in
your marriage. They will encourage you and help you to stay committed to your spouse and to God. (taken from
www.godsknot.com)

Another option would be to have each individual sitting closest to the aisle hold a rose or other flower. As the bride
enters, she takes the flower to create her bridal bouquet. The groom may hold a ribbon at the altar so that upon the
bride's arrival, he would tie the ribbon around the bouquet to hold all flowers in place - their first task completed
together as husband & wife!
Family Wedding Ceremony
Family Ceremony (to include children)
If there are children to be included in the ceremony there are many ways to do this. The candle
and sand ceremonies can be used with kids. We can add an extra set of vows to include a vow
to the child and even a vow from the child to the parents. Children can be presented with a
medallion or other item. Each family is different and children respond differently depending on
what ages they are. There are so many choices here!
Download the
contract here.
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