A great wedding is often enhanced by special ceremonies within the ceremony. A popular favorite is a Unity Candle Ceremony. More and more I am seeing Sand Ceremonies, Wine Ceremonies, Hand-Fasting Ceremonies, Rose Ceremonies, even “Jumping-the-Broom” ceremonies. Some stem from various cultural traditions, others have symbolism that resonate well with what the couples feel for each other and for their marriage, and can add a touch of that little something extra, which makes the wedding even more beautiful and more memorable.
A word of caution, however: If you’re going to include additional ceremonies, be sure to arrange for whatever accessories are needed!
If you’re doing a Unity Candle Ceremony, order a set from a bridal shop that comes with everything – a pillar candle, two tapers, and all three holders. If you prefer not to go with a ready-made Unity Candle set, get candle holders that are sturdy and unlikely to tip over. And just in case a candle does tip over and fall, it might be a good idea to bring a spare or two – I’ve seen tapers break after being dropped.
It can also be very symbolic if the pillar is taller than the tapers, as the greater height of the center candle depicts the belief that together the couple can become more than either could alone.
Also, if you’re going to do a Unity Candle Ceremony outside, rest assured that there’s a 90% chance that the simplest breeze will blow the candles out. A good option might be to invest in hurricane shields to keep the flames going. Just be sure that they are easy to maneuver, as you’ll be using the tapers to light the pillar. Frans Candles has some great options to choose from!
Also be sure to have a really good, strong, well-fueled candle lighter, and make sure it’s easy for your mother (or whomever is lighting the tapers) to use. Many lighters have a complex safety lock that’s great for preventing Little Johnny from burning down the house, but it might also prevent dear old Mom from lighting your taper!
If you’re doing a Rose Ceremony, be sure to order roses from your florist – as well as the baskets and rose pedals for the flower girl!
If you’re doing a Sand Ceremony, think about creative ways you can use different colored sand. If you and/or your betrothed already have children, different colored sand can be a wonderful way to include them, creating a decoration that reflects the entire family, not just the bride and groom.
If you are incorporating the Jewish tradition of breaking the wine glass, make sure it is wrapped well in a strong cloth. A cloth napkin should suffice. (I have friends who neglected to wrap the glass at their wedding – the bride ended up with cuts on her legs!) Many couples opt to use a light bulb instead of the actual wine glass, and save their Kiddish glass for future use. Light bulbs tend to be safer and create a louder pop. A small, refrigerator bulb works best. But please, whatever you do, do NOT use a CFL bulb! They are filled with more mercury than you really want to be exposed to…
If all of this is too much to remember as you prepare for your big day, assign someone you trust to act as your wedding coordinator to remember all of it for you. Or, better yet, hire a professional coordinator! (See my Links and Listings page for some of my preferred coordinators!)