This joining ritual is quite popular tradition at Catholic weddings, but its significance is universal: the joining of the couple as a new family, as well as the merging of their two original families. Usually the officiant will explain the unity candle’s meaning – the following is an example:
_____ and _____, the two separate candles symbolize your separate lives. I ask that each of you take one of the lit candles and that together you light the center candle.
The individual candles represent your lives before today. Lighting the center candle represents that your two lives are now joined to one light, and represents the joining together of your two lives and families to one.
After the candle is lit, your officiant or an honored friend or family member may recite a blessing, such as the following:
May the blessing of light
Be with you always,
Light without and light within.
And may the sun shine
Upon you and warm your heart
Until it glows
Like a great fire
So that others may feel
The warmth of your love
For one another.
Candle Ceremony (Wiccan)
The words of this Wiccan candle ceremony focus on the couple’s union in marriage. However, this candle ceremony focuses less on two families uniting (as a unity candle ceremony does) than on two individuals coming together, yet remaining independent. Interfaith or nondenominational couples could certainly include it in their ceremony.
The priestess asks the bride and groom to each light a candle. Another candle stands unlit.
These two candles are yourselves. Each of you is a whole and complete human being. _____, speak to us of who you are. (Groom describes himself.) _____, speak to us of who you are. (Bride describes herself.)
Together, light the third candle, but extinguish not the first two. For in marriage you do not lose yourself; you add something new, a relationship, the capacity to merge into one another without losing sight of your individual self. Together, speak to us of who you are as a couple. (Bride and groom alternate speaking.)
Candle Ceremony (Nondenominational)
Now, we’re going to engage in a ceremony of spiritual symbolism. Ancient sages tell us that for each of us, there is a candle, a symbol of our own inner light, but that no one can kindle his or her own candle. Each of us needs someone else to kindle it for us. When two people fall in love, they kindle each other’s candles, creating great light and joy and glorious expectations.
________ and _______, I’d like you to remember when it was in your relationship that you first realized you were truly in love and wanted to spend the rest of your lives together. And holding that thought…. ______, take this candle (groom picks up candle), symbol of the inner light in _______. Light it by the eternal light, with the dedication to rekindle it again and again, whenever necessary. And ______, take this candle (bride picks up candle), symbol of the inner light in _______. Light it by the eternal light, with the dedication to rekindle it again and again, whenever necessary.
With these candles, we can see how to achieve a beautiful marriage. In your marriage, you will try to bring these lights, the symbols of yourselves, closer and closer to each other, until they become one (bride and groom join their flames and hold them together) — one great torch of light, a radiant symbol of love, joy, peace, and harmony. This is the mystery of the union two becoming one.
Yet, it is vitally important to remember that there are always really two (bride and groom divide their flames) in a marriage, each with his or her own desires, yearnings, dreams, and wishes. And these must be respected and responded to with great love, with great compassion, and with genuine tenderness.
We know that it is the prayer of your beloved, as it is the prayer of each of us here, that you will continuously light these candles of love, so that there will always be light and joy, peace and harmony in your hearts and in your home (bride and groom set candles down).
Please kiss each other.