You might be used to seeing couples light a unity candle or blend sand together in a jar, but there are lots of other meaningful unity ceremonies you can choose from for your wedding. There are plenty of unity rites with religious ties such as the lazo, or Catholic wedding cord, but here are nine great non-traditional alternatives you can incorporate into your ceremony regardless of your faith or religion.
1. Ring Warming Ceremony
Give your guests the opportunity to give you well wishes in this meaningful tradition. Before you place the ring on your partner’s hand, the ring is passed from guest to guest as they give their good thoughts, prayers, and wishes while holding the ring. They pass it on to the next guest until it’s passed back up to you. It’s a lovely way to include your guests into the ceremony. With These Rings, a jewelry studio in Washington state that allows you to make your own wedding rings, loves this practice and you can find lots of great examples of this ceremony on their site.
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One of my favourite parts of our perfect day was incorporating a ring warming into our ceremony. Every one of our guests got to hold our wedding bands before we exchanged them and say a prayer or a blessing for us and our marriage. Every morning when I put my rings on, I am reminded of all the people who came out to celebrate, support and bless our marriage and I am so, so grateful. We are seriously two of the luckiest people on the planet, not just because we have each other but because we have all of them.//👰🏻💍🤵🏻⛰♥️ As always, pics by the incredible @teresarenee_
2. Tree Planting Ceremony
Do something green and plant a tree! If you don’t want to get dirty get a cute miniature like this lemon tree and just water it together during your ceremony. Plant it at your new house or keep it inside your apartment. Together you can witness the fruit it and your relationship produces.
3. Give Everyone a Candle
Represent the love in the room by giving everyone a candle! Use a unity/pillar candle to light yours, then light your attendants’ candles and let them light the guest candles. Walk down the aisle married and enveloped in the glow of all the love there is for the two of you. As with any fire-based ceremony, ask the venue for permission and have some fire extinguishers at the ready.
A tradition with Celtic and Neopagan roots, handfasting’s been gaining in popularity in the past three years. It’s a beautiful way to literally tie the knot. Your officiant can explain the symbolism of your lives being bound together while you’re tied.
5. Chemistry, Science, & Other Things I’m Not Good At
Do this if you’re a scientist or under the supervision of scientists, please. I cannot stress that enough. If you want to have the coolest pictures from your ceremony consider a scientific unity ceremony. You can make your cylinders glow, bubble, and froth!
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I still haven’t managed to get this sweet couple up on my own blog because I am aiming to receive a reward for “social media worst at posting anything” but they submitted to @offbeatbride and got featured today! I will save my own waxing poetic for my blog post, but I couldn’t be luckier that these two won my sweepstakes last year. Even beyond forest rave and glow stick unity, the whole Burning Man crowd was a level of welcoming and inclusive that just warmed my heart to its grinchy bottom. ❤️ Check it out on Offbeat Bride today!
6. Light a Fire
If you’re dramatic and don’t want a single flame but a whole lot of flame as your backdrop, try lighting a fire together. Make sure you have proper fire safety precautions in place including a permit from your area’s fire marshal, if necessary. Let it burn for the duration of your wedding and let guests toast s’mores as late night snacks.
7. Float Letters in a Bottle
Perfect for a beach wedding! Take love letters or copies of your vows and stuff them into a bottle. Together, send it off into the ocean. It’ll make for a picturesque moment, but just make sure the bottle is BPA free. If you want to go the extra mile, put a tracker in it. Wherever it washes ashore, visit for your anniversary.
8. Age Some Liquor
Pour some un-aged corn liquor into a mini barrel and let it age at home. It’s a super cute idea and a wonderful way to look forward to a future anniversary. Did we mention that it’s cute?!
9. 10th Anniversary Time Capsule
Some couples have used love letters, trinkets from their first apartment together, pictures, or movie stubs from their first date. You can fill your time capsule with whatever you please, but make it something you’ll want to open 10 years from now. Put it somewhere special but not somewhere inaccessible. You probably shouldn’t bury it, because you’ll likely forget it or move.
Jordan A. Maney is a San Antonio-based wedding planner and owner of All The Days Event Co. She she started her company as a planning haven for all the couples the industry chooses to ignore. Instead of just making a brand, she's building a community. Find more of her sass, humor, and Southern hospitality at allthedaysweddings.com.