Em­pha­size unity in cer­e­mony

The Republican Herald - - WEDDING GUIDE -

Wed­dings cel­e­brate the join­ing to­gether of hearts, fam­i­lies and homes. The uni­fi­ca­tion of a cou­ple pledg­ing vows to each other is the key com­po­nent of the cer­e­mony, and unity rit­u­als are com­mon dur­ing both tra­di­tional and non­tra­di­tional wed­dings.

Unity cer­e­monies rep­re­sent the magic of two peo­ple com­ing to­gether as one. Unity rit­u­als may be built into cer­tain re­li­gious or cul­tural wed­dings as a nor­mal part of the fes­tiv­i­ties. Other cou­ples may want to em­brace the idea of a unity cer­e­mony to add some­thing ex­tra spe­cial to their cer­e­monies.

Cou­ples seek­ing creative op­tions for unity rit­u­als as part of their wed­ding cer­e­monies can ex­plore these clever ideas:

• Can­dle light­ing — The light­ing of a unity can­dle is one of the more rec­og­niz­able and tra­di­tional unity rit­u­als. Dur­ing this rit­ual, the bride and the groom each light an in­di­vid­ual can­dle and then to­gether light a larger can­dle, which cel­e­brates them com­ing to­gether as one.

• Sand pour­ing — The pour­ing of sand into a ves­sel also is a pop­u­lar unity rit­ual. In this rit­ual, cou­ples choose two sands of dif­fer­ent col­ors and then pour their re­spec­tive col­ors into a ves­sel, al­low­ing the dif­fer­ent hues to mix to­gether. This rit­ual can be ex­panded to in­clude other fam­ily mem­bers, with a rain­bow of col­ors blend­ing for a now uni­fied join­ing of fam­i­lies.

• Unity cross — Chris­tians may en­joy a unity cross rit­ual at their cer­e­mony. A unity cross is a dec­o­ra­tive cross with a holder, and the cross is held in place by three pins, which sym­bol­ize the Fa­ther, Son and the Holy Spirit. Dur­ing this rit­ual, the bride, groom and of­fi­ciant will each set a pin in place.

• Tree plant­ing — Plant­ing a tree or shrub that can grow with the mar­riage is a green idea and one that takes unity rit­u­als to a dif­fer­ent level. Cou­ples can place the sapling in a dec­o­ra­tive pot and then take turns wa­ter­ing it. Later, the tree can be planted out­side the cou­ple’s first home.

• Lasso cer­e­mony — This rit­ual is tra­di­tional in many Span­ish- and Filipino speak­ing coun­tries. Af­ter vows are ex­changed, the of­fi­ciant wraps a flo­ral gar­land or rosary around the cou­ple. At the end of the cer­e­mony, the gar­land is saved as a sym­bol of unity and love.

• Hand­fast­ing — This rit­ual comes from an an­cient Celtic tra­di­tion that bounds the bride and groom’s right hands to­gether dur­ing the wed­ding cer­e­mony. Hand­fast­ing sym­bol­izes cou­ples’ com­mit­ments to one an­other.

• Flower cer­e­mony — In this rit­ual, cou­ples can ex­change roses or a fa­vorite flower and then place them in a vase or bas­ket. All mem­bers of the fam­ily also are in­vited to place a sin­gle flower into the ves­sel, which ul­ti­mately re­sults in a beau­ti­ful flo­ral dis­play.

Cou­ples can cre­ate their own unique unity cer­e­monies. The blend­ing of any two ma­te­ri­als, such as wine, tea, glass beads, or paint, or even the tra­di­tional ty­ing of knots will con­vey the sym­bol­ism of join­ing as one.

Cou­ples of­ten par­tic­i­pate in unity cer­e­monies, which may in­clude light­ing a can­dle or pour­ing sand.

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