About the unity sand ceremony

What is a sand ceremony?

A sand ceremony is a modern way that couples can personalize their wedding while giving a distinctive edge to their special day.  During a wedding, the unity sand ceremony usually takes place during the ceremony itself – wherever the ceremony occurs – on the beach, in a field of sunflowers, in a church or in the backyard.  The unity sand ceremony replaces a more traditional candle lighting ceremony and takes away the concern of a breeze blowing out the candle.  A little wind?  No problem!  The resulting keepsake vase filled with alternating colors of sand, poured by the bride and groom, provide a visual representation of two lives becoming one as the grains of sand could never be separated from each other.  The sand ceremony set typically includes a clear glass center vase; two pouring vessels and sand, often in colors matching the wedding colors or that have other special significance.   Although most couples perform the sand ceremony during their actual ceremony, there is a trend to do the sand ceremony at the reception.  This is especially popular with family sand ceremonies when children or other family members are involved.  Today, brides are looking for unique ways to distinguish their wedding ceremony and are finding the sand ceremony is both an elegant and inexpensive addition.

In an age where couples are planning weddings that are unique to their beliefs and lifestyle, the sand ceremony can be personalized many different ways to fit the occasion. After the Unity Sand Ceremony, the couple has a unique keepsake to remember their wedding day.


What is the history of the sand ceremony?

Although the unity candle ceremony had appeared before, it was November 16, 1981, when Luke and Laura on the TV soap opera, General Hospital, immortalized the lighting of the unity candle during their televised wedding and captured the heart of the nation. This process includes the bride and the groom holding a lit taper candle and together lighting a single pillar candle signifying their togetherness.

Years later, contemporary lovers, Trista Rehn and Ryan Sutter from the TV show, The Bachelorette, exchanged wedding vows with a televised unity sand ceremony moving the unity sand ceremony into the modern spotlight.

Today couples around the world are adding the sand ceremony to their wedding day and love the resulting custom keepsake that can be displayed in the newlywed’s home as a beautiful reminder of their wedding day.


Why is the sand ceremony at the top of the wedding trend list?

A sand ceremony is a contemporary display of unity and combines the best of the traditional and the modern. It’s a fresh idea!  After the sand ceremony, the couple has a unique keepsake to remember their wedding day.  Depending on the vase set selected, the completed sand ceremony can take on a modern or more traditional decorator feel in the home.  Not only is a sand ceremony an elegant addition to a wedding, when compared to other wedding expenses, it’s very reasonable.  Including glassware and colored sand in the wedding colors, costs can start as low as $40.  Of course, there are many options for personalization on the center vase which makes a lasting statement.


How does a sand ceremony work?

In the unity sand ceremony, the bride and groom each choose a color that signifies each other as individuals.  Often the colors selected will match the wedding colors, theme or have some sort of special significance. 

The bride and groom will alternately pour their colored sand into a keepsake vase or vessel.  This can occur in conjunction to special vows during the ceremony.  Second marriages can include existing children, which truly signifies the blending together of families.  In addition, including parents in the ceremony is now coming back in vogue as a way to honor family history. 

The sand ceremony usually starts with the groom pouring a portion of his sand into the center vase to create the first layer.  As well, some couples have incorporated their officiate into the ceremony by having them pour the first layer of colored sand, often white, to signify their beliefs.  Next, the bride will follow by pouring a portion of her sand into the center vase to create the next layer.  The groom then adds another layer followed by the bride.  It’s a good idea to discuss how many layers will be added and will depend on the size of the central vase.  As a finale, bride and grooms may decide to seal their wedding by pouring their remaining sand together into the central vase representing the couple truly becoming one.

There are variations to the sand ceremony.  For blended families, children are often included in the sand ceremony, each having their own sand color and taking turns adding their sand to the central vase.  There are also vase sets specific to multiple family members participating.  The individual pouring vessels can be used as vases for fresh or dried flowers and arranged around the central vase of sand as a reminder of the special day your blended family became one.


What else can I do with colored sand to enhance my wedding?

The colored sand that is used for the wedding sand ceremony can also be used as a decorative accent on reception tables or on the buffet, creating a unifying look.  Resting candles in matching sand as centerpieces on each reception table creates a romantic glow and really pulls everything together.  The wedding favors display can also nest on colored sand.  Fun!  Anywhere you might use pebbles – flower vases, centerpiece design, gift table or guestbook/frame signing station - consider incorporating colored sand to match the wedding colors.  The opportunities to decorate with colored sand at the reception are endless!


What do I need for my own sand ceremony?

One of the most important considerations for your sand ceremony is the vase set as this is what will be displayed in your home for years to come.   Because there are so many options for unity sand ceremony glassware, consider your own personal style when making your selection.  When choosing your central vase, it’s recommended that it will hold at least two pounds of sand for a layering effect.  A large central vase can make a stunning decorator piece and works very well when multiple family members are participating.  If you do choose a larger central vase, it does not have to be filled all the way to the top.  Often, silk flowers or other sentimental items can be rested on the top layer of sand as a personal display.  It’s important to have an idea of how much sand will be needed for your central vase BEFORE your ceremony!  If the sand ceremony will occur during a destination wedding and will need to travel back by plane or car, consider selecting a central vase with a lid.  To keep the sand design intact, bring along cotton balls and tape.  After the ceremony, carefully insert a good amount of cotton balls between the top layer and the lid.  Make sure the cotton balls are very snug.  Tape the lid to the vase and you are ready to go!  Another option for traveling is the new trend of the unity sand ceremony frame.  Whatever option is chosen, couples can be assured that adding a wedding sand ceremony will make their wedding day as unique as they are!


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