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Wedding Ceremony: Alternatives to Unity Candles?

Q.

We are getting married outside. The wedding ceremony will take place in a natural breezeway. We would like to light a unity candle, but the wedding candles will not stay lit. Are there any alternative ways to incorporate this wedding tradition?

A.

The symbolism behind the unity candle is the uniting of two families through marriage; you light a single candle together from your separate family candles. But there are definitely other ways to represent the union that don't involve candles. You could use two bouquets of flowers -- roses would be appropriate -- that each of your mothers brings down the aisle and places in a separate vase. Then at the right time during the ceremony, each of you could pluck a single stem from your family's bouquet and place the two stems together in a smaller vase. Or use wine: Your parents each pour wine into a pretty cup, and you all take a sip; then bride and groom each pour some into another vessel and sip from that as a couple. The Apache have a similar unity custom that involves pouring colored sand into a bowl. Or you can invent your own tradition!

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