lighting the family unity candles at your wedding ceremony

A tradition adapted into most wedding ceremonies is the lighting of the unity candle. This entails usually have two taper candles and one large pillar candle in the middle. The mother’s will light each respective family’s taper candles before the ceremony: the bride’s family on the left and the groom’s family on the right. Then the couple will use those tapers to light their large pillar candle together during the wedding ceremony.

Here are some hints and ideas to consider when lighting the unity candle…

1. fire
BBQ clickers (you know the long clickers that have a safety latch on it for children) should never, ever, ever, EVER be allowed in the church or outside ceremony site. That clicking noise in a church incredibly loud, not to mention, sometimes those are difficult to get started.

Instead, have two votive candles lit (just prior to the ceremony started) and have them on the unity candle stand behind the taper candles. Then place two candle sticks, one for each mother.

When the mothers come up they can simply light their family’s taper candles by using the small candle sticks and the votive candle. Take your time and don’t be nervous and be sure to have the mother’s turn their heads away from the taper candle to blow out the candle sticks.
2. who escorts the mothers?
For our clients who both have parents (on both sides) that have no divorces, we actually suggest for the fathers to escort the mothers (wives) down the aisle to light the candles. It will go like this:

Mother of Groom is escorted by Father of Groom, they walk down the aisle and sit down. (We don’t like them to stand because it takes away from the next parents that enter).

Mother of Bride is escorted by Father of Bride, they walk down the aisle and pause while the Mother of the Groom and Father of the Groom stand to walk all together to the altar.

The Fathers escort the Mother’s to the altar and stand off to the side. What a great photo opportunity!!! All the parents on the altar to light the family candles.

After the candles are lit, the MOG and FOG can go to their seats. The FOB escorts the MOB to her seat and then walks around the side to the back of the church. Because remember: he has to walk the bride down the aisle!!!

Only one time did we have an FOB forget (even though we reminded him just before he walked down the aisle) and sat down with his wife. No problem, his wife gently reminded him that he needed to go back and escort their daughter!!!

Sure this is a little different, but that’s just what we like. Taking a traditional custom and putting a little twist to it!

featured photo credit: jordan barclay photography

plan on!

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5 replies
  1. bethany
    bethany says:

    hi saundra 🙂 i started coordinating weddings for friends in college & continue to do so on the side… and i love weddings– if you dont believe me you can check my google reader. aha… anyway! wanted to thank you for this! i hate hate those lighters but hadn’t really thought of using votives as an alternative. wahoo! thanks!

    Reply
  2. Amanda
    Amanda says:

    Saundra,

    Thanks so much for writing this article (Lighting the Family Unity Candles at your Wedding Ceremony). I will use this in my order of ceremony for my small traditional church wedding using both parents to light the Unity Candle immediately beginning the Wedding Ceremony.

    Reply
  3. Stephaine S
    Stephaine S says:

    Hi, My name is Stephaine. My husband to be and I wanted to do the candle lighting ceremony T our wedding but his parents have passed away and his son will not be attending. Do you have any ideas for us?

    Reply

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