There are a couple of ways I’ve seen unity candle ceremonies done, and I wanted to share them.
One of the first things to figure out is whether or not you have your backs to your friends and family.
(below) For Alison and Chris (3 March 2007), the decision was simple. The chapel was very intimate and it was much easier for Alison (and her dress!) for them to light the unity candle from the front. Be sure to keep in mind the space available to you as well as your wedding-day attire.
Another thing that Alison and Chris did that worked with their limited ability to move around a lot, was the placement of the candle. Alison and Chris had their unity candle set off to the side, instead of in the center of the alter behind the pastor.
(below) Alicia and Matt (29 December 2007) lit their unity candle and also signed their wedding certificate while facing their friends and relatives. The bride may need some help from the groom in this situation, depending on the length of her train.
(below) Jaimee and Ken (21 June 2008) had their unity candle on the alter and there wasn’t the option of going behind. The alter area didn’t really accommodate having the unity candle elsewhere.
Some other things to consider when deciding where and how to light the unity candle:
-if you are planning to have music during the lighting, and you don’t plan to have any other activities during the song (such as giving roses to parents, etc.), you may wish to face your friends and family, and stay where you are behind the candle for a minute or two, since they will be looking at you during that time. I always think it’s sweet when couples take this minute or two to chat or just stare at each other!
-just like everything on your wedding day (except maybe vows and signing the marriage certificate) whether or not to do a unity candle ceremony can be a decision, not just a given. One thing you might want to think about when making that decision is to research the tradition and history of lighting a unity candle and see if it’s something that fits your personalities and relationship.
-of course, if location rules dictate, or you want to do something different, there are several alternatives to a traditional unity candle ceremony. But that’s for another blog entry.