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?

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

  1. My beau and I are big tea-drinkers, so we’re going to have a tea ceremony. We’ll mix two types of tea and letting it steep while we read our vows. Then we’ll pour a cup for each other.

  2. I’ve seen a painting ceremony where the bride had red and the groom blue. They each painted a side of the canvas, then poured the paints together and painted the center purple. Oh, and the groom tied an apron on his bride before painting to protect her dress — very cute.

  3. In the Hebrew Bible people would exchange shoes to symbolize a covenant . . . I could see that being really neat for a same gender couple as a way to twist a really ancient Judeo-Christian tradition. It could work for a couple of different gender expressions too, but there are more complications! Not to mention, the issue of shoe size!

  4. Usually I find unity ceremonies kind of saccharine and over used. We get it, you’re turning two into one that’s the whole point of marriage, way to figure it out. That said, I can totally get behind the magic “water” and volcano ceremonies. Not to mention the science flavor is perfect for humanist/atheist ceremonies. Hate to say it, but I might have to jack one of those ideas.

  5. For my husband and I, offbeat Christians, in our faith tradition, communion is the ultimate unity ceremony – as it means union both with God and with our fellow participants. At our wedding, there was communion for the whole congregation, and our first act as a married couple was to bring the bread and wine forward, to serve our community. I loved taking part in the ceremony, because it reminded me that my marriage is a part of a larger community, and those people took part in the wedding and pledged to support us in our marriage.

    Bringing the bread and wine forward – http://carissabyers.com/p971514465/h356eee2e#h356eee2e

    • I LOVE this! I’ve always known we’d have communion during our ceremony, but I never thought of serving it to our guests as well. What a beautiful picture of Christ. That I’m now stealing 😉

      • What a good idea to cement the idea of service to the community. I love this.

    • See this is why I’m sometimes jealous of religious couples. So many beautiful, meaningful ceremonies already built in.

      • Yeah, I’m struggling to find how to fill a secular ceremony with things that are meaningful to us. In the Tribe, there’s a secular group with lots of ideas how to make a beautiful non-religious ceremony.

  6. We had a “rose ceremony.” It’s pretty similar to the sand ceremony, but using a vase of flowers (roses). Two were already in the vase (us), and four others were on the table the vase was on. Each of our four parents came up and took one from the table, with my parents giving theirs to my husband and his parents to me, then us placing the roses into the vase. It was meant to symbolize not just us starting our own family, but of each of us being welcomed into our existing families.

  7. I went to a wedding where the bride and groom soldered together two halves of a copper wire heart, which they later attached to a wooden plaque to hang on their wall. It was adorable, and perfect given the groom has been tinkering around and building electrical stuff since he was a kid.

  8. We’re doing a punch ceremony where each of the moms and each of us will have an ingredient to mix together which will make punch that will then be sipped by each of us out of the same goblet during the ceremony and the remainder served at dinner. It will also be our go-to recipe for punch after that. 🙂

  9. So we are in the process of making a Spin Art Ceremony in which we make a badass spin-art painting. Each of us will use one color and then the paint will spin joyously together like our love. Also, we are both little kids at heart so this is perfect for us.

  10. We kind of did the Wine Lock Box Ceremony just minus the wine. Neither of us are big drinkers so the wine part didn’t make sense for us. Instead we filled it with mix CDs, copies of toasts that people were going to do at the reception, and then each year on our anniversary we’re going to put some pictures in of what we’ve done in the past year. We’ve decided not to read the letters until our 15th anniversary.

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