"EVERYBODY has a unity candle ceremony. I want something different!" I hear this often, and YES. There are options!
If you're getting married outside, you may especially want to avoid a unity candle ceremony as attempting to light a candle and keep it lit can be very difficult with the slightest of breezes. Would you consider it a bad omen if your unity candle blew out right after you lit it? Or it refuses to stay lit after lighting it several times?
If you really want a unity candle outdoors, there are ways you can try to trick Mother Nature. You can place the candle inside a hurricane lamp, but then lowering a taper down into it can burn your fingers or set a sleeve on fire.
You can use flameless candles, but how romantic is it to reach over and turn the battery-operated switch on?
Sand. Yes, there are many who use colored sand and each member of the family pours their sand into the center container. It's certainly an option, and one that many use in place of a unity candle. Make sure to seal it with silicone shortly after the ceremony to avoid the accidental spillage if it gets knocked over.
Here's how I approach it. Share with me the things that you and your sweetie have in common, and I can create a unity ceremony from just about anything. Do you love wine? I can create a wine ceremony. Have a passion for fishing? Boating? Coffee? Cooking? I've got you covered in all those as well. You can truly create a unity ceremony around anything, if you're creative enough.
Your ceremony should be a direct reflection of you, your love and what you believe. Not something out of a book that someone bought online or was written hundreds of years ago. This is YOUR day, YOUR love, and YOUR life. Celebrate it YOUR way.
Your wedding officiant has asked you if there's a special reading you'd like to have in your ceremony, and you draw a blank. What's a reading? Do I need one? Where do I find one? Can I have more than one? Am I going to have to memorize it and say it myself? Why are there so many decisions to make when planning a ceremony????
No worries! That's what I'm here for! A reading is a way to add personality into a ceremony. It doesn't have to be a passage from the Bible, Quran or Bhagavad Gita, although it can be if you'd like. You can choose to do something other than the usual "Love is patient. Love is kind" passage, even if you decide to do a reading from the Bible.
If you're looking at a more traditional ceremony, you might choose something from sacred texts. There are many passages in the Bible that work well beside 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
You can choose a favorite poem. You can choose the lyrics from a song that means something special to the two of you. Perhaps there's a favorite bit of dialogue in movie you'd like to quote. There are also ethnic marriage blessings that make wonderful readings, such as the Apache marriage blessing. You can Google 'wedding readings' and there is a world of information available. I have a wide selection available for my couples as well.
Who reads the reading? Anyone you'd like to have read it, assuming they're willing to do so. I can be a family member, friend, or you can have your officiant read it. No need to have it memorized - no one expects that. A piece of paper or note card is great.
One or two readings is all you need. If your officiant is writing your ceremony for you, your personality and love will come through many other parts of your ceremony as well, such as a unity tradition, handfasting, rose tradition and more.
Rev. Ronnie was ordained in 2010 as an interfaith minister through The New Seminary, located in New York City. She is available to perform ceremonies throughout the United States, aboard ship or in other countries.