top of page
  • Writer's pictureKristina McDonald

Unity Candle: Symbolic Rituals You Can Include in Your Ceremony

Many symbolic rituals that are now common in humanist ceremonies come from other traditions, but with humanist weddings we can make them unique to us! One such ritual is the lighting of a unity candle, a beautiful way to symbolise the coming together of two people in marriage, while maintaining their individuality. Equality is a key component of humanism, and unity candles are a perfect representation of this value in marriage.

Towards the Moon

What is a Unity Candle Ceremony?

The ceremony involves three candles; one for each partner and the third, the unity candle, which represents the joining of the two partners and their families. The candle flames represent the love and passion you have for each other, and coming together of two flames into one demonstrates your commitment to each other, and the bond you will share going forwards in marriage.

The unity candle ceremony can be performed at any time during the proceedings, and can be incorporated into the speaking of vows. Often, couples choose to begin with the lighting of a unity candle, which can then burn throughout the rest of the ceremony


The celebrant may read a poem or reading as the candles are being lit, or you might choose a special piece of music to play. You may even choose to involve other family members, such as parents or children, which is a lovely way to symbolise the joining of whole families, not just the couple getting married.

What should I know about Unity Candle Ceremonies?

First off, it might be tricky to do a unity candle ceremony if you’re having an outdoor wedding, especially if it’s on the beach or somewhere windy! You might have more luck with another kind of unity ceremony, such as a sand or tree planting ceremony.

Secondly, you should make sure the candles you’re choosing are suitable for the ceremony. Long, thin tapers tend to work best, to avoid wax dripping everywhere, though if you have a certain style in mind don’t let that put you off! It’s worth practising a few times before the big day, to make sure you can get the candles lit easily!

Also handy is to make sure to have a tealight lit before starting the ceremony, which means you won’t have to try lighting matches or lighters with nervous hands!

You should make sure to talk to your venue about the ceremony; some places do not allow open flames for safety reasons, so be prepared to compromise or have an alternative in mind just in case.

Lastly, there are lots of ways to vary the ceremony to suit your personal preferences. You could light each other’s candle instead of your own, to symbolise your promise to support each other and bring light to each other’s lives. It’s also a lovely way to include family in the proceedings. Having parents begin the candle lighting could represent their welcoming the new partner into the family, and sharing the bond of love and support a marriage brings.


Whatever way you choose to carry out your unity candle ceremony, it’s a lovely way to affirm your connection and bond with your partner as you begin married life together. Talk to your celebrant about the best way to visually represent your ideas!

14 views0 comments


bottom of page