Unity Sandwich- "You may now…take a bite"

Unity candles, unity sand ceremonies, unity salt ceremonies, unity cocktails, and even the UNITY SANDWICH! Rachel and her groom decided that the ever-popular sammich was the ideal metaphor for their marriage.

Unity ceremonies are a great way to symbolize the bringing together of two individuals into one partnership and, at times, the blending of families.

Here are a few of my favorite unity ceremony options — a few you've probably seen before, two will require protective eye-gear, and a couple even involve science!

Unity candle

Our Newly Official FamilyUnity candles can be good for two or a whole family of people! Emily says, “We decided to light a unity candle to symbolize how our lives were going to burn close together from now on.”

Salt covenant

IMG_6303.JPGCentered Ceramics came up with a salt ceremony. It works just like a sand ceremony, but the salt egg can become a fixture in your kitchen and used daily.

Sand ceremony

Claudia & Eddie's weddingWhen Claudia and Eddie got married, they brought together their children as well. So each family member had a colored sand that represented themselves and they combined them all together.

Your own take on a sand or salt ceremony

Salt and Pepper UnityWhat about taking the same concept of the sand ceremony but adding a personal spin… Celebrant Jessie Blum explained, “I love all things spiced and spicy — my husband is a salt fiend. So we did our own twist on a sand ceremony and poured white peppercorns and black lava salt!”

Bread breaking ceremony

Breaking breadNicole and Sean shared a bread breaking ceremony: “The bread was from my favorite local baker, and was sweetened with honey butter I made from local organic honey.”


handfastingHandfasting, or tying your hand together to symbolize the joining together in marriage, is very popular on Offbeat Bride.

Water ceremony

Photo by Whitney Lee
Photo by Whitney Lee
Cat and Andrew came up witha science-based ceremony: “Since Andrew is a Chemist, and a big science nerd. His favorite moment was our special version of a candle lighting/unity ceremony. We each poured a vase what looked like plain water into a large pitcher, causing an instant color change from clear to pink. Magic! (I mean… science!) The audience gasped and applauded, and we were beaming.”

Tree planting ceremony

PlantingTribe member Sneff and her husband planted a tree together during their ceremony. Similarly, Mina and Adam planted an Evergreen sapling, as a symbol of their love.

Eternity flowers

Photo by Maggie Winters
Photo by Maggie Winters

We love this flower laying ceremony from Victoria & Jacqueline's wedding. “We loved the idea of incorporating the concept of eternity, and we'd tossed around the idea of a handfasting, but we ended up crafting our own ritual. All the guests came forward, picked flowers out of a vase, and laid them in two conjoined circles around us, making an eternity symbol. We placed this about halfway through the ceremony, so we stood in the circles through the rest.”

Unity cocktail

Unity cocktailUnity cocktails are an Offbeat Bride favorite. We have an entire tag devoted to the them.

Wine lock box ceremony

wine lock box ceremonySarah and Todd did what they called a wine lock box ceremony. “Instead of a unity candle, we did a wine lock box ceremony. We sealed love letters and a bottle of wine into a box. Our officiant was thrilled to use the ‘making of wine' as a metaphor for marriage. I LOVED getting to hammer nails in the middle of the ceremony.” The photo above is from Flickr member Dirt2Mud‘s wine box ceremony. She explains, “The bottle was picked specifically as it should age well and be at its peak around our 5th anniversary when we will open the box. We also bought special break-resistant stemware.”

Unity painting/art-making

Rose_Aaron_Wedding_214_CGA painting ceremony has been brought up by a few of our brides. From a unity finger painting to Tribe member Zombiefrog Bunny‘s painting of concentric spirals, creating art together is a good way to honor your passions and your new partnership.

Welding ceremony

csj_488_w600_h900Sarah Joy and Joseph are both pipe fitters so they had a welding ceremony. Warning: only to be attempted by trained professionals!

Unity volcano

The Unity Volcano Eruptus ForthKaci and Roy had a unity volcano — you know, that awesome science fair project!

We have SO many more ideas for you — pages and pages of them!

Thanks to all the amazing offbeat brides who brought us all of these ideas, now to the rest of you… what unity ceremonies did I forget about?

Comments on From sand to science: 14 unity ceremonies to symbolize your new partnership

  1. Hello! I love love LOVE the idea of Cat and Andrew’s science unity experiment (for lack of a better phrase). My fiance Ken is a math teacher and I was a bio major/statistician, and we both love nerdy and fun things. Would anyone know how this magic (science!) happened? I assume some kind of pH indicator, but I would love to snag it for my own ceremony. Thanks!

    • O.o

      We need to do a color-changing water ceremony. This is a thing that needs to happen.

      We’ll probably do something with kitchen-available stuff, though–from what I can tell, the example used phenolphthalein, and while really fun to type and say, I don’t have the hookup to get it cheap. We’ll probably just boil some red cabbage to get purple liquid, and combine our purple liquid with a clear base to get a pretty green-blue liquid. I’m weird, and I sometimes just do this when I’m bored and have some red cabbage lying around.

      • Make the “clear liquid” part of your mixture lemon juice or other acidic-spike. This will turn your cabbage juice a lovely pink. Be sure to experiment with different concentrations of acid before hand to zone in on the exact effect you want.
        Oh, PS – Phenolphthalein will run you about $35 for 100g. Try Fisher Scientific or Restek for suppliers.

    • Okay, really late to this party, but on another indicator note, you can also get clear to blue, but it isn’t instantaneous as the clear to pink with phenolphthalein.

      If you mix iodine with vitamin C, it will turn clear. In the other vase, pour liquid laundry starch (you could also mix corn starch and water, but it will be cloudy). When you pour the two together, the mixture will take a few minutes to turn blue.

      Also, I typically find Frey to be the cheapest provider of chemicals & supplies (I am a high school science teacher).

    • Whats a German Bridal Cup? My fiance is German, I’m Australian, and we’re getting married in Vietnam. I keep asking him for ideas on German wedding culture…cause I really want there to be a bit of both of us in our ceremony…but he’s a bit hopeless, and doesnt really know any!

      • I just read about a German bridal cup the other day! There is a historical “story” that goes with the tradition. You can find it easy enough in a google search. Long story short fair maidens wealthy nobleman father did not approve of her love beau, a simple goldsmith, and imprisoned him. That did not ebb her love though so he set a challenge that he was sure could not be met. If it was then they could be wed. Of couse the challenge was met! The challenge was
        “If your goldsmith can make a chalice from which two people can drink at the same time without spilling one single drop, I will free him and you shall become his bride”.
        Inspired by love and with skillful hands, the young goldsmith created a masterpiece. He sculpted a girl with a smile as beautiful as his own true love’s. Her skirt was hollowed to serve as a cup. Her raised arms held a bucket that swivels so that it could be filled and then swung towards a second drinker.

    • We’re doing this too! We’re both Germanists (met in our PhD program) and heritage speakers, and while my other half’s family is from Northern Germany, this Southern German tradition is definitely appropriate to my family. We’re also sawing a log. 🙂

  2. Thank you for posting! It’s really nice to see some of the creative ways other couples are approaching this.

  3. We did an hourglass ceremony. It’s a take on the sand ceremony except we have a cooler memento and we will turn it on every anniversary. The idea is that when you put each color of sand in the glass they’re inseparable but not entwined. As time continues on the colors become so entwined they are impossible to part. So it’s a bit like a salt covenant, too. We liked the idea that it also portrayed the growth within marriage as well, since not a lot of unity ceremonies involve that aspect, but we thought it was important to point out that the best was still to come! I’ll scrounge up a picture and see if I can stick it in the flickr pool.

      • Done! I, er, forgot to add a description, but I’m OBT member Wowjunkie and the pic is a ridiculously tall man in a monkey suit and a chick in a white ball gown with blue pearls pouring sand into a wooden hourglass.

          • We got ours from heirloomhourglass.com. We ordered our sand from them as well and I Goodwill’ed the holders. Heirloom hourglass seemed to offer the biggest variety of hourglasses we could find, and more importantly the hourglasses close with caps that are screwed on so we could immediately close it and turn (which was important to us – the first mixing of sand) and most of the others we had found you had to send off to have them recapped. They sell all sorts of different end caps so you could customize. I will warn you they’re a bit pricey for my taste but ours is beautiful and it was really important to my husband. Oh, and it’s totally possible to make your hourglass an actual hourglass but we decided not to drive ourselves crazy and meter it out.

    • I’m not gonna lie, I got all teary-eyed reading this. I love this idea so much!

    • Omg I’m sorry but I’m stealing it. We did plan on doing just a normal sand ceremony but when I read your post it really touched me. (Plus my fiance has a fascination of watches, and the first little gift he gave me was a bottle of red sand because I said I wanted to go to death valley in Nevada) Then when I found a site with the actual reading I started crying as I read it. I love it, and thank you so much for posting it, because now I feel like we have a ceremony that fits when nothing else was.

    • We will definitely be using this! I’ve been trying to come up with a good unity ceremony that doesn’t involve a candle or alcohol and this is PERFECT. My fiance is black, I’m white, and a lot of our wedding has a theme of the blending of our families and our cultures. The visual representation of the blending is perfect for us. 🙂

    • I read the honey one, where they each place honey on each others lips, but I at one time read a “honey and Water” ceremony and the saying something like, let the sweetness of this drink erase the bitterness of your pass etc HELP, I lost the information

  4. I’ve been toying with the idea of some type of unity ceremony for months but I can’t decide what would work best for us and wouldn’t be too over the top in our short, simple ceremony (we’re already exchanging rings and having a reading on top of vows). They’re all cool and fun, which makes picking the right one hard!

    I like the idea of combining spices, we both like cooking and spicy food but it’s not very visually interesting. Or maybe cocktails. We could combine Bailey’s and Tia Maria which looks pretty and no one would know but my ex-local bar called it a ‘BJ’. 😀

  5. I totally thought the “Bread Breaking Ceremony” said “Breaking Bad Ceremony”. I was all like “wuuuuut! Do they make meth!?” Then I re-read it and it sounds NOMMY.

    • hahaha!! breaking bad… id love to see someone do that. just too funny. im so glad you posted what you thought it said. thank you

  6. I don’t know if this is technically a unity ceremony – but my fiance and I are planning on exchanging love letters that will go in a small bird cage that we’ll either open if we come to a point in our marriage where we need to remind each other why we got married, or on our 5th anniversary. (Which ever comes first and hopefully the latter!)

  7. the Lakota have a special jug to drink from as part of their weddings – you can get them hand painted to suit you

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