Incorporating a sand ceremony is a great option for just the wedding couple, or as an easy and fun way to incorporate children into the unity ceremony. The idea behind the sand ceremony is that, when poured together, the grains of sand will blend, and they are not easily separated from one another. There are many variations of the sand ceremony, including using colored sand, using sand from meaningful locations or vacation spots, etc. Sometimes, the bottles or vessels used to pour the sand will be labeled, and you can also get a beautiful engraving or etching in glass if you want to customize the container for your sand to have on display, perhaps with a meaningful message.
A beautiful, non-traditional way to commemorate your wedding ceremony is to use Unity in Glass, glass crystals in place of sand during your unity ceremony. After your wedding, you'll then have a beautiful, custom piece of art for your home!
Upon combining your glass crystals, you'll send your combined crystals back to Unity in Glass, where they will then create a custom sculpture, vase or bowl for you. You can even choose the color of the glass crystals used!
The unity candle ceremony is one of the most well-known alternative unity ceremony ideas, and is a very romantic wedding ceremony that offers so many opportunities for you to make it unique and personal to you. In it you can include your family as well, and the lit candles in a dull room will look beautiful.
The couple each has a candle, and there is a third, main one between them. This main candle is lit, perhaps by the father of the bride, (or by all of the couple’s parents at the same time?) and then the couple light their own candles from it. Then the rest of the family can light their candles from it as well.
Alternatively, perhaps the couple could light each other’s candles, and together they light the main one. The merging flames will show their unity and strengthened love and shared lives.
This ceremony is very flexible, so adapt it and use whichever symbolism works best for you—you don’t even need to stick to the traditional unity candles in a candle holder. Make this ceremony even more interesting by using lanterns or small flaming torches! The only downside to this ceremony is if a brisk wind is blowing; it might not work very well outside.
The wine ceremony, again, shows the merging of two into one by two wines being blended into one (possibly red wine and white wine). Then the couple drinks from the shared container. This sharing of a cup is symbolic of togetherness.
Unity Beers or Cocktails
Along the same thought, some couples really love craft beers or custom cocktails! For a non-traditional take on the unity ceremony, consider sharing a drink with your beloved. CHEERS!
For this alternative unity ceremony, the couple write love letters to each other, and these are locked in a box with a bottle of wine and some wine glasses, ready for later in the marriage such as a milestone anniversary. Open it up, share a drink of wine, and read the letters you wrote for each other. Don’t forget to personalize your wine bottle with a lovely personalized label!
Creating an anniversary box during your unity ceremony is a beautiful way to honor the passing of time and your commitment to one another!
A twist on the anniversary box is to open it every year (or every 5 or 10 years) and drink the bottle of wine, read the love letters, and then place a NEW bottle of wine and NEW love letters inside and re-seal it until the next milestone.
BONUS TWIST: Substitute the bottle of wine/champagne for your favorite whiskey or rum!
Incorporating a time capsule or a memory box into your wedding ceremony is a deeply personal way to share your love with one another. Include tokens of love, old love letters, ticket stubs, airline tickets and more. You can also ask guests to leave you marriage advice to read at your 1 year anniversary. The sky is the limit on what you can include! Pick a time or situation in the future that would be ideal for opening the box, such as your 20th anniversary, for example.
If you'd like to incorporate a more religious element to your wedding ceremony, a beautiful unity cross is a lovely departure from the unity candle. There will generally be a decorative cross, and a holder with a cross outline. The decorative cross will then be held in place by 3 pins, symbolizing the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Usually, the bride, groom, and officiant will each place a pin.
One of the most popular flowers-inspired alternative unity ceremony ideas is the Rose Ceremony. Roses are a traditional symbol of love and are therefore perfect to feature in a wedding ceremony. The ceremony can also feature family members the couple wish to take part.
The couple each has a rose, and so does every family member they wish to take part in the ceremony. (Red roses are usually used due to their color symbolism of love, and the family members can have the same color or a different one.) Then the bride and groom swap their roses as a first gift to each other before placing them together into a vase. Then all of the family members add their roses to the mix.
Of course, you don’t have to use roses for your ceremony—use any flower that has a special meaning to you! Perhaps the flowers you use could be evergreen to symbolize your undying love for one another?
This is a lovely way to incorporate your guests AND create some beautiful images of you two surrounded by flowers!
Planting a tree to celebrate a new marriage is an ancient unity ceremony recognized in many cultures throughout the world. It's also an eco-conscious practice that catches the eye of modern-day partners looking for a fresh twist on more traditional wedding ceremonies.
The wonderful thing about a tree-planting ceremony is that there's no set-in-stone way to observe it (and no specific religion is affiliated with it, either), so it can be highly customized according to your theme. The symbolism behind the tree it represents a relationship taking root, growing, and flourishing as you officially become a family. This can be a tree for your yard or a plant of the inside.
One of the oldest of these alternative unity ceremony ideas, and particularly known in Pagan wedding ceremonies, handfasting is the joining of the bride and groom’s hands and wrists using vines, cord, rope, or ribbon tied into a knot. It’s often said that this is where we get the expression “tying the knot” from, and it often takes place at the end of the wedding ceremony as a final promise from one person to the other to bind their lives together. The material should probably be significant to you—for example, a strip of cloth from the dress you wore for your first date with your husband- or wife-to-be, others use colored cords representing fertility, health, etc. And there’s nothing to stop you incorporating jewelry or chains of flowers either. Don’t be afraid to get creative and be unique. Also think carefully about what kind of knot you wish to tie your hands into. Each can carry a different meaning, and so, symbolically, one may suit you and your partner better than the others. Some types of knots include Infinity Knots, Fisherman’s Knots, and Trinity Knots.
If you've always been looking for your "missing puzzle piece", a unity puzzle can be a great way to showcase your love! This is also a great, non-traditional way you can incorporate children into a unity ceremony, with each person's name on a piece of the puzzle. Large-piece, custom wood puzzles work very well for this!
In certain cultures, serving tea is a very meaningful tradition. The tea ceremony represents purity, tranquility, respect and harmony.
The cord of three strands ceremony (often called "God's Knot" or the Unity Braid Ceremony) symbolizes the joining of one man, one woman, and God into a marriage relationship. ... By keeping Him at the center of your marriage, His love will continue to bind you together as one throughout your marriage. From Ecclesiastes 4:12
A more intimate take on the unity ceremony is the ceremonial washing of the hands or feet, symbolizing a "clean slate" and respect for one another. This is another tradition that actually has its roots in Christianity, from John 13:1-7, where Jesus washes his Disciples' feet as a statement of love, humility and service to one another.