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Do I need a unity candle at my wedding?

Wedding ceremonies are steeped in tradition and symbolism, with couples often incorporating meaningful rituals and customs to symbolize the union of two people becoming one. One commonly used ritual is the unity candle ceremony, which involves lighting a candle that symbolizes the joining of the two families into one. But the question is, do you need a unity candle at your wedding?

The History of the Unity Candle Tradition

The unity candle ceremony is a relatively modern tradition that originated in the United States. The practice is usually performed after the wedding vows with the lighting of a single candle by the bride and groom, using individual candles that represent their individual lives. The symbolism behind the ritual is the joining of two people and their families into one, represented by the single flame.

It is believed that the tradition dates back to the 1980s when wedding planners started to incorporate it into religious and secular weddings. Today, the unity candle ceremony has become a popular wedding rite and many couples choose to incorporate it into their wedding ceremonies.

Reasons Why Couples Incorporate Unity Candles into Their Weddings

One of the main reasons why couples add the unity candle ceremony to their wedding is that it is a beautiful, meaningful way to symbolize the union of two individuals becoming one. It’s also an excellent way to include members of the couple’s family into the wedding ceremony, allowing them to participate in something special.

The symbolism behind the ceremony is simple and powerful. The two candles that the bride and groom hold at the beginning of the ceremony represent their individual lives, families, and experiences up to this point. When they light the single unity candle, it represents the new life they are creating together. The light from the single flame represents the love that the two individuals share and the warmth and illumination that their union will bring to their lives.

Alternatives to the Traditional Unity Candle Ceremony

While the unity candle ceremony is a beautiful and traditional wedding ceremony, it is by no means the only option available to couples. Here are a few alternatives to consider:

Unity Sand Ceremony

One alternative to the unity candle ceremony is the unity sand ceremony. In this ritual, the bride and groom each hold a container of colored sand, representing their individual lives and experiences. Together, they pour the sand into a large, clear container, creating a unique and beautiful design that represents the union of their lives.

Planting a Tree

Another option is the planting of a tree. This ceremony is a beautiful way to symbolize the growth and strength of a new life together. Couples plant the tree together, nourish it, and watch it grow over time.

Handfasting Ceremony

A handfasting ceremony is an ancient Celtic ritual that involves the binding together of the couple’s hands with a ribbon or cord, symbolizing their union and commitment to each other.


Weddings can be as unique as the couples getting married. While the unity candle ceremony is a popular wedding tradition, it is by no means the only option to symbolize the union of two individuals. There are countless ways to create a meaningful and powerful ceremony that reflects your personal beliefs and values. Whether you choose to include a unity candle ceremony or something entirely different, the important thing to remember is that the wedding ceremony should be a reflection of you and your partner, expressing your love and commitment to each other.


Are candles required in the Catholic Mass?

Candles play an essential role in the Catholic Mass. In the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, candles are required to be placed on or beside the altar, at least for the celebration of Mass. While there is no dogmatic rule in place that mandates the use of candles during the Mass, it has become a part of the liturgical tradition of the Catholic Church.

The placement of candles on or near the altar in the Catholic Church has both a practical and symbolic significance. Practically, candles provide light in the sanctuary during the celebration of the Mass. Historically, before the advent of electricity, candles were necessary to provide proper light for Mass, and they continue to be used for this purpose today.

Symbolically, candles represent Christ, the Light of the World. The use of candles in the Catholic Mass recalls the light of Christ that illuminates the world and dispels darkness. The Catholic Church has always been conscious of the visual and dramatic elements involved in worship, and candles play a significant role in the sensory experience of the liturgy.

Moreover, the type of candles used in the Catholic Mass also follows strict guidelines. For reasons of religious tradition, the Church used the candles at divine service that are made of beeswax. Beeswax is considered a pure substance, and its use in candles is a symbolic reminder of the purity of Christ and the holiness of the Eucharist. According to the liturgical rules, candles must be made of at least fifty-one percent beeswax.

The use of candles in the Catholic Mass is a time-honored tradition that holds both practical and symbolic significance. Candles provide light and create a solemn and sacred atmosphere during the celebration of the Mass, and they serve as a reminder of the light of Christ that illuminates our lives. While not a dogmatic requirement, the use of candles in the Catholic Mass is a reminder of the beauty and richness of the Catholic liturgical tradition.