Unity Ceremony: Not Vintage (Well, Mostly)


November 18th, 2012

When a couple contemplates a vintage style ceremony, the vintage elements can run anywhere to using Grandma’s dress and having the rest of the proceedings feature the latest trends, to recreating every detail authentically to match the Gatsby, Post-War, 50s or other era of choice.

One element that is not mentioned in vintage etiquette and celebration books is the lighting of the unity candle. Why? The tradition of the unity ceremony element in weddings was non existence. Couples did not pour sand or light a large candle.

The closest reference is the practice of lighting altar candles in a Catholic ceremony, but this is usually reserved for close family members at the beginning of the ceremony. The earliest noted references of unity candles only go back to maybe the 1970s. Unity candles are still not often found in a Catholic ceremony, and certainly are not featured on the altar, but if you are going 70s or 80s style, it is not foreign to the era, but would be more likely seen in a Protestant ceremony.

The pouring of sand has no clear specific origin, but is a very modern addition. Anecdotal evidence supports the notion that Native American or ceremonies for Hawaiian native islanders included it, but there is no absolute documented proof.

I have a novel idea: Why not show the joining of two lives and two souls by exchanging vows and rings? How retro!

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