Saturday, November 7, 2009

Video: How to Decorate a Unity Candle and Its History

How to Decorate a Unity Candle -- powered by

Although this tradition is believed to have been started in the 1970s, it wasn't until the characters of Luke and Laura of the daytime drama, "General Hospital," lit one at their widely-watched TV wedding that this candle-lighting ceremony became a popular part of modern weddings.

The unity candle itself is generally a white pillar candle flanked on either side by two taper candles. The unity candle is often decorated as I've shown in the video to match a wedding theme but it also can be decorated with a photo of the couple, their wedding invitation, flowers or a myriad of other designs. Decorated unity candle sets also can be purchased for this purpose.

(Here's a tip. If you plan to decorate the candle as I've shown in the video using a t-pin, heat the pin's tip with a lighter so that it will go into the candle more easily.)

Traditionally the mothers of the bride and groom or other family representatives, one for the bride and one for the groom, light the taper candles at the beginning of the service. Then, after the vows, the couple each takes a lit taper candle and jointly light the unity candle.

There is a choice as to the significance of this ceremony.

The candles can either represent the joining of the two families as one through the newly-married couple or it can signify the joining of the bride and groom as a separate, new family unit.

The tapers can remain lit to show the families love of each member of the new couple and their continued love of their family member or the shared unity of both families, or the couple can extinguish the taper candles to show that they are now joined and stand apart from their families in their love as a new family unit (even though they will always love their extended family).

Personally, I prefer when the three candles stay lit so that couple, while now will be their own family unit, will always still share the loyalty and love of their own families.

At a recent wedding, we gave all of the guests an unlit candle. The bridal party lit their candle and then lit a candle for one person at the end of each row. That person lit the candle of the person next to them and so forth until everyone's candle was lit. Then the mothers of the bride and groom took their now lit candles and placed them in the holders next to the unity candle.

In this way it showed that all of the guests were part of the extended family of the bride and groom. It was a lovely, touching and memorable sight.

Thanks to Panache, a Classic Party Rental Company, for the use of their gorgeous linens and rentals seen in this clip.

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