The Unity Candle is a traditional wedding event. During a Unity Candle wedding ceremony, the mothers of the bride and groom light candles to the side of the unity (centre) candle which represents the separate lives, families and experiences before the wedding day. After the exchange of vows, but before the exchange of rings, the bride and groom take each side candle and light the unity candle together, uniting the families and experiences into one.
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 — handfasted. These days, the handfasting ceremony is only used symbolically, as marriage according to the law in Australia is a lifetime commitment.
Three decorative glass vases are selected. One colour of sand is placed into one vase and a second colour into another vase, designed to represent the Bride and Groom. At the appropriate point in the service, the Groom pours a portion of his sand into the third vase. The Bride then pours a portion of her sand in on top. To conclude, the Bride and the Groom jointly pour the remaining sand in each of their respective vases into the central vase. The mingling of the coloured sand is a demonstration of two into one.
The wine ceremony symbolises the blending of two lives into one. The glass of wine is symbolic of the cup of life. The drinking of the combined wine signifies the commitment the couple makes to live their lives as one family.