Your declaration of intent, exchange of vows, and giving of rings are the heart of the wedding ceremony. So why choose to add a unity ritual? Consider your faith, culture, and personal/couple preferences when deciding to incorporate one, or not.
The minimum requirement of the ceremony to be “official” is the declaration of intent – legally, both parties have to freely and willingly express their intent, the “I do!” From there, traditionally, the promises you make to one another, and the giving of rings mark the agreement as sealed. Though the wedding is centered on the two of you, it is also an event witnessed by a gathering of family, friends, and your community of people. With that said, other elements in a wedding ceremony that honor their presence or bow to your heritage are also significanct, namely a unity ritual.
Unity rituals are expressions of, well, unity. Lighting of the unity candle, mixing of sand, planting a sapling tree, tying a knot, fastening of the cord, to name a few. Each are rooted in faith or culture. For instance, the veil and cord are popular among Filipino and Latino cultures. The veil symbolizes the woven fabric of heaven and earth, protecting the newlyweds in God’s graces and their mutual support. The cord symbolizes infinity, strands braided from the faith, hope, and dreams of the community.
Engaged couples often consider adding a unity ritual as a way to honor their faith or cultural backgrounds. As more marriages are being performed outside of a church, couples who grew up in strict religious households often find themselves referencing their faith with an abridged version of rituals. Others are pulled by strong cultural ties, while others still are simply excited about the novelty of a particular unity ritual. Whatever the motivation, the most important question to ask yourself is: How is it meaningful to me and to my partner?
All the words of the wedding ceremony are what will take you from the day of your wedding into the joyful lifetime of marriage. You want the words to represent you, your beliefs, your ideals, your commitment and love. So consider a unity ritual for its faith, social, and cultural significance, and then decide to include it when your heart says it is meaningful to YOU.
The Unity Rituals Element is available in Wedwordy, where there are 10 different passages to choose from. The passages include beautiful wording of instruction and symbolism to make it flow seamlessly in your wedding ceremony. They are fully editable, so refine the words, or write/add your own meaningful gesture of unity.
Photo by Nick Graham Photography