IS A WEDDING IN THE AIR?
A wedding ceremony is a magical thing! It is magical for a number of reasons. Initially, wedding ceremonies alter your life. As a matter of fact, whether or not to marry is one of the biggest, longest-lasting and important life decisions you will make. Millions of girls are brought up to expect that one day they will be a bride and have their special, completing, significant other bound to them in a special ritual. I love the use of a Unity Candles wedding ceremony for this purpose.
There are many types of wedding ceremonies. I grew up only knowing about formal Roman Catholic Church and reception affairs. These kinds of weddings take months of preparation and lots of money! They are usually the end of a long engagement period.
I’ve attended numerous large Italian weddings that included the church service along with all the dogmatic symbolism, the photography session (if you were in the wedding party or a part of the immediate family) and then the attendance at the big gala extravaganza to follow that evening. The bride, in a flowing white gown and veil, presides over the party of her dreams, that includes a formal dinner, a live, local band and lots of presents and well-wishers.
I was a teenager before I realized many people didn’t use this method to marry. When I learned of people that were married at City Hall or some other informal setting, I always wondered how they managed to fit a life-changing event into just another “errand” they had to run that day! Now, I know it happens all the time. To each his (and her) own.
IT’S ONLY LOVE
If you are planning a joining of two lives, you have my best wishes for a joyful event and a happy-ever-after type ending. I have been to lovely weddings in many locations ranging from friends’ basements to beach or backyard gatherings.
When you plan a wedding, you have many decisions to make. Since this day is all about making the two participants happy, people choose to get married in many ways and in many different locations.
I’ve attended backyard weddings that were just as symbolic and beautiful as a formal church wedding. Beach weddings are a favorite of mine after spending years in Florida. The ocean has always been symbolic of “time immemorial”, especially in art. Water itself is symbolic of rebirth and cleansing.
Weddings are all in the details. To some couples, the location of the marriage is of little importance. To others, choosing a location is a personal and sometimes financial, decision.
When you choose a location other than a church, you have the freedom of writing your own vows and planning your entire ceremony to your own tastes. It is a joyous day and deserves to be observed in whatever way will make you happy. I personally know women who had planned their wedding days since they were children.
If you are considering a Roman Catholic or Anglican Church service, the marriage ritual is already set by the church.
These religions have symbols in their ceremonies, but the use of candles is NOT one of them. Since I am a self-proclaimed candle type of person, I wondered whether or not candles were allowed in Roman Catholic marriage ceremonies.
I found out that The Unity candle is NOT specifically banned from these parochial ceremonies. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops states that each church may make its own decision about permitting the use of the Unity Candle in their wedding ceremonies.
If, upon prior agreement between the marriage participants and the pastor or minister, the use of the Unity candle ceremony is included, the ritual candles must be lit from The Paschal Candle /the-paschal-candle-and-the-catholic-church”>
The only other stipulation is the unity candles must NOT be placed on the altar.
However, if you are planning a more casual, less religious service, I believe the Unity Candle ritual is a wonderful accompaniment to the ceremony. For best results, candles are best utilized in indoor rituals and services. The outdoor setting does not lend itself very well to the use of candles.
THE UNITY CANDLE CEREMONY
A unity candle ritual traditionally involves three candles. The candles are usually white. However, it’s your wedding. You get to make the rules, right?
If you have a color scheme planned, you can choose different colored candles. One large pillar candle represents the union of two combining their energies into one. The bride and groom are each represented by their own taper candle.
The bride and groom can decide the exact ritual. Here are some examples: one ceremony involves the lighting of the two taper candles at the beginning of the ritual. These can be lit by a parent or close family member on each side of the two families. This way, the tapers can symbolize the two families being joined (if there are two families involved) and their acceptance of the union. The large pillar candle may then be lit, by the bride and groom simultaneously, from the flame of these tapers to signify the cementing of the union or the combination of the two flames into one spirit, or flame.
Obviously, one could alter the ritual to one’s individual (or combined) situation. The lighting of the candle is only one symbolic aspect of your wedding ceremony. There is usually a third person who performs the ceremony or ritual. People add vows, music, speeches from others, and whatever other symbolism is important to them to create a wedding that is truly unique and representative of the bride and groom.
Weddings are a time for celebration and happiness. Many couples today feel free enough to marry using methods as unique as the couple themselves. There are sports-themed weddings, natural setting unions, even large, formal church masses, all used as a metaphor for unification of two people into one.
I love the benefit of visually representing the union of two people in marriage by the use of the Unity candles. If you are planning ( or have planned) a wedding, I would be interested in hearing your views on the subject.
We can communicate by the use of the comment boxes located at the end of the post. Describe your special day to me. Do you feel strongly about traditional weddings? Or, do you prefer the more casual civil unions? Please engage with me here. I promise to respond within 24 hours. Thanks for reading.