The unity sand ceremony is a contemporary alternative to the unity candle ceremony. Instead of lighting a candle, the couple pours different colors of sand into a unity vase. It’s a beautiful representation of union, which couples can keep long after the wedding.


What’s the history?

Some believe the history of the unity sand ceremony lies within the Native American culture, but little is known of the ceremony and its significance in the culture.

The sand ceremony as we know it today is a fairly new concept, which has made its way to television twice. In 1981, the unity sand ceremony was used on an episode of the soap opera, General Hospital. In 2003, Trista Rehn and Ryan Sutter from the hit reality show, The Bachelor, used the unity sand ceremony in their $4 million wedding broadcast live for fans everywhere. Since then, the unity sand ceremony has really taken off!


How does it work?

The ceremony includes one large vase (the unity vase) and two smaller vases. It also includes one sand color for the officiant (usually white or ivory to represent your faith), one color for the bride and one color for the groom. Children from previous marriages or relationship may also have a sand color to symbolize the blending of families.

The officiant will pour his/her sand into the unity vase first, to represent a foundation of faith. Then the bride and groom will pour their sand into the unity vase at the same time. (Note: if you pour exactly at the same time, your sand will become one big mixture rather than the pretty layers you see in photos. We suggest each person taking short turns to create the layered look.)


Is it right for your wedding?

One of the best things about the unity sand ceremony is that it becomes a lasting keepsake, a constant reminder of your lives and love combined. Many couples choose this ceremony so they will have a meaningful keepsake of their special day.

The unity sand ceremony is also a great way to symbolize the blending of families. Children are able to join in the ceremony, which is important to many couples.

Sand ceremonies are also a great option for outdoor weddings and destination weddings. It fits well with natural themes and tropical locals, plus the couple doesn’t have to worry about the wind like they would with the unity candle ceremony.


It’s not for everyone…

Many couples prefer the traditional unity candle ceremony, and for good reason. The symbolic gesture of lighting a candle together is timeless. Whatever you decide, make sure the ceremony you choose best represents the love you share.