Unity ceremonies represent the union you are committing to in your relationship together and there are many unity ceremonies available. These ceremonies can be based on historical, religious, trend and family tradition. You can also create your own unity ceremony, entirely unique to you. Including a unity ceremony in your wedding can bring a joyful and memorable element to the day. It can also be a wonderful way to include friends or family in your wedding.

Some unity ceremonies are more widely used than others. They all have one thing in common, to be defined as a Unity Ceremony; they include a symbolic ritual.

The ceremonies I’m most often asked to include in wedding celebrations are:

  • handfasting ceremonies
  • sand ceremonies
  • candle ceremonies
  • circling
  • tree planting

These are the most commonly chosen to be included in a ceremony, but this is not an exhaustive list. Indeed I have created all kinds of couple-specific unity ceremonies that are only relevant to that family or couple. These ceremonies are only limited by our imagination so, whoever you are working with, make sure you let them know if there’s a tradition you’d like to incorporate into your ceremony in some way.

A sand ceremony

Many of the ceremonies have an important history

Before you choose a unity ceremony, do consider the history and folklore attached to it. Several, including Jumping the broom, have their origins entwined with slavery or persecution and they should not be seen as frivolous. Respect for the culture where they originated is essential when you decide to include them in your ceremony.

My top tips on including a unity ceremony in your service:

  1. Choose one of the ceremonies. I know, they all bring something special, but you’ll be able to use one in each of your vow renewals for years to come! Seriously, including too many ceremonies makes the service complicated and you’ll find people lose interest.
  2. Include significant family or friends in the unity ceremony. These provide a wonderful opportunity to get children or parents involved, so take advantage of this and let them feel included.
  3. Do at least one run-through. I do recommend running through the whole process at least once with your Celebrant to make sure everyone knows what is going to happen. You may have to pay an extra fee for this in some cases, so ask about this as you plan.
  4. Let your guests know why you included the unity ceremony. If you have chosen to include something with significant meaning to you as a couple, let your guests know more. You can explain in one of the speeches, or even include some details in your invitations.

I am writing a series of short blogs on each of the unity ceremonies listed above, so do check back for those over the next couple of weeks. I’ll also add the links to them in the list as I write them.

From my heart to yours,


If you’d like to know more about creating your own unity ceremony or whether one of the ones I’ve mentioned could work for your dream day, do get in touch. I’d love to hear about your plans and see if I’m the right Celebrant to help you create them,

If you’re interested in finding out about the career of an Independent Celebrant, take a look at the Celebrant Coaching and Training Academy. All our courses are created to help you become an exceptional Celebrant. Wedding and Vow Renewal Courses and Life Celebration Training.