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Ceremony and Vow Ideas

Reverse unity candle ceremony

Has anyone ever seen this done? Did it work? Any issues?

For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, it is a unity ceremony that would occur near the end of the ceremony. Every guest would have their own small candle. The bride and groom would each take their unity candles and light each guest's candle sitting on the edge of the row. Then each guest lights the persons candle next to them, resulting in a whole room lit up with candle light. The reception is occurring immediately after in the same room so the guests would just take the candles to their tables. 

I love the idea of this because 1) involving everyone in the ceremony since everyone is very close to us and have been a part of our relationship so far and 2) pretty pictures (I'll admit it) since it'll be dusk. 

Do you see any huge issues? Do you hate the idea? Think it's a nice way to involve everyone? We haven't decided if we are going to do it or not so I'm trying to come up with pros/cons.  
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Re: Reverse unity candle ceremony

  • edited July 2016
    Well they'd be sitting. It would be no more fire than a candle lit church ceremony (as happens at a Christmas Eve service for example). But your point is noted. I'd have to take a close look at whatever candles are used if we decide to do this. 

    And yes, part of my interest in this are the photos. But there is meaning. The meaning behind it is that the couple of part of the larger community (the guests) and these guests support their relationship. And personally, I love the fact that as a guest, you are showing support and love for the couple getting married (that's my view whenever I'm a guest anyways).  
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    It would freak me out a little as a guest to be sitting amongst candles and passing fire to each other.
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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    lizybeff
  • Ironring said:
    Well they'd be sitting. It would be no more fire than a candle lit church ceremony (as happens at a Christmas Eve service for example). But your point is noted. I'd have to take a close look at whatever candles are used if we decide to do this. 

    And yes, part of my interest in this are the photos. But there is meaning. The meaning behind it is that the couple of part of the larger community (the guests) and these guests support their relationship. And personally, I love the fact that as a guest, you are showing support and love for the couple getting married (that's my view whenever I'm a guest anyways).  
    You said they were taking the candles to their seats at the reception. That's why I thought fire might be an issue. 

    How does holding a candle show love and support? It's completely meaningless. It's just something you made up for the pretty. We use candles at Christmas to spread the light of Christ. 
    InLoveInQueensOliveOilsMom
  • edited July 2016
    Ok, thanks for the feedback. Like I said, we are still discussing it. 

    @STARMOON44 I didn't make it up. This comes up as a unity ceremony idea when you search for different ones. 

    ETA: when you search online. That's where I got the idea from. 
  • jacques27jacques27 member
    Knottie Warrior 500 Love Its 1000 Comments 5 Answers
    edited July 2016
    So, since you say it will be dusk - is your wedding outdoors?  Because then you have wind and fire hazards if it's been particularly dry.  Otherwise, presumably your venue has electricity and lights so I'm not sure it actually will achieve what you're hoping for picture-wise.

    Personally, I would not feel comfortable handling a candle long enough that I have to wait for an entire room to light up, people to be dismissed from rows, and then bring it to my table - all while likely wearing heels and a very nice dress and carrying my purse, possibly a sweater or shawl, and possibly your wedding program.  Will there be children around?  I'm not sure I'd be comfortable with that many open flames and children underfoot.  Does your venue allow open flames?  Many venues don't allow open flames and many of those that do allow real candles require them to be contained in a votive or hurricane candle holder.

    I guess I'm not sure what more support you're looking for from people.  They are taking time out of their day to witness you exchange vows - presumably they wouldn't be there if they didn't support you.  How much more supportive and involved do they need to be?
    InLoveInQueenscowgirl8238SP29OliveOilsMom
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited July 2016
    For most Christians, this is evocative of Christmas Eve and singing "Silent Night".  I have never heard of it being done at a wedding, and I think many of your guests would think, "What?"
    Ever scraped candle wax off carpet and upholstery?  Not fun.  Check with your venue.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    MobKaz
  • @jacques27 its indoors with large windows but much of our lighting will be dimmer, candles, twinkle lights, etc. I'd make sure the candles met the venues open flame requirements. I guess I was envisioning they would blow the candles out between the end of the ceremony and bringing the candles to the table so there wouldn't be a ton of people walking around with lit candles. 

    Below is a photo when you google this idea, but sigh, it doesn't sound like any other people think this is a good idea. It'll likely get scrapped. Thanks. 


  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Ironring said:
    @jacques27 its indoors with large windows but much of our lighting will be dimmer, candles, twinkle lights, etc. I'd make sure the candles met the venues open flame requirements. I guess I was envisioning they would blow the candles out between the end of the ceremony and bringing the candles to the table so there wouldn't be a ton of people walking around with lit candles. 

    Below is a photo when you google this idea, but sigh, it doesn't sound like any other people think this is a good idea. It'll likely get scrapped. Thanks. 


    I know you probably don't want to hear this...but I just got a mental image of everyone blowing out their candles at the same time and the collective smoke setting off the fire alarm and sprinklers.  It was a hilarious mental image, but probably not what you want at your wedding.  


    image
    InLoveInQueensGreenjinjo redoryxOliveOilsMom
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited July 2016
    levioosa said:
    Ironring said:
    @jacques27 its indoors with large windows but much of our lighting will be dimmer, candles, twinkle lights, etc. I'd make sure the candles met the venues open flame requirements. I guess I was envisioning they would blow the candles out between the end of the ceremony and bringing the candles to the table so there wouldn't be a ton of people walking around with lit candles. 

    Below is a photo when you google this idea, but sigh, it doesn't sound like any other people think this is a good idea. It'll likely get scrapped. Thanks. 


    I know you probably don't want to hear this...but I just got a mental image of everyone blowing out their candles at the same time and the collective smoke setting off the fire alarm and sprinklers.  It was a hilarious mental image, but probably not what you want at your wedding.  
    This isn't a problem.  We do it every Christmas Eve in our church, which is packed with people.  Dripping wax is the big problem.
    The candle lighting service symbolizes the light of Jesus spreading, from his birth in Bethleham, to  throughout the world.  I can't see the symbolism at a wedding, unless you plan on being missionaries.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • My take on things that are done just for pictures is that your guests know they are just for pictures. For a minute it's ok then everyone wonders why they're standing around holding something instead of going to a cocktail hour, dancing, or listening to the cows/ceremony/reading that does actually mean something. 

    Maybe ive held too many sparklers around a couple who saw a cute picture on Pinterest, but I'd skip it unless you have a real meaning behind it. 
    InLoveInQueenscowgirl8238Knottie1452098987
  • I'd think it was just for pictures. My presence at a wedding should be all that's necessary to show that I support the marriage.
    InLoveInQueenssparklepants41
  • Ironring said:
    @jacques27 its indoors with large windows but much of our lighting will be dimmer, candles, twinkle lights, etc. I'd make sure the candles met the venues open flame requirements. I guess I was envisioning they would blow the candles out between the end of the ceremony and bringing the candles to the table so there wouldn't be a ton of people walking around with lit candles. 

    Below is a photo when you google this idea, but sigh, it doesn't sound like any other people think this is a good idea. It'll likely get scrapped. Thanks. 


    Are those real candles or those battery operated ones?  Because I don't see the flickering like I would expect with real candles or variations in intensity.  Honestly, that situation with open flames would make me nervous.  People breathing so the flame can waver and even with those long fireplace lighters it takes me a ridiculously long time to light a candle getting the flame to perfectly hit the wick - I would be that clod who would be embarrassed because I'm taking a really long time getting my neighbors candle lit and dripping wax everywhere in the process.  This just has bad idea written all over it - plus that gross smoky smell x 50 or 100 when everyone blows it out at the same time?  I can't even stand that smell when I light one candle in my home (and extinguishing a flame is much safer than your guests blowing them out).

    Based on how close to the "flame" some of those folks are holding the candle, I'm guessing your inspiration pic isn't even real candles anyway.
  • Sigh, alright. I guess my "awesome and pretty" idea isn't so great after all....
  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Yeah, Catholics do this for the Easter Vigil, where it actually has a meaning. I like it (for that), but you do have to deal with dripping wax everywhere during and afterwards. As a guest at your wedding I would be very confused by the candle thing, would worry about wax on my dress and hand (even if you get the wax guard things the church has, you still get burned occasionally) and would not want to carry it around. Sorry - don't think this is a good one.
    tigerlily6
  • Yeah, Catholics do this for the Easter Vigil, where it actually has a meaning. I like it (for that), but you do have to deal with dripping wax everywhere during and afterwards. As a guest at your wedding I would be very confused by the candle thing, would worry about wax on my dress and hand (even if you get the wax guard things the church has, you still get burned occasionally) and would not want to carry it around. Sorry - don't think this is a good one.
    @flantastic, I kept thinking Easter Vigil, too. Definitely one of my favorite parts of the Easter ceremonies. Based off that experience I actually don't think the fire-hazard concerns are as terrible as some might think (true, it's always there when you have fire of some kind, not saying it isn't, but if a bunch of 7 yr olds wearing lacy First Communion clothes can manage candles in a room with 400+ people, probably most wedding guests can). I agree with @CMGragain, however, that dripping wax on the floor or pews can be a problem. You would definitely want wax guards, and even then accidents will happen. For this reason, it may be impractical depending on your venue. 

    I think PPs concerns about symbolism are valid, too. If you did decide to go with this idea, OP, make sure you have it clearly explained about what this is supposed to symbolize (growing love? uniting of two families and friends? the flame of love?) so that your guests get what's going on. 
                        


    Daisypath Anniversary tickers
  • Yeah, Catholics do this for the Easter Vigil, where it actually has a meaning. I like it (for that), but you do have to deal with dripping wax everywhere during and afterwards. As a guest at your wedding I would be very confused by the candle thing, would worry about wax on my dress and hand (even if you get the wax guard things the church has, you still get burned occasionally) and would not want to carry it around. Sorry - don't think this is a good one.
    @flantastic, I kept thinking Easter Vigil, too. Definitely one of my favorite parts of the Easter ceremonies. Based off that experience I actually don't think the fire-hazard concerns are as terrible as some might think (true, it's always there when you have fire of some kind, not saying it isn't, but if a bunch of 7 yr olds wearing lacy First Communion clothes can manage candles in a room with 400+ people, probably most wedding guests can). I agree with @CMGragain, however, that dripping wax on the floor or pews can be a problem. You would definitely want wax guards, and even then accidents will happen. For this reason, it may be impractical depending on your venue. 

    I think PPs concerns about symbolism are valid, too. If you did decide to go with this idea, OP, make sure you have it clearly explained about what this is supposed to symbolize (growing love? uniting of two families and friends? the flame of love?) so that your guests get what's going on. 
    Thanks for the input. Yes, if I did do this I would make sure the officiant would explain it in a much more eloquent way than I have here. I still like the idea but don't think I'll do it after all. Based on the responses here I have a feeling my FI and families will have similar thoughts....
    ernursejcowgirl8238
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Well, I'm not a fan of extra unity rituals in wedding ceremonies to begin with, because the whole ceremony is in itself a unity ritual.

    The photo looks pretty, but it would appear to have been done only for a photo, and it does pose serious safety issues.
    MesmrEweKnottie1452098987
  • DrillSergeantCatDrillSergeantCat Oklahoma City, OK member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    @Ironring it looks really pretty, but all I can picture is that scene from The Wedding Ringer.

  • Cookie PusherCookie Pusher Looking over your shoulder member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I'd be worried what the venue would charge to clean up any candle wax that got on the floors. 
    ~*~*~*~*~

    tigerlily6MesmrEwe
  • MesmrEweMesmrEwe member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited July 2016

    I'm going to go at this from another angle - your budget!  This isn't going to be cheap!  The candles you see at church ceremonies plus drip protectors can add up for cost.  I order our parish's church candles through a wholesaler (our tithing) and the vigil candles don't come cheap.  I've also worked with melting them down (i.e. what do you do with them after the fact? since these aren't tapers, it's not like anyone is going to be able to take them home and use them since the base is significantly smaller) and they're a royal PITA to work with...  You could get "flicker flame" (called Safety Glo) candles which would eliminate the fire element then donate them after for the write-off, but again - budget...

    I do know a couple who did do this with tapers for their evening wedding - in a church.  But instead of it being the Unity Candle, it is how she walked in (the groom lit the candles when he came in) - then the entire ceremony was candle-lit (less than 20 mins).  I'd NEVER recommend doing this outdoors, nor would I if you've got a lot of kids in attendance.  Also, what happens when a guest drips wax because they held it wrong onto a pew or someone else's outfit. 

    Great in theory, but REALLY think it through!

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    Knottie1452098987
  • Cute idea but since wedding will be during daytime, I don't think you will get the same effect as shown on that picture. Before you buy anything first talk to venue to see if they would allow it and then talk to your photographer to get their thoughts about how the photos with the candles will turn out given the amount of daylight that will be coming in. A good photographer should be able to tell you if it will look great or not. If you do end up going for it, I recommend finding candles that you can put into holders that will collect the wax so to prevent people from getting burned by melting wax & to have someone with baskets at the exit to collect all the candles, because your guests aren't going to want to take them home.
  • I can't believe all the negative comments I just read regarding the reverse unity! This is the first thread that I read negativity. Personally, I think it is an awesome idea! I am actually doing it for my wedding next month. The few people that I have spoke with that got to participate in a reverse unity at a wedding only had amazing things to say. I will attach one to the end of my comment. 

    So, when I spoke with our church regarding us doing this, they said they just had someone do it and have another in October and how beautiful it is! They are even giving us candles to use and we have 240 people. You can buy the drip protectors off Amazon for $9.99 for 100! We are having our nephews pass out our programs along with a candle to each adult guest as they walk into the Ceremony. My fiance and I will light our candles from the pastor, and then each of us will go down the pew's and light each outside person's candle and then they are going to pass it along and light the person next to them. While we are doing this, we have a soloist singing one of our favorite songs to give our guests a little entertainment. We then will dim the lights and have our pastor read a beautiful reading that not only unites my fiance and I as husband and wife but all of our guests as well.  The result is a magical room of candlelight that unites the bride and groom with their family and friends. 

    So, my opinion? Do it! It is going to be gorgeous! Unity candles and sand are so over done! It will be a great experience for you and all your attendees :)

    Here is a short and sweet blog I came across:

    I had the wonderful opportunity to be apart of something truly beautiful.

    At an already stunning ceremony the bride and groom took their separate unity candles and came into the pews where their guests sat and lite the candles of their guests seated closest to the aisle and then like a beautiful wave of light the guests lite, one-by-one the candles of the person seated next to them.

    I swear their was not a dry eye in the house and everyone felt like they weren’t just a guest but they were apart, a participant in the breathtaking ceremony.

  • DrillSergeantCatDrillSergeantCat Oklahoma City, OK member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    I can't believe all the negative comments I just read regarding the reverse unity! This is the first thread that I read negativity. Personally, I think it is an awesome idea! I am actually doing it for my wedding next month. The few people that I have spoke with that got to participate in a reverse unity at a wedding only had amazing things to say. I will attach one to the end of my comment. 

    So, when I spoke with our church regarding us doing this, they said they just had someone do it and have another in October and how beautiful it is! They are even giving us candles to use and we have 240 people. You can buy the drip protectors off Amazon for $9.99 for 100! We are having our nephews pass out our programs along with a candle to each adult guest as they walk into the Ceremony. My fiance and I will light our candles from the pastor, and then each of us will go down the pew's and light each outside person's candle and then they are going to pass it along and light the person next to them. While we are doing this, we have a soloist singing one of our favorite songs to give our guests a little entertainment. We then will dim the lights and have our pastor read a beautiful reading that not only unites my fiance and I as husband and wife but all of our guests as well.  The result is a magical room of candlelight that unites the bride and groom with their family and friends. 

    So, my opinion? Do it! It is going to be gorgeous! Unity candles and sand are so over done! It will be a great experience for you and all your attendees :)

    Here is a short and sweet blog I came across:

    I had the wonderful opportunity to be apart of something truly beautiful.

    At an already stunning ceremony the bride and groom took their separate unity candles and came into the pews where their guests sat and lite the candles of their guests seated closest to the aisle and then like a beautiful wave of light the guests lite, one-by-one the candles of the person seated next to them.

    I swear their was not a dry eye in the house and everyone felt like they weren’t just a guest but they were apart, a participant in the breathtaking ceremony.

    The ceremony itself is a unity ceremony so adding candles, sand, wine, whatever is redundant. Secondly, you're not marrying your guests; you're marrying one person - your fiance. So it's a bit odd to unite yourselves to a bunch of people unless maybe you're in a polyamorous relationship and even then, the unification would be amongst the people in the relationship and no one else.
    ernursejsparklepants41
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