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UNITY CANDLE: (Memorials, see below) The lighting of the Unity Candle has become a popular and symbolic wedding tradition. The Unity Candle can be a simple taper, a plain white or ivory pillar candle, or a fancy decorated candle. The stocky pillar candles can be decorated with flowers, beads, ribbons, your invitation, or your names and wedding date. After the wedding, they can be converted to an "anniversary" candle, that you re-light on each anniversary.
There are several ways to do the Unity Candle lighting. You need two small taper candles, one on each side of the Unity Candle. These can be pre-lit before the ceremony, or you can light them during the ceremony. It depends on which symbolism you prefer. Be sure to have a small votive candle nearby to use for lighting these candles. Don't use a match or lighter.
If the two smaller candles represent your individual lives up to this moment, then you can have them pre-lit, or you can light them at the beginning of the ceremony. After the officiant has declared you husband and wife, each of you take one small candle in your opposite hands, facing each other, place the flames together over the Unity Candle, then lower them together and light the Unity Candle. At this point you would blow out the two smaller candles, and place them back in their holders, symbolizing your union as one in marriage. If you prefer, you could also leave all three candles lit in their holders.
If you want the Unity Candle ceremony to represent the union of both families, then you, or your mothers can light them at the beginning of the ceremony. It is a nice touch for the mothers, if it can be arranged. As each mother is escorted down the aisle, the usher takes her to the Unity Candle area where she lights one of the small candles and places it back in its holder, then she is seated. After the officiant declares you husband and wife, you walk to the Unity Candle, each of you taking one of the smaller candles, place the flames together and light the Unity Candle. You will place the still-lit smaller candles back in their holders, symbolizing the Bride's family, the Groom's family, and your new family (the Bride and Groom).
Outdoor Ceremonies using a Unity Candle: Use Hurricane lamps. You can purchase these in various sizes at most craft stores, Dept. stores, and discount stores. It does not matter if the flame is blown out by the wind. Lighting the Unity Candle is the symbol of your union in Love. It is the lighting that is important. You can always re-light it later for more pictures. Protect the flame, like you protect your love.
If you would like a personalized Unity Candle ceremony for your officiant to read to your guests as you light the Unity Candle, please go to our Unity Candle-lighting Ceremony REQUEST FORM. Since this is a FREE service, we can only provide ONE ceremony per couple, within six (6) months of your wedding date.
are several ways of doing "memorials" at your wedding.
First, you could place a large pillar candle at the entrance to the ceremony, on the table with the Guest Book. You can light it before the guests arrive, and have a small card in front of it that reads "In Memory of _______ (Name)". At the beginning of your ceremony, the officiant can pause and give an explanation of the "Memorial" candle. _______________ (Name) may not be physically here with us today, but they are looking down on us and are here in spirit to bless this union. ______ (Bride and/or Groom) has lit a candle at the entrance in memory of __________ (Name)."
Or, you could do the "Memorial" at the beginning of the ceremony. Have one or more tall large pillar candle(s), in a color other than white, on the altar or table (on either side of the Unity Candle). With special music playing in the background, you (Bride and/or Groom) would walk to each candle and light the candle (you could use your small tapers and the votive candle), then you two would walk back to your positions in front of the Officiant. While the music is playing and you two are lighting the candles, the officiant should explain "_______ (Name) may not be physically here with us today, but they are looking down on us and are here in spirit to bless this union. ______ (Bride and/or Groom) will light a candle in memory of __________ (Name)."
Another option is to place a Poem or Reading dedicated to the "absent" person in your Wedding Program (In Memory of ...).
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Ceremony Time Schedule Worksheet.
Reception Time Schedule Worksheet.
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WEDDING & SHOWER GIFTS: As you receive your wedding gifts, be sure to keep an account of who gave you what. Use the card file that was described under "Guest Lists", so you can keep track of the gifts and Thank You notes. Also, try to set aside an area in your home where you can display some of them. You don't need to display all of the china, but at least one place setting. It is also very important, that as more and more gifts arrive, that you contact your homeowner's insurance agent and have a "rider" added on to cover the wedding gifts. This is very inexpensive, since it is for only a short period of time. If you rent, you may be able to add it on to your parents policy. Make sure it will also cover the gifts received at the reception.
Today, more and more people bring their gifts to the ceremony or reception. Be sure to ask someone to handle the Guest Book and Gifts at the ceremony and reception. You should have a designated "Gift Table" at both, and make arrangements ahead of time for someone to transport the gifts from the ceremony site to the reception. Make sure your "Guest Book" attendant stays with the gifts at all times. Gifts can disappear from ceremonies and receptions if you do not take safeguards. You should arrange with your caterer or wedding consultant to have the gifts taken to a "secure" room during the reception, then transported home by your family or friends.
Make sure you get a bride's "money bag" or a "money holder" for the reception. Even if you don't like the way they look, you can have it on the table in front of you. Anytime you leave the table to dance or mingle give it to your mom or Maid of Honour or Best Man. Someone reliable, who won't leave it at the bar or on the table unattended.
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WEDDING TOASTS: The Toast to the newlyweds can be done with champagne, cider, wine, non- alcoholic champagne, ginger ale, or the beverages the guests already have. Usually the Best Man makes the first toast to the bride and groom, followed by the Father of the Bride, the Father of the Groom, and then any other guests. It is highly recommended that following these toasts, the bride or groom makes a "thank you" toast to their parents for making this day possible, and then a "thank you" toast to their guests for sharing this day of celebration with them.
Go to our Links Page for suggested Toasts.
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WEDDING VOWS: Once the ceremony begins, the bride and groom should face each other, so the guests can see their faces and see them say the vows to each other. You don't need to watch the officiant, you should be looking at your future spouse, and speaking to them. Also, try to hold hands, or his arm, during in the entire ceremony, so that there is continuous contact between you. This also acts as support for each other. Body language works great when you can't talk to each other.
Since these are your marriage vows for years to come, why not answer with "I will" instead of "I do". Ask your officiant to change the way the questions are worded. Also, many couples today prefer to omit the "obey" and "till death do us part" from the vows. You could change it to "as long as we both shall love" as an alternative.
When facing each other and saying your vows, do not look directly into their eyes. Emotions are very high on your wedding day, and tears are easy to flow. Nerves are also a bit fragile. Look at their forehead or cheek or ear, and everything will go fine, and the guests and pictures will look like you are looking them in the eyes.
Suggested wording for vows can be found under "Vows, Readings and Poems for Ceremonies" on our Links Page .
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