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About forty to fifty years ago, the wedding ceremony ritual of lighting a Unity Candle became popular.  The Unity Candles Ritual represents the joining of two people and their families.  Traditionally, the mothers of the couple, just before the wedding march, will walk together into the ceremony area and each will light a tapered candle in representation of their child/family member about to take their vows.  The candles are placed on either side of a pillar candle that remains unlit throughout the ceremony until the couple unites.


Two long stemmed red* roses are often placed upon the table where and when the Unity Candle altar is set up.  The roses will lend an additional beauty to the altar before Unity Candle is lit by the couple, but holds a very lovely and special heartfelt meaning. 


After the couple exchanges their vows, they will light the pillar candle using the flames from the tapered candles, signifying several generations of commitment, the unity of their two families and the uniting of the couple into one heart and life.


After the lighting of the Unity Candle, the couple will each take a rose. (Don’t forget to remove the thorns!) The Bride will give hers to her new mother-in-law and the Groom will give his to his new mother-in-law.  (The Mother-in-law or any other significant matriarch representing the family may receive the roses.) Some couples choose to give their roses to their own mothers instead.  *A white rose is used in a substitute matriarch situation when the mother is deceased and an empty chair or alternate  representative may received the white rose.




Now we shall celebrate this union as it is symbolized through the lighting of the Unity Candle. Light is the essence of our existence. Each one of us possesses an inner glow that represents our hopes, our dreams and aspirations through life. 

Bride and Groom, please go forward and take the two tapered candles, and light the center candle representing your marriage as unified. Then blow out the candles as you are now committing your hearts as one heart.

The lighting of the center candle represents not only the union in marriage, but the unity formed in which their lives will now shine as one.

Each candle’s flame represents their lives before this day: individual, unique and special. But together the light of the center candle symbolizes the union of their individual lives and the center flame will help to make their marriage even brighter and stronger.

As they light this candle today, may the brightness of the flame shine throughout their lives. May it give them courage and reassurance in darkness, warmth and safety in the cold, and strength and joy in their bodies, minds, and spirits.

You will see that Bride and Groom are now bringing one pure red rose to their new family mother. The roses represent a welcoming of and extending to their new families a stronger love and an acceptance of them as family: once separate, now as one whole.

As the candle of your marriage burns brightly, remember that the two tapers of yourselves are not diminished. You do not disappear in marriage. You remain you.  But in joining, both lights are brighter, each supports the other and miracles can happen. 

From this day forward, may you bask in the beauty of the light of your love, may its light shine bright and steady upon your path together and may its heat keep you warm through all the days of your lives and beyond.  May your union forever be blessed.

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