The Unity Candle

I hate it. I think it's over done and boring -- but the couple whose wedding I will pronounce at the end of the month do indeed love it. So, I'm looking for suggestions about how to do this awkward ceremony where their families each light a candle and light their big ol' pillar candle to symbolize their new family. I prefer that everyone gets up out of their seat and touches the couple and says some words, but I can't always have my way.

So, I found a liturgy at Reformed Worship, but I'm looking for other suggestions. Do you have any? Can you recommend something? Can you email me something brilliant? I would be eternally grateful. Or you can read the horrid thing that I created with great reluctance...

Before the ceremony, the florist would arrange the three candles on the altar – one pillar candle in the center (not lit), flanked by two taper candles that are. During the ceremony, the minister would invite the parents forward to the altar after the couple has offered their pledges, and before they offer their vows.
The minister would offer the following words:

Jesus reminds us to not hide our light under a bushel, but to put it on a stand so that it can give light to the house. With this reminder, ______ and ______ let the light of their love shine before the whole house with this symbolic candle.
In this candle, two lights come together as one. Before ______ and ______ found the love celebrated in this single light, they walked as children of the light. They were taught to shine by their parents to find all that is good and right and true.

On this day, when these two children of light become one, the families that have nurtured them and prepared ______ and ______ to freely give themselves to each other, pass the light of their family to form a new light.

[Parents take taper candles, one for each family, and light pillar candle together.]

As ______ and ______ begin their own family, shaped by their parents and their God who taught them to be children of light, they give thanks to God for the families of which they are still a part and into which they bring each other. Let this new light shine through out the whole house!

Naturally, the two flanking candles are not extinguished since they represent the two existing families from which the bride and groom come to form yet another family.


Teri said...

I too hate it, and have managed to talk everyone I've married out of it. But I have three more weddings scheduled this fall and I suspect at least one will be militant about this. so let me know what you find...

LittleMary said...

wish i could help. i hate it with so much passion. it isn't even an option when i do weddings, unless they ask and then i have to indulge. hatefully yours, LM

Brandon said...

Why do you all hate it? I'm not particularly a fan of it, but why do you hate it with passion?

Songbird said...

I gave in once.

Sarah said...


That is so funny. I'm sitting at my desk trying to figure out how to do the Unity Candle in a wedding on Saturday. I've never done it before, and I don't think we have 'protocol.' I was actually going to do it without saying anything! Just direct the parents to light the candle when they process in, and then invite the couple to light the candle after the exchange of rings. No words.
But maybe I'll use what you posted. It's not bad.
Can others post their scripts???? This would be very helpful.

Sarah said...

By the way, it's me- the Rev McC

Susie/Nueva Cantora said...

So, this is too late, but a couple thoughts... light the candle once first, so it isn't hard to light. Also, if the wedding is outside... a hurricane lamp cover thingy is helpful. Because lighting a unity candle that blows out right afterwards? NOT good liturgical symbolism :)

And no, I wasn't presiding at that wedding, just attending.