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. We’re both huge beer snobs, so we’re having a “beer making” ceremony, where all our attendants (i.e. closest, dearest friends) will contribute handfuls of grains into a giant bowl, then my fella and I will add the last handfuls, stir them all up, and (later) brew a beer from what has been collected to share with all our friends. We’re planning on composing something profound about fermentation and maturation being parallels to the growth of our love to be read while people are mixing.

    • I love this idea! You can have all kinds of symbolism for the hops, the malt, and the grain. Great metaphor for life and partnership!!

  2. Hi guys, well we’re christian and we found the unity cross ceremony appealed to both of us. The site defines the different parts as being female and male but I disagreed so I think our pastor is going to make it more about us. Its pretty and we’re excited to have it be a part of our decor in our home.
    But I gotta say the hour glass thing is AWESOME.

    • Sheri, I had never heard of the unity cross ceremony until reading your post. After researching it, it’s perfect! (Plus, I think my parents – who are a little sad that we aren’t getting married in church – will be a fan). Thanks.

  3. We’re doing a version of the wine box ceremony (I’ve seen it called the anniversary box, so that’s what we’re calling it). I love the science experiments though! So tempting, but I think we have enough meaning and enough length to our ceremony as is.

  4. I love some of these ideas, y’all are so amazingly creative!
    The Dude and I are in talks of mixing some of these together into a cool, nerdy unity ceremony. We were thinking of each making a “cocktail” of what makes us individuals and combining them into a mason jar that we’d seal and keep on display in our home. For example, mine would be made of little buttons and beads, bits of thread, some spices and tea leaves. His would be tiny broken microchips, cut-up Magic the Gathering cards, coiled bits of wires and guitar picks. I’m wondering if this would be really symbolic of our vastly different lives coming together as they have in the past (by then) 10 years, or if it would be something dumb that we’d just end up tossing out with other junk.

  5. We are planning a Ring Warming ceremony. The rings will be circulated through all of our seated guests starting with my sister (my mother has passed on) and ending with Mr. D’s step-mom.

    It gives an opportunity for everyone to infuse our rings with their prayers, good wishes and positive energy before we say our vows and exchange rings. We sooo appreciate the support of our loved ones!

    We are having an intimate wedding of 80 guests max – not sure if this would work for a large wedding.

  6. We also did a tree planting for unity! We held our wedding at our home so it was easy to just plant the tree where we wanted it to live. (I don’t know how to embed a picture, can someone tell me how?)

  7. I know I’m spilling the beans, but what the heck. Mi amor and I are actually doing a color blending mini-ceremony. We’ll come in wearing accessories in separate colors (him green tie, me blue gloves). After we exchange vows (but before the kiss), we’ll swap out our accessories for blue-green items to show that we are united in spirit but will always maintain our own identities since within the right shade of blue-green you can see each color separately.

  8. Love the hour glass idea! We’re doing a version of the Hindu seven blessings for our vows, where the couple takes seven steps around a sacred fire and a blessing is read for each step. The wording will have to be changed a little as it’s very “the man will provide and the woman will care for the home.” One of the blessings is for many healthy children, and we’re not crazy about having kids so we’ll probably change that one too. My hubby-to-be also wants to do some type of candle ceremony so we’ll incorporate that in with the fire I think.

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