Beyond the Sand Ceremony:
Personalize Your Unity Ceremony

personalize-your-sand-ceremonyThe unity sand ceremony has become a popular way for couples to symbolize joining together during their wedding ceremony. Prior to sand, the unity candle ceremony was one of the primary ways couples demonstrated unity during their wedding ceremony.

As a wedding officiant, I enjoy it when we create a unity ceremony that reflects the personality of the couple. It also is a great way to include children when families are blending.

How do you create a unique unity ceremony?

First think about the kind of things you love to do together. Or reflect on ways to bring your heritage or personality together symbolically. Do you both hike or snowboard? Go to movies? Dine out? Play video games? Build trains? Ride motorcycles? Build Lego structures?

Once you’ve written down some of the things you like to do and who you are as a couple, start thinking about ways to make them into a ceremony of unity.

Here are some ideas for your unity ceremony:

If you hike, collect a few small rocks or sand from your favorite locations (if allowed by law) and each of you place them in a vase or rock garden. Or pick up a leaf and, during your ceremony, place it between glass to make framed art.

If you snowboard or ski, each of you bring a pin or memento from your favorite ski location and enclose it in a small acrylic or glass box. Or build a snowman out of accessories from the craft store to have an everlasting holiday decoration.

If movies are your favorite activity, find something representative of your favorite movie. For me, I love the movie Somewhere in Time. In that movie, the main character travels in time, but when he finds a modern day penny in his pocket, he is sent back to real time. So I might put a penny in the small frame.

Or from the movie Serendipity, the female character writes her phone number in the book Love in the Time of Cholera. Perhaps find a copy of the book and add that to the collection. These items can be placed into a memory box to reflect each person’s favorite movie.

When you are a couple that dines out, perhaps bring your favorite wine or champagne and each pour a glass of wine. Take a sip of your own wine to show individuality and then pour wine into a shared glass and drink from that to show togetherness. (If your Scottish, the Quaich is a two-handled Scottish drinking cup that you can use to pour wine into before drinking.)

Perhaps Legos are your family activity. Ask the children to build a special Lego structure and during the unity ceremony, each of you add one final piece to the structure. Or make your own Lego minifigure person and add it to the Lego sculpture.

If you collect trains, set up a small track and each person select a train car to add to the track.

Ride motorcycles? Find a gremlin bell (used to protect your bike and your rides from “evil road spirits”) that reflects your personality. Ring the bells during this ceremony, then exchange them and put them on your bike. Or, lock them in an acrylic box and place them on the mantle.

And…there are so many more possibilities!

Truly, a fabulous ceremony can be written around almost anything that reflects where your personalities come together. It may take some time to think of it, but these personalized ceremonies can bring intense meaning and provide enchanting keepsakes after the ceremony ends.

Use your imagination! Ask your celebrant to help you write a ceremony that defines why this ceremony demonstrates your unity.

Jackie Phillips is a wedding officiant in the Lake Tahoe area of the Nevada and California border. She writes weddings, unity ceremonies and vows for couples, whether or not she officiates their ceremony! In addition, she officiates ceremonies in Lake Tahoe and the surrounding areas. More details at