Candles provide a little extra loving ambience at your wedding, with their warm glow filling the atmosphere. Whether for an evening reception or the wedding service itself, candles can provide a natural and effortless addition to the wedding atmosphere. There’s a role for candles during your wedding ceremony, at your reception and even as a part of your floral displays.
A recently adopted tradition is the tall, thick white unity candle used in many wedding ceremonies. Standing in the centre of a candleholder with a taper on either side it awaits the joining together of the happy couple. During the ceremony the couple each takes a taper and light the candle together, creating a much stronger flame and symbolising their stronger unity by marriage. The unity candle burns from the lighting of two individual candles - thus symbolizing marriage itself, where two become one.
There are a growing number of couples adopting the unity candle as a part of their wedding service. Although many think that the unity candle has a rich history steeped in religious tradition, this isn’t the case. The exact evolution of the unity candle is a little vague, but it only began about thirty or forty years ago, back in the 1960s. This fairly recently adopted custom has found it’s way into modern day marriage ceremonies as a result of the ever-lively 60s generation.
Try your own science experiment to test the idea of a unity candle (but please be careful of the safety of the place where you test this!). Light two tapers (or tapered candles) and note the brilliance and the height of each of the two flames. Then, bring these flames together to burn as one single flame. The united flame is taller, stronger and brighter than each of the two flames burning individually. This is the concept of the unity candle, for the couple to be a single unit, stronger and brighter than the sum of it’s individual parts.
Variations on the use of unity candles have evolved beyond the traditional wedding ceremony. On occasions, the bride and groom’s parents have lit the candle together. If the wedding is between two people who have their own children, the children may light the unity candle as a symbol of the new collective unity. You may wish to arrange for the wedding photographer to capture the moment, as you may be unlikely to find such sibling unity and cooperation again!
If your wedding venue doesn’t allow for lighting a unity candle during the ceremony, then you could consider doing this at your reception prior to the toasts and speeches being given. In fact, it is an ideal way of starting the speeches at your wedding reception.
Candles can easily become an integral part of your wedding floral displays. They add warmth to any sterile reception hall or to the paths leading to your ceremony or reception location. If incorporating into your floral displays, make your choice of candles first, then select the flowers to compliment them. If the candle becomes the focal point of your floral display then the cost of the floral decoration to surround them should be lower.
You could use candles in place of many items that normally would have a floral display. A single sculptured candle by the guest book for example. Table centrepieces may be better served by a floating candle display on each of your reception tables. They are low enough to allow conversations to take place amongst your guests with them having the necessity of talking through, or around, flowers.
There is a huge range of candle shapes and colours to choose from. You can easily work the candles into your chosen wedding colour scheme. You don’t need to limit your displays to unadorned candles, ribbons make a nice accent to simple candles. For a less formal wedding select elegant candles in a colour to match your theme and for the more formal setting consider a sculptured or marble-effect candle.
A candle always makes a nice gift, one to be saved and reminisced over. You could consider selecting a candle as a wedding favour. A small candle, beautifully wrapped, will make a great wedding favour gift that your guests will be pleased to display at home as something to remember your wedding day.
However you choose to add candles to your wedding, their warm flame will add to the ambiance and memories of the happy couple’s glowing moment. Your family, friends and guests will be amazed by the beauty.
Based on information from M J Plaster, who provides information on shopping online for unity & wedding candles.