Hand Fasting

The handfasting ceremony dates back to the time of the ancient Celts.  It was used to acknowledge the beginning of a trial period of a year and a day during which time a couple were literally bound together.  It was however a temporary agreement which could be made permanent, after the trial period, if both parties agreed.

You may wish to incorporate a handfasting into your wedding ceremony.  The handfasting ceremony symbolises your commitment to each other in marriage and is usually placed after the vows and ring exchange.  Ribbons or cords are used for tying your wrists.

Blue: for a safe journey and longevity
Light Blue: for understanding and patience
Pink: for romance, honour, partnership and happiness
Green: for health, prosperity, luck, beauty and fertility
Red: for courage, strength and passion
Yellow: for wisdom and harmony
Brown: for healing animals and the home
Silver: for creativity and protection
Gold: for unity, prosperity and longevity
White: for peace, sincerity and devotion

Candle Lighting Ceremonies

Unity Candle Ceremony

The unity candle symbolises the very essence of the wedding ceremony. Two taper candles, representing the couple as individuals, are used to light a single centre candle as a visible symbol of their commitment to each other. Then each year on your anniversary you can re-light the candle to remember and renew the vows you have taken.

There are many variations on the ceremony.  Here are some ideas to help you as you plan your ceremony.

Before the ceremony begins, place the unity candle and two small candles on a small table near the altar.  To prepare for the ceremony, it is a good idea to light the wicks for a moment. 

There are several popular options for lighting your taper candles. You can light the tapers yourselves with or without your bridal party or you may wish to have your parents come forward to light the side tapers as a symbol of your two families coming together as one.  
A sample of words that may be said by friend, family or the celebrant

“The flame has traditionally been thought of as a symbol of the spirit. (name) and (name), you have learned much in your individual lives. Your family and friends, many of whom are here with you today, have all been a part of your individual lives, and have shared with you your hopes, your dreams, your triumphs and your sufferings. But there is a special way you are together.  That special love you feel for one another has continued to grow, bringing you to this moment, when you are committing your love to one another and building a life together. Just as the flame you are about to light is not created solely by either candle, so too is your love not the sole possession or creation of either of you. As a symbol of the spirit of love that has grown between you, I would like to ask you to light the Unity Candle at this time.”
Or if the tapers are lit before the ceremony begins

“As (name) and (name) together light the centre candle, they will extinguish their own candles, thus letting the centre candle symbolise the union of their lives.  As this one light cannot be divided, neither will their lives be divided.”

Or if you'd prefer to leave your tapers lit …

“(Name) and (name) come into this marriage as individuals and they do not lose their identity,  rather they use their individuality to create and strengthen the relationship of marriage. Therefore, the three candles remain lit, one for each of them and one for their marriage.”


“The Unity Candle symbolises the new family you are now forming from your past lives. The flames you light it with both burn brighter when joined together. Now you both are charged with keeping this flame bright for the rest of your days. It is a symbol of your commitment to each other and to a lasting and loving marriage.”

Lighting of the Family Candles (including children)

“This celebration is also an affirmation of the family union, with this marriage a new family is born.  It is in that spirit that  (name) and (name)  will now invite (child or children) to come up with them to light the unity candle.
“This will symbolise the birth of their new family.  With this marriage, (name) and (name) and (child or children) have confirmed their bond of family commitment has grown and deepened over the past (number of) years.”

“As  (name) and (name) light this candle, let it represent the unity of  their life together from this moment on.  As this one light cannot be divided, neither shall their marriage or lives be divided.  May the radiance of this one light be a testimony of their unity.”

Lighting a candle in remembrance
Memorial candle lighting ceremonies have become a popular way to remember the deceased or persons who could not be present. It is fairly easy to hold a memorial candle lighting ceremony, and the best thing is there is no right or wrong way to go about it - you can personalise the ceremony as much as you would like.
A sample of words that may be said by friend, family or the celebrant

“Take a moment if you will, to allow yourselves to truly partake of all the love and joy that is this day. Love is that which all of the true bonds in life are made of.  Remember now, the loved ones, who could not be with us today. See them sitting among us in their rightful places, beaming with pride, rejoicing for that which (bride) and (groom) have found in each other, sharing in the love and joy that is this day, secure in the knowledge that they are all loved and remembered.”

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