Weddings – A Celebration of Family

A 5-part series that looks at how different elements can be included within your ceremony, to enable children, family or friends to participate together, with you both on your special day.


Part 1 – Unity Candle Ceremony

As a Wedding celebrant, I often get asked by the bride and groom how they can include their children and their families in their ceremony. This is particularly important when the couple have young children and are blending families. For a wedding ceremony doesn’t just join two people together, it is also a celebration of family.

Lighting a Unity Candle during your wedding ceremony is a traditional option with a universal meaning. The separate candles symbolise separate lives, separate families and separate sets of friends, in other words, your lives before today.

Lighting the centre or ‘Unity Candle’ symbolises the joining of the couple in marriage as well as the joining of their two families. I particularly like having this element at the beginning of your ceremony, for, nor only does the flame of your family burn brightly while you make your promises and vows, but , the wonderful smell of natural beeswax and the softness of the light reflecting all around, creates a warm and beautiful ambience.

As celebrant, I will invite those members of the family taking part to come and join us at the front.

Each person will pick up a candle, and, from the flame of a gentle tea light, light it, and then put their flames together to light the Unity Candle.

There are many beautiful words that can be said, at this point, which are personal and unique to your ceremony.

When two children are involved:

‘This candle you are about to light is a candle of Family. Its’ fire is magical because it burns with the flame of a family joined in love.

This candle before you is a candle of Commitment because it takes four people working together to keep it aflame.

This candle is also a candle of Unity because all must come together, giving a spark of themselves, to create the new light.

As you light this candle today, may the brightness of the flame shine throughout your lives.

May it give you courage and reassurance in darkness; warmth and safety in the cold; and strength and joy in your bodies, minds, and spirits.

May your family be forever blessed.’

Mothers can be involved by lighting a single candle each, and giving them to you both, from which you light the Unity Candle.

‘Dolly and Herbie, you have chosen to affirm your love by the lighting of a Unity Candle.

You have also asked your mothers to participate in the lighting ceremony.

In so doing, you show your desire to not only join as one, but to also unite two families together as one.

May this candle burn brightly as a symbol of your love and commitment to each other.

The individual beeswax candles are carefully placed into boxes after the ceremony, with a little message to the person who lit it, and make wonderful keepsakes for those who have taken part.

The candles can be all shapes and sizes and can be decorated to suit the theme and colours of your wedding, from shells and twine for a beach ceremony, to the tea rose pink bows in the pictures, which perfectly match the flower girl outfits of the daughters of the bride.