Candle Ceremony


The Unity Candle Ceremony requires either three candles or a three-tiered candle stand. If, however, your wedding is outside, you might use glass vases to protect the flame from air movements, and perhaps long matches to transfer the flame from candle to candle. (A barbeque lighter could be used to light the original candles.)

The two outside candles are lit before the service begins. This may be done by an usher or other person designated to the task, or, for even greater significance, you could have the service begin with both mothers processing to the front, lighting one outside candle each, then returning to the back to be ushered to their seat near the front, or merely going together to their seats in the front row.

I often feel that too many words during a candle ceremony may detract from its eloquence. It seems to me that it is a profound symbol in action that speaks its meaning even with few or no words.

Some suggestions for wording during the candle ceremony are:

Now, _(Groom)_ and _(Bride)_ will express their commitment in symbol — two become one.

OR perhaps…

_(Bride)_ and _(Groom)_ ‘s.

The individual candles represent your lives before today.

I ask that each of you take one of the lit candles and that together you light the center candle.

Lighting the center candle represents that your two lives are now joined to one light, and represents the joining together of your two families and sets of friends to one.


Children tend to be fascinated with candles. Involving them in the Unity Candles may therefore provide excellent involvement. This can be done many ways. The bride and groom might light small candles for the children – and then all light the center candle together. While doing so, I will point out that the center candle not only represents the marriage, but also the light and unity of the new family.

The lighting of the center candle represents not only the union of _(Bride)_ and _(Groom)_ in marriage, but the unity formed in this new family in which your lives will now shine as one family.


— adjust according to marital history —

Set up three unlit candles in a stand/stands on a small side table used also for signing docs immediately following this ceremony.

As the following words are read, go to the table, each standing to a side of the table.

“_(Bride)_ and _(Groom)_ were blessed with rich marriages that were deeply fulfilling. When their mates were taken from them, a darkness descended on their souls – loss of love, loneliness, discouragement…. “

As the following is read, light the side candles…but light not the candle closest to you – lean across the table and light the candle closest to your mate.

“Then, in the midst of their darkness a new light dawned, a new relationship arose from the darkness of their loss – not the same, not to be compared with what once was – new, different, right for the new time and place in their lives, the new persons forged form the fires of heartache and disappointment.”

As the following is read, use the two lighted candles to light the centre candle.

Remount the two side candles without extinguishing them.

“Such a new, enlivening relationship is not meant to be sidestepped but enshrined by the permanent commitment of marriage – two who delight in each other becoming one for all the time that life gives them.

(Light candles to these words.)

_(Groom)_ and _(Bride)_ , may the love you have found in each other be a source of joy to you and to others.

May all others stand with you in support of the loving relationship you have found and formalized with the marriage vows you have made this day.”


 © Rev. Ray Cross
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