If you’re searching for an alternative to the more common sand or candle lighting traditions, consider these 10 unique unity ceremony ideas for your wedding. Each is rich in symbolism, and many of these alternative unity traditions have their roots in ancient cultures all over the globe. While we love the unique heritages of these wedding ceremony rituals, it’s the diverse aspects of marriage they illuminate that really touch our hearts. Blanket Unity Ceremony
Irish Handfasting Ceremony
This Celtic wedding tradition involves lightly binding together the couples hands with a ribbon or cord to symbolize the coming together as one. It’s a beautiful opportunity for personalization in that there is no strict script that must be followed. Couples can honor loved ones by incorporating pieces from their own lives – say, a strip of fabric from your mother’s wedding dress or cords chosen by your children if getting married later in life. The script could elaborate on the meaning behind the colors of the different cords even, should you go that route. Many couples will choose to say their vows during this portion of the ceremony as well.
The Stefana ritual, meaning golden crown, is an 11th c Greek Orthodox tradition symbolizing the glory + honor that is bestowed upon the couple by God. Crowns can be made of garland wreaths, but also myrtle leaves, orange blossom, precious stones and metals or threads of gold and crimson, which represent the royalty of marriage. The ritual begins with the koumbaros, or priest, placing the crowns on the couple’s heads while they face the altar. He then swaps the crowns on the couple’s heads three times and concludes the tradition by tying them together with a white ribbon, representing unity.
Wine Blending Ceremony
The wine blending unity ceremony is rich in symbolism. As wine contains both bitter and sweet properties, this ritual is a reflection of those bitter and sweet aspects of life itself. When blended together, joy is heightened, bitterness is sweetened and love is overflowing. To perform the unity ceremony, each partner takes a carafe of wine, one red and one white, and pours some into a single glass to create a rosé, which they both drink from.
Foot Washing Ceremony
A Christian-based tradition, this ceremony is a symbol of love and humility, represented through the act of each partner washing the other’s feet as Jesus did for his disciples in John 13:1-17. In modern weddings, this ceremony reflects the belief that neither partner is above the other.
Celtic Sundial Ceremony
The couple touches fingers through the hole in the sundial as a symbol and confirmation of their union. Then they pass a silk scarf through the center three times while making wishes, as their friends follow in suit making their own wishes for the couple + giving blessings to the pair out loud.
Pass the Rope Ceremony
A beautiful ritual symbolizing your loved ones’ blessing of your marriage, some couples choose to pass a fisherman’s rope through the rows of guests during the ceremony. Doing so allows them to play an active role in the supporting the marriage. Once the final guest has held the rope, it is returned to the couple who then braids it together as a symbol of their sacred + blessed union.
Tree Planting Ceremony
Symbolizing the roots of the couple’s relationship and the growth of their love, a tree planting ceremony involves both parties adding a small cup of dirt and water to a potted tree sapling, which they can later plant in a special location to represent the longevity and strength of their marriage through the years.
Any faves so far? No matter how you choose to symbolize your union, it’s sure to be a moment from the wedding day you’ll remember with fondness for a lifetime. There are tons of resources on the internet for each of these unique unity ceremony ideas, especially where starter scripts for your officiant are concerned. So don’t be afraid to try something new, and choose the tradition that best reflects you + your partner as individuals and a couple.
Thanks for reading, friend! Next, be sure to check out our guide on wedding guest list etiquette here.