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Unity Sand Ceremony

Discovering the Wedding Sand Ceremony

While the unity candle ceremony has been a largely popular wedding ceremony tradition for decades as an act that displays the couples bounded unity through a ceremonial candle lighting; today another wedding ceremony ritual has gained immense acclaim, this is the wedding sand ceremony.

What is a Sand Ceremony

It is often referred to as a unity or wedding sand ceremony in the wedding industry. The wedding sand ceremony completes the same intended purpose of the unity candle ceremony in that it is representative of the combination of the couple’s lives into one mutually loving union. The sand ceremony utilizes colored sand, with bride and groom choosing individual colors to represent them. The bride and groom’s individual sand is held in a separate pouring vase, and will remain in these vases until the wedding sand ceremony commences. The couple may choose to say some special words to each other or wish to have the officiant read a meaningful passage prior to initiating the pouring of sand from their respective vases. A larger vase is the vessel for the bride and groom’s wedding sand wherein the couple takes turns pouring their sand signifying their lifelong intertwined bond. A couple may decide to retain a small amount of sand in their individual vases to show that while they are united as one they are still individuals.

History of the Sand Ceremony

Today wedding sand ceremonies are becoming more and more common every day, especially since the 2003 televised wedding of ‘The Bachelorette’ alum Trista Rehn to her beau Ryan Sutter. The origins of the wedding sand ceremony are slightly ambiguous. The two main ideas for origin come from the Native American’s and Hawaiian’s.

The story behind the Hawaiian origin is that as a tradition Hawaiian couples who were entering into a committed union with each other would scoop sand from the beach and combine their individual handfuls into a container to symbolize the joining together of their lives.

The Native American’s are also purported to have carried out a sand ceremony unique to them. Though little is known about the possible Native American origins, it is said that sand from the earth was used to symbolize the bond between two people blending their lives in unification.

Who is Involved

One thing that sets the wedding sand ceremony distinctively apart from a unity candle ceremony is that the bride and groom can choose to include as many other individuals in the ceremony as they see fit. Traditionally, the wedding sand ceremony involves just the bride and the groom; though the officiant is sometimes presented with their own colored sand and asked to participate in the pouring. This is done to show that the officiant was an integral part in solidifying the couples union.

If the bride and groom are uniting as a blended family with either one or both having children, it is common for the children to take part in the wedding sand ceremony as well. This creates an inclusive quality that genuinely displays the joining of a new and interconnected family unit.

Beyond this a couple may decide to have other close family members, such as parents, participate in the sand ceremony. Those who are closest to us help make us who we are so it makes sense to wish to include them in such a monumental ceremony. These additional individuals would be allotted their own colored sand and would joyously join in the layered pouring of wedding sand into the couple’s unity keepsake vase.

When the Sand Ceremony should be Performed

The wedding sand ceremony typically takes a few minutes to perform, and is usually carried out either before or after the bride and groom exchange their vows. The preference of whether or not to perform the sand ceremony before their marriage is actually finalized is up to the discretion of the couple. They may also wish to consult the officiant to gather their opinion on what would flow best for their nuptials.

Though, it should also be noted that a wedding sand ceremony does not always have to take place at the wedding ceremony itself. The sand ceremony can be and many times has been performed at the wedding reception that follows the bride and groom’s nuptials. The benefit of holding off until the reception is that it makes it easier to perform the ceremony if there are additional people involved, like children, parents, grandparents, and siblings, among others. Once the reception rolls around guests are relaxed and more readily attentive to a larger wedding sand ceremony. In this case an officiant does not need to be there to perform the sand ceremony as the couple themselves or anybody else that they appoint can speak a few meaningful words either prior to or during the pouring of sand into the vase.

What Becomes of the Sand Vase after the Ceremony?

While there is more than one vase utilized in the wedding sand ceremony, the one that holds the combined grains of sand that signifies the united togetherness of the couple is the most important vase of all. The individual pouring vases can be kept and used for other purposes in the bride and groom’s home, the main keepsake vase is there for the couple to cherish the memory of their wedding bond for years to come. Usually this vessel will become a focal decorative item within the couple’s home and may turn out to be quite a discussion piece for visiting guests if it is prominently displayed. This ability to have a tangible memory is what makes the wedding sand ceremony so unique in comparison to the unity candle ceremony and why many couples are opting for this modern twist on symbolic unity ceremonies.