Skip to Content

What is the meaning of lighting a candle at a wedding ceremony?

Weddings are beautiful, emotional occasions that mark the beginning of a lifelong journey between two people. There are many traditions and rituals that have emerged over the centuries and, while some couples opt for more contemporary celebrations, many choose to incorporate traditional elements into their day. One such tradition is the lighting of candles at a wedding ceremony. But what is the meaning behind this ritual, and why has it become such a popular choice for couples?

The history of candle lighting

The use of candles in religious and ceremonial contexts dates back thousands of years. For ancient civilisations, fire was a powerful element that held a sacred significance. The flicker of a flame was seen as a symbol of life, warmth, and wisdom. As such, it was often used in ceremonies to honour the gods, to provide illumination and warmth, and even as a form of divination.

Over time, the use of candles became specifically linked to the Christian church. Candles were used for lighting in the dark, and they also held symbolic meanings. One of the most famous is the story of the Nativity, where the Star of Bethlehem guided the Wise Men to the place where Jesus was born. In many Christian churches, candles are lit as a symbol of Christ’s light coming into the world.

Candle lighting also has a long history in Jewish tradition. In the Jewish faith, light has a strong spiritual connection, and candles are often used to mark special occasions. One of the most well-known uses for candles is during Hanukkah, where a menorah is lit each night for eight nights to celebrate the miracle of the oil.

The meaning behind wedding candles

The use of candles in wedding ceremonies is an extension of these religious and cultural traditions. While the significance of candles may vary depending on the ceremony, there are a few common themes that are often associated with the ritual.

One such theme is the idea of unity. The lighting of candles at a wedding ceremony often involves two separate candles, which are then used to light a third, larger candle. This symbolises the merging of two individuals and the creation of a single, unified partnership. The two smaller candles represent the bride and groom, and the larger candle represents the bond between them.

Another meaning associated with candle lighting is that of love and passion. As mentioned earlier, flames are said to symbolise love and passion, and so in the context of a marriage they show the adoration that the couple has for one another. Lighting candles and joining them together is the physical representation of their enduring commitment, and the blending of their two families.

Finally, the lighting of candles can also signify the spiritual and emotional significance of the ceremony. Weddings are often regarded as one of the most important events in a person’s life, and the lighting of candles can serve as a reminder of the gravity of the occasion. It can also act as a moment of reflection, where the couple can take a breath and appreciate the significance of the moment.

How to incorporate candle lighting into your ceremony

If you’re considering incorporating candle lighting into your wedding ceremony, there are a few different ways you can do it. One option is to have the bride and groom each light a candle separately before using them to light the larger, unity candle. Another option is to have family members or close friends light candles on behalf of the couple, symbolising the support and guidance they will provide throughout their marriage.

It’s also worth considering the style and design of your candles. While traditional white candles are a popular choice, you might like to consider different colours or shapes to match your wedding theme. Scented candles can also add an extra sensory element to the ceremony, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere for your guests.

Candle safety tips for your wedding day

While the ritual of candle lighting can be a beautiful addition to your wedding ceremony, it’s important to keep in mind some safety tips to prevent any potential accidents. Make sure that your candles are placed on stable surfaces, away from flammable materials, and consider the use of flameless candles as an alternative to traditional candles.

In conclusion, the meaning behind lighting candles at a wedding ceremony reflects the various beliefs and traditions of the people involved. It symbolises unity, love, and spiritual significance, and adds an element of beauty and elegance to the day. Whether you’re planning a more contemporary celebration or a more traditional affair, the ritual of lighting candles can be a wonderful way to honour the importance of your marriage.


What does candle lighting symbolize?

Candles have been used for centuries as a source of light and warmth, but they also hold a much deeper symbolic meaning. The symbolism of candles is rooted in the element of fire, which has always been revered for its power to both create and destroy.

Candle lighting is often associated with celebrations, such as birthdays, weddings, and other special events. The flickering flame of a candle adds a warm glow to any celebration, creating a peaceful and calming atmosphere. Candles are also commonly used during religious ceremonies, where they symbolize devotion and reverence.

In addition to being associated with celebrations and religious ceremonies, candles are often used during times of mourning and remembrance. When we light a candle in memory of someone who has passed away, we are acknowledging their life and the impact they had on the world. The flame of the candle represents the light that person brought into our lives and the hope that their memory will continue to shine bright.

Candles can also symbolize love and hope. The soft glow of a candle can create an intimate and romantic atmosphere, making them a common addition to weddings and other events celebrating love. The light of a candle can also be seen as a symbol of hope, representing the belief that good things will come in the midst of darkness.

The symbolism of candles is one that is rich and varied, with different meanings depending on the context in which they are used. Though we no longer need candles to illuminate our surroundings, we hold on to their meaning as an expression of joy, reverence, and reflection.

What are the 3 candles used during a traditional wedding ceremony?

In many traditional wedding ceremonies, specifically within the Christian faith, lighting of the Unity Candle is a common ritual. The Unity Candle symbolizes the couple’s union through marriage, and the lighting of the candle symbolizes the joining of two families. During the ceremony, three candles are typically displayed: one that represents the bride, one that represents the groom, and one that represents the covenant of their marriage.

The first candle, representing the bride, holds significance as it symbolizes her personality, her life, and her perspectives. This candle often has a feminine touch, with some couples using candles adorned with designs and colors that are special to the bride.

The second candle, representing the groom, holds similar significance as the first candle. Couples will use candles that represent the groom’s personality, characteristics, or hobbies. Many couples also include special moments in the life of the groom or design the tribute to represent the characteristics that drew the couple together.

The third and final candle is the largest and represents the covenant of the couple’s marriage. This candle is placed in the center and is used to light the other two candles. During the ceremony, the bride’s and groom’s candle will be lit, and together, the couple will take their candles and light the covenant candle.

Lighting of the Unity Candle is symbolic of the commitment that the couple has made to each other during their wedding. It also serves as a way to symbolize the integration of both families and the beginning of a new family unit. Additionally, the act of lighting the candle together can be seen as a representation of their shared faith, and support for each other throughout their married life.

The three candles used during a traditional wedding ceremony symbolize the bride, groom, and the covenant of their union. The lighting of the candles together represents both their commitment to each other and the integration of both families. the lighting of the Unity Candle serves as a beautiful and symbolic representation of the couples’ shared faith and love for each other.

What is the tradition of the wedding candles?

The tradition of wedding candles dates back centuries, and still holds a significant meaning in modern-day weddings. The candles typically represent the bride’s and groom’s families, with one candle to symbolize each family. These candles serve as a symbolic representation of the coming together of the two families in marriage.

During the wedding ceremony, the bride and groom will typically light the family candles, either alone or along with their parents or other family members. This is usually done before the exchange of vows or during the ceremony itself. The candle lighting ceremony is considered a significant moment in the wedding ceremony.

Once the bride and groom exchange their wedding vows, they each take one of the family candles and light a larger unity candle together. The large unity candle represents the joining of the couple’s families together as one. The coming together of the two families is a significant moment in the wedding ceremony, and the lighting of the unity candle is symbolic of this unification.

In some wedding traditions, the wedding candles may also be used to represent the love and commitment shared between the couple. The candles may be lit together by the couple, or by other family members or friends who are important to the couple. This represents the love and support that surrounds the couple, both in the present moment and throughout their married lives.

The tradition of the wedding candles serves as a beautiful symbol of the unification of families and love between the bride and groom. The lighting of the candles is a significant moment in the wedding ceremony and serves as a reminder to the couple of the love and support they have from their families and friends as they begin their new lives together as a married couple.