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  • Writer's pictureKristina McDonald

Sand Ceremony: Symbolic Rituals You Can Include in Your Ceremony

It can be difficult to think of ways to personalise your wedding ceremony. After all, most wedding ceremonies are deeply traditional, with set structure, standardised vows and limitations to the readings and music you can choose.

With a humanist wedding, this is one problem you don’t need to worry about! You can personalise everything about your ceremony, from the music to the vows to the tone and structure. One lovely way to make your ceremony truly unique is to have a symbolic ritual. There are so many rituals to choose from, to represent your relationship and individuality. Today’s spotlight is on sand ceremony!

What is a Sand Ceremony?

A sand ceremony is a beautiful way to visually represent the joining of a couple in marriage. Each partner adds sand to a communal vessel, to symbolise the union of both people into one bond. It’s a modern twist on the traditional unity candle ceremony, and perfect for outdoor or beach weddings!

Sand ceremonies are also perfect for couples who have children. Little ones can get involved in the ceremony alongside their parents, and the pouring of sand is a lovely visual representation of the whole family coming together as one unit.

How Does it Work?

Sand ceremonies start with three vases – or more if you’re including children! Each person has a vase or jar full of sand, and they take turns pouring sand into the communal vase, blending the sand as they go to demonstrate the union of two partners into one partnership.

As you’re conducting the ceremony, you can speak vows or words of affirmation to each other, your celebrant can read a significant poem or piece of prose, or you can simply have music playing in the background. The ceremony can be incorporated into the wedding proceedings in front of your guests, or performed afterwards, in private.

What Can I Use for the Ceremony?

You can really make the ceremony your own through your choice of vessel – vases, jars, cups or bottles can be used, whatever looks visually appealing or has a special meaning to you. You can even get personalised vases, bottles or hourglasses from vendors on Etsy!

You can also personalise the ceremony with your choice of sand – be it sand you buy from specialist vendors, coloured to represent each person, or sand collected from your favourite beach. You can add stones, shells, flowers, or any other charm or trinket to decorate your vessel, or to symbolise bumps in the road that you plan to overcome together.

After the ceremony, you have a lovely keepsake of your wedding day to display in your home, as a reminder of the promises you made to each other.


Sand ceremonies are a really beautiful way to affirm your love and commitment to your partner, and a perfect ritual to include children in. Blended families can find wedding days both joyous and bittersweet, so involving everyone in the ceremony is a wonderful way to make promises not just to your partner, but to the children as well. All in all, a lovely symbolic ritual.

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