Finding the “Right Rite”: Unity Ceremony Choices


Despite using the word right there is no right or wrong unity ceremony for a wedding.  The ceremony you and your significant other choose to best represent your union is always the right one.  Whether that ceremony is the Unity Candle Ceremony, the Sand Ceremony, or a Handfasting, if it signifies your unique union, then it’s the right one.

Having said that, I have met with couples who want to have a unique unity ceremony but are more than willing to ditch this part of a wedding simply because they’re not sure what to do.  In my seven years as a wedding officiant and now as a Humanist Celebrant, I’ve done the candle ceremony, the sand ceremony, a handfasting, a wine box, and in some cases the couple just nixed it out of the entire ceremony.   And in one very unique but incredible wedding ceremony, I utilized my creative skills and made a small coffin box and the couple each put a skeleton inside the box to represent their eternal love until death.  But in each ceremony that I performed these unity rituals, they represented the couple involved just right.

So how do you decide which unity ritual or ceremony is right for you?  If a couple is unsure of what ceremony they like, I often ask them what brings them together as a couple?  What love of something they share that best represents their union?  Was it a love of books?  Wine tastings?  Beer fests?  Nature hikes?  Motorcycle rides?  Automotive shows?  What do they do together that they both enjoy?  With this question I can typically find a ceremony (or modify an existing one) to accommodate their unique love story.

For one couple I married at a local winery, they initially wanted to skip the unity ceremony until I told them about the wine box ceremony.  When I told them that they could choose a bottle of their favorite wine, two glasses, and a copy of their vows to place in a wooden box, hammer it shut during their unity ceremony to be opened  at their first wedding anniversary or when they needed to be reminded of their vows, they were thrilled!  And it was a hit!

In his book The Complete Celebrant Handbook, Han Hills devotes an entire section to unity ceremonies and rituals.  He explains their importance, their details, and gives samples of ceremonies and their texts.  Again, they can all be modified to best represent each and every couple.  You can be sure I’ll be using this amazing resource when meeting with potential clients from now on!

The point of a unity ceremony is to have a visible ritual for enforcing the commitment of marriage and it should reflect the personalities, as well as the interests of the couple getting married.

You will find ideas for unity ceremonies and rituals online especially on sites like Pinterest and Offbeat Bride ,as well as Wedding Wire and The Knot  Look for ideas that represent your interests and then work with an experienced Celebrant to modify that unity ceremony especially for you and your significant other!  This way, you’ll end up with the RIGHT RITE for your wedding ceremony!

What unique unity ceremonies or rituals have you seen?  What did you like about them?  What didn’t you like?  Feel free to comment below or ask questions!

Until next time,


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