The Unity Sand Ceremony is a newer wedding tradition typically used as an alternative to the Unity Candle Ceremony. Like the Unity Candle, the Unity Sand Ceremony represents the unification of two distinct families. The different colours represent the individual lives of the bride and groom, combined into a single sand ceremony container. The layers of colour show that both the bride and groom have retained their unique identities and personalities. It is virtually impossible to define the exact point where one layer ends and the next begins.
Unlike the Unity Candle, the Unity Sands are used to symbolize an indivisible union because once merged, the separately coloured grains of sand can never be separated.
This is a strong and beautiful representation of
the “Two becoming One “and “your future life together as one”.
The Unity Sand Ceremony Process
The sand ceremony, in its simplest form, features two glass containers that are each filled with a different colour of sand and placed on either side of a larger glass container. The container can be empty or filled with a base layer of neutral-coloured sand.
The fact that there’s nearly no limit to the number of colours that can be used makes wedding sand ceremonies a unique and easy way for couples to broaden their celebration to be about more than just them.
Two colours can be used to represent the bride & groom while a third colour (usually neutral) represents the foundation layer that the marriage is built on and the faith that the couple shares. This layer can be poured by the priest/officiant, parents or even grandparents representing their support and love. If it is a small intimate wedding, each guest could even add to the foundation sand.
The Unity Sand Ceremony has become increasingly popular among couples with children. During these blended family weddings the children of the bride and groom are invited to the altar; each child adds his or her own layer of coloured sand to the container, turning the vase into a symbol of two families coming together as one.
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Create Your Own Look and Style for Your Sand Ceremony
There are no formal rituals or steps to follow for holding a sand unity ceremony of your own. They are performed at weddings in many faiths but the wedding sand ceremonies are not a traditional part of any major religion.
The colours of the sand, for example, are left up to the bride and groom. You may choose colours to coordinate with your wedding colours, to coordinate with the décor of your home, pink & blue or whatever colours have meaning to you. You can use a neutral colour to form the foundation layer and you can use a colour to represent each child in the family if this is a second marriage for a family unity ceremony. If you are having a beach wedding you can personalise your sand ceremony even more by placing some sand from the beach in the bottom of your large container before the ceremony.
There is also no standard size or shape for the containers or decorations that are used.
There are no rules about when during the wedding the sand ceremony should be held. It can be held as an introduction to the vows. The sand ceremony can be part of the vows themselves, where the bride and groom pour additional sand after each pledge or can be held immediately after the bride and groom speak their vows.
Regardless of who pours the sand or when it is poured, sand ceremonies are an increasingly popular alternative to unity candles, particularly at beach and outdoor weddings where wind can be a significant factor. Sand ceremonies are often unique to each wedding and the sealed container or Unity Vase – becomes a colourful keepsake that serves as a powerful reminder of the couple’s wedding day.