Weddings include some of the most recognizable rituals in our modern culture today. A unity ceremony, usually woven into the wedding ceremony itself, serves to symbolize the joining of lives, families and communities. Most importantly, it showcases your unique background, beliefs and especially your creativity.
As today’s traditions continuously shift and blend together, unity ceremony ideas develop to represent different personalities, preferences and vows. While some couples feel drawn to the traditional handfasting or unity candle, alternatives range from creating an abstract painting or even mixing up your own custom beer.
Whether you’re looking to tap into your own background’s history or plan a completely non-traditional wedding ceremony, explore these 30 unity ceremony ideas to add rituals both old and new into your beautiful day.
1. Maypole Unity
Inspired by the Maypole folk tradition, tie a collection of ribbons—each with handwritten letters of support and love—to blow in the wind and signify the joining of a family and community along with the couple themselves.
2. Pot of Tea
Tea ceremonies work their way into a variety of cultural traditions. This unity candle alternative instead combines two blends of tea, steeping into a fully developed cup to share with one another.
3. Leather Branding
For the modern, non-traditional wedding ceremony, brand your new family crest onto a piece of leather to display in your new home together. The symbolic significance of the heated branding will speak to the joining of your lives.
4. Build a Heart
A perfect challenge for the artistic couple, build your own heart or other chosen symbol from wooden blocks during the ceremony. Display your creation in your new home after the wedding.
5. Placing the Cross
By choosing an elegant pedestal of your choice, connect a cross or symbol of your faith to display in your home after the wedding. Ask your officiant to bless the item in honor of your marriage.
6. Burying the Vows
Choose an eco-friendly variety of paper to write or represent your vows before burying them at your ceremony spot. This couple had the chance to bury theirs in a glacier!
7. Send-Off Bridge
For a truly memorable wedding photo, encourage your ceremony guests to shelter you beneath a group bridge as your head off back down the aisle.
8. Abstract Art
The unity ceremony finds a way to encapsulate the emotionally charged ceremony moment. Creating a new, abstract painting together is a beautiful way to represent this energy for years to come.
9. Tug of War
When tying the knot, why stop there? Let your competitive side fly by starting a playful tug of war—even get some help from your wedding party!
10. Sung Vows
Let your love inspire a whole new song by sharing your vows to the tune of your own writing. Pair up together if you’re musically inclined to create new harmonies for an extra-poignant significance.
11. Passing of the Flame
A lovely group alternative the unity candle, hand out candles and wax catchers at the start of the ceremony. Begin lighting the candle from a central altar or from the back of the room, leading up to the couple.
12. Create a Reaction
Celebrate your brilliant scientific backgrounds by creating a wedding-safe chemical reaction during your vows. Surprise your guests by not telling them what to expect when the two liquids join together.
13. Unity Group Prayer Ceremony
For religious ceremonies, collaborate with your officiant on ways to involve your wedding party and families in a group prayer. Invite all those wishing to participate up to physically support the newlyweds.
14. Scottish Quaich
Drinking from the same cup, or Scottish Quaich, represents the unity of drinking from the same cup of life. Traditionally, the couple brings their wedding quaich for the first toast of the reception.
15. Christian Unity Candle
In the Christian faith, the mothers of the couple light two separate candles at the start of the ceremony before the flame is lovingly “combined” before or during the mass or service.
16. Joining of Families
The unity ceremony is a perfect time to involve your children in the coming together of families. Have the little ones lend a hand to a sand or salt combining ceremony.
17. Propose a Toast
What’s a better way to get your entire ceremony—guests and all—involved in your unity ceremony? Design a drink station before your guests take a seat and make a toast to bring everyone together.
18. Celtic Handfasting
Originally a Pagan Celtic ceremony and adapted for cultures over the centuries, handfasting creates an infinity symbol around the couple’s joined hands to represent the combining of two lives.
19. Sorting Hat
Give your officiant an extra—and very important—task: determine your wizarding houses! This works perfectly in a literature, Harry Potter or other nontraditional wedding theme.
20. Black and Tan
A black and tan is traditionally created by combining a pale ale with a dark stout. Create your own combination to represent the joining of two tastes that blend perfectly together.
21. Jump the Broom
Dating back to 17th century Africa, jumping the broom signifies both the binding of two families as well as luck in fertility and a prosperous life.
22. Wine Box Letters
An extra addition to the wine box unity ceremony, nestle in a few love notes to your future selves so you can read these wedding-day messages and enjoy a properly aged bottle ten years into your marriage.
23. Completing the Puzzle
This display of unexpected wedding vows signifies the joint effort in bringing two lives together to create one picture. Take on the challenge of completing an abstract or traditional puzzle as your complete your vows to each other.
24. Tooreh Ghand
In the Persian tradition, the Tooreh Ghand is just one aspect of the symbol-rich wedding ceremony. Known as the sugar cloth, married female friends and relatives hold a lace-adorned cloth above the couple.
25. Unity Wine Making
For wine lovers looking to create their own wedding blend, pair up with your vineyard venue to stomp your own grapes during this non-traditional wedding ceremony idea.
26. Joining the Flame
With variations on the tradition spanning countless cultures, the unity candle represents the joining of two families and communities into one.
27. Exchange Love Letters
Writing private letters may be an easier way for you to express your vows. Choose to either read the letters out loud to one another or even keep them private—the ceremony is all about the two of you!
28. Unity Sand Art
While many sand unity ceremonies focus on combining sand from two special locations, you can combine the artistic aspect as well as the emotional with a collection of vibrant sands.
29. Complete a Painting
Catered to your background and traditions, add a simple finishing touch to a work of art. After the big day, add your ceremony painting to a wedding-themed wall art in your home to commemorate the moment.
30. Unity Wine Box
Secure your favorite vintage into an oak wine box to represent the beauty of letting a relationship grow and develop over time. This is perfect for a wedding at a winery or tucked in wine country.
Many of these unity ceremony ideas also transition into acting as unique guest book ideas. Invite guests to create and sign their own small work of abstract art or puzzle. These finished projects make for stunning wedding displays in your home for decades to come.