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How many candles do you light at a wedding?

When it comes to the unity candle ceremony during a wedding, many couples have questions about how many candles to light. This is an important part of the wedding ceremony that represents the love and unity of the couple and their families.

In this blog post, we will discuss the meaning behind the unity candle ceremony, the traditional number of candles used, and some variations on the ceremony that you might consider for your wedding day.

The Meaning Behind the Unity Candle Ceremony

The unity candle ceremony is a beautiful moment during the wedding where the bride and groom come together to light a single candle, symbolizing the merging of their two families. The unity candle represents the bond between the couple and is a powerful reminder of love, unity, and commitment.

The ceremony traditionally takes place after the couple has said their vows and exchanged rings. The couple walks to a table, where the unity candle is displayed, both taking a lit candle representing their individual lives, and light the unity candle together. The act of lighting the unity candle symbolizes the union of their two families, with the new family unit represented by the light of the unity candle.

How Many Candles to Light During the Unity Candle Ceremony

The traditional unity candle ceremony involves three candles: one held by each partner, representing the two separate family candles, and then one candle that stands alone, oftentimes on a candle stand, to symbolize the union of their families.

The two separate candles represent the joining of the bride and groom’s families, with each candle representing a family. The two candles are lit by representatives from each respective family, usually the mothers or grandmothers of the bride and groom. The lit candles represent the love, wisdom, and support that both families will offer throughout the couple’s marriage.

After the exchange of vows, the couple takes the individual stays and simultaneously lights the unity candle in the middle, signifying the union of their two families and the start of their new lives together.

Variations on Lighting Candles During a Wedding Ceremony

While the traditional unity candle ceremony involves three candles, there are variations that you may consider for your wedding. Here are a few of the most popular variations on the traditional unity candle ceremony:

Handfasting Ceremony

The handfasting ceremony involves joining the hands of the couple and tying a ribbon or cord around them, symbolizing their union. Instead of three candles, the couple may choose to have a candle or a small flame in the center of the ceremony space to represent the joining of their two families.

Sand Ceremony

The sand ceremony involves pouring different colors of sand into a shared container or frame to symbolize the coming together of the couple’s lives. This variation on the unity candle ceremony can be beautiful and meaningful, especially for beach or outdoor weddings.

Tree Planting Ceremony

A tree planting ceremony involves planting a tree together in the couple’s yard or another meaningful location. This variation of the unity candle ceremony represents the growth, strength, and long-lasting love of the couple.


When it comes to the unity candle ceremony during a wedding, the number of candles you light depends on the traditions you wish to uphold, the symbolism that you want to represent, and the variations of the ceremony that appeal to you. Whether you choose the traditional three candles or a variation, the unity ceremony is sure to be a meaningful and beautiful moment that symbolizes the love and unity of your family.


Do wedding tables need candles?

The simple answer to whether wedding tables need candles is no, they are not a must-have. There are many elements that make a wedding reception beautiful and memorable, such as the flowers, table settings, and overall decor. However, candles can add a touch of elegance and romance to the ambiance of the event.

Candles can make a wedding table look warm, cozy, and inviting. They provide a soft, warm light that glows beautifully throughout the reception venue. In addition to creating an intimate and romantic atmosphere, candles can enhance the decor and add to the overall theme of the wedding.

When it comes to adding candles to wedding tables, there are many different options to choose from. Some couples opt for traditional white or ivory taper candles, while others choose votive candles, tea lights, or even pillar candles of various sizes. Depending on the theme and colors of the wedding, candles can be coordinating or contrasting to create a dramatic effect.

It’s important to consider the size and layout of the tables when deciding on the type of candles to use. Large tables may require taller taper candles, while smaller tables could benefit from smaller tea light candles or votives. It’s also important to consider the safety of using candles, as they can be a fire hazard. Be sure to follow proper safety protocol and use flameless candles if necessary.

While candles are not a necessity for wedding tables, they can certainly add a beautiful and romantic touch to the event. They are a wonderful addition to any wedding reception and can help create a warm and inviting atmosphere for guests to enjoy.

What does lighting a candle at a wedding mean?

Lighting a candle at a wedding is a symbolic gesture that goes back many generations and is still widely used today. The lighting of a candle during a wedding ceremony represents the union between two people, the bride and the groom, and symbolizes the commitment and bond that they are making to each other.

The candle lighting ceremony usually takes place towards the end of the wedding ceremony, after the exchange of vows and rings, and before the pronouncement of the couple as husband and wife. The bride and groom each have their own individual candle, and together they light a third candle that represents the new union that they have created.

The lighting of the individual candles represents the lives that they have lived up until this point. The bride’s candle represents her individuality, and the groom’s candle represents his individuality. When the two individual candles are lit, they create a new flame that represents the union between the two individuals. This new flame represents the start of their new life journey as a married couple.

The candle lighting ceremony has different variations depending on the location and religion. In some traditions, the parents of the bride and groom will also light candles to represent the passing on of love and support to the newly married couple. In other traditions, the candle lighting ceremony is used to represent the light of faith or spirituality that will guide the couple throughout their marriage.

The lighting of a candle at a wedding is a beautiful and meaningful ceremony that symbolizes the commitment and bond between two individuals. It is a reminder that the journey ahead cannot be taken alone, but rather together as a united couple.

What does candle lighting symbolize?

Candle lighting is a religious and cultural practice that has spanned across many centuries and cultures. Candles have been used as a medium of light for centuries, and their symbolism has evolved to encompass many different meanings. In this context, the act of candle lighting symbolizes a range of emotions and beliefs.

On one hand, candle lighting is commonly associated with birth and new beginnings. In Christian traditions, the lighting of candles during a baptism or christening ceremony is symbolic of welcoming a new infant into the world and into their religious community. The candle is often passed between family members and lit by a priest, signifying the baby’s entrance into a new stage of life, and the beginning of their journey towards spiritual maturity.

On the other hand, the lighting of candles is also often associated with death and mourning. In many cultures, candles are lit during funerals and memorial services to offer light in the darkness of death. The light of the candle symbolizes the soul of the departed person, illuminating the path towards the afterlife.

Candles are also commonly used as a symbol of resurrection and hope. For example, during Christian Easter services, candles are often lit to reflect the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the hope of salvation for all believers. The lighting of candles can also represent the idea of rebirth and renewal. This concept is often associated with the lighting of candles during the winter holiday season, where candles are used to symbolize the coming of light amidst the darkness of winter.

In addition to these religious and cultural associations, the lighting of candles can also represent broader symbolism. For example, candles can be seen as a representation of the vitality of the sun, the light representing the life and power of the sun. Additionally, the flickering and transient nature of candlelight, can symbolize the uncertainty and transience of life.

The symbolism of candle lighting is multifaceted, with various meanings depending on cultural, religious, and personal beliefs. Whether used in celebration or mourning, during religious services or personal meditation, candles remain an important cultural and spiritual symbol, representing light in the darkness and the hope for new beginnings and renewal.