The Unity Candle – A Modern Tradition


Much of what we see or do at a wedding can be traced back to traditions handed down over the centuries. The Unity Candle is a fairly new addition to the traditional wedding ceremony. It is thought to have been in use since around the 1930s and though the exact origin is unknown, the Unity Candle is usually seen at Christian Interfaith weddings. It is generally prohibited in Catholic Church ceremonies.
Candles have always been considered a source of light and promise. It is no surprise that the wishing of these two ideals would be appropriate at a wedding. The lighting of the Unity Candle ceremony uses two tapered candles with a large pillar style candle in the centre. When the wedding ceremony begins the two tapered candles are lit, one by each family. This is usually an honour given to the mothers of the bride and groom. After the formal vows, the bride and groom each take one of the tapers and together they light the large pillar or Unity Candle in the middle.
Unity Candles are usually white, but they are often decorated with a picture of the couple, a copy of the wedding invitation or an inscription that has meaning to the pair. The couple may choose to have a special song playing or an explanation of the ceremony given while they light the Unity Candle. It is also customary for the Unity Candle to be saved and relit on the couple’s first anniversary.


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