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Wedding Sand Ceremony:  A Beautiful Alternative to the Unity Candle
By:  Karen Sullen

"And the two shall become one."  For years, this familiar passage of scripture has been symbolized by the lighting of the unity candles.  Traditionally, the parents each light an individual candle representing the bride's and the groom's families.  The couple then uses those candles to light one larger candle, signifying the joining of their families as one.  In the same spirit of unity, sand ceremonies are increasing in popularity as couples seek new ways to express their union. 

What is a sand ceremony?
Sand ceremonies use the blending of sand to demonstrate the unity of marriage.  Alternating colors, the couple recites their personal vows of commitment as they seal each line with the pouring of sand, lovingly layered on top of the other, creating a beautify display of the sanctity and unification of marriage.  Displayed in the home after the wedding, the sand ceremony set, including two pouring vases and keepsake unity vase containing the blended sand, becomes a romantic reminder of the love and commitment shared on their wedding day. 

Why say it with sand?
Sand has many attributes that make it a perfect symbol of love and unity.  Grains of sand are beyond measure and timeless, just like the couple's love.  As the sand from one jar is poured into another, they become indistinguishable-forever together as one.  They have come together and can never be separated, demonstrating the couple's lasting love that will remain until the end of time.  It also represents the blending of oneself with the other.  The sharing of ideas, goals and personalities occurs as each one pours into the other.  

When is a sand ceremony appropriate?
Sand ceremonies are appropriate for all types of weddings.  They can be performed during the wedding, after the ceremony is over or at the reception.  However, they are particularly effective at beach or island destination weddings.  Lit candles don't always work well on a windy beach.  With a sand ceremony, you won't have to worry about the candles blowing out or over, and you'll have a breathtaking reminder of your ceremony.  Imagine the impact of scooping sand with sea shells from beneath your feet and using it to symbolize your love.  Using sand-themed wedding favors, like a sand-and-seashell tea light favor, would be an excellent way for guests to remember the day, as well.  Sand ceremonies also work well for interfaith weddings and eco-friendly ceremonies.  Using a natural resource, like sand, is symbolic of the earth and gives an opportunity to spread a message of conservation.  For married couples, sand ceremonies are a nice alternative when renewing their vows. 

Blending sand for blended families?
In today's world, it's not uncommon for either the bride or groom to have children.  One unique thing about a sand ceremony is that other family members are welcome to participate.  Creating a vivid display of family unity, each child can have their own pouring vase of colored sand to be blended into the keepsake vase during the ceremony.  Even parents can participate by pouring sand into the unity vase, just as they would light one of the unity candles.
 
An alternative to the unity candle, sand ceremonies are a beautiful way for couples to say, "You are my love for eternity.  Our hearts are blended like these grains of sand.  I am yours.  You are mine.  We are together forever.  We are one."