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The Sand Ceremony

Historically it is unclear where the Sand Ceremony started.

It seems there is a notion that it could be Hawaiian with the tradition of scooping up sand around the Bride and Grooms feet with seashells and pouring it into a container.

One suggestion is of the Native American Sand painting ceremony which involves artfully mixing colourful layers of sand.

Other cultures that mix coloured sands are also seen in the ancient Mandalas of Tibet, Parlors of Victorian England, the Japanese sand tray art and the ceremonial sand imprints of Aboriginal Australians.

Nowadays it is performed as a symbol of uniting two families together as part of the couples’ wedding day ceremony.


During these blended family weddings the children

of the bride and groom are invited to the front;

each child adds his or her own layer of coloured

sand to the container, turning the vase into a symbol

of two families coming together as one.

The Sand Ceremony also represents the individual

lives of the bride and groom.


Although combined into a single sand ceremony vase,

the layers of colour show that both the Bride and Groom have retained their unique identities and personalities.

Yet, looking closer, it is virtually impossible to define the exact point where one layer ends and the next begins - the grains of sand can never be separated. This can be used as an alternative to a Unity Candle.

Here are some ideas of what the colours could mean.


Red: Love, Passion, the strength of the will, Fertility and courage

Green: Nature and renewal, health, riches, prosperity, beauty and luck

Yellow: Joy, a sunny disposition, optimism, consistency, friendship, attraction

Light Blue: Peace, patience, tranquility, good health or understanding

Dark Blue: Strength and virility, longevity, loyalty, trust, commitment

Purple: Royalty, strength, health and vitality, power, sophistication

Pale Pink: Love, truth, playfulness, happiness, tenderness or unity

Hot Pink: Romance, “girl power”

Brown: Nurturing and caring, home

Black: Wisdom, strength, success, sophistication

Silver: Vision, protection, inspiration and glamour

Gold: Wealth or prosperity, strength, unity, prestige or success

White: Peace, innocence

Champagne: Refinement, conservative, traditional


Unity Candle Ceremony

In a similar symbolic ceremony to the Sand Ceremony, the Unity Candle is lit from separate taper’s by the Bride and Groom.

The lighting of the unity candle can be a very meaningful

expression in a wedding ceremony, symbolizing the union

of the lives of two individuals coming together.

It can be lit by other family members or children on either side

of the Bride and Groom as a joining of them into one family.

The candle ceremony can be used to remember loved ones past,

and bring them to the ceremony in a spiritual symbolism.


Hand-Binding Ceremony

Hand-fasting or hand-binding is a wedding ritual in which the Bride's and Groom's hands are tied together.

It is said to be based on an ancient Celtic tradition and to have inspired the phrase "tying the knot".

"Hand-fasting" is favored by practitioners of Celtic-based religions and spiritual traditions, such as Wicca and Druidism. It is a tradition known in Medieval times to show that two people were promised in marriage or engaged. Hand-fasting was the old pagan ritual of marriage and it remained legal in Scotland all the way up to 1939, even after the Marriage Act in England demanded all weddings must be performed by a Clergyman.

Hence the introduction of couples eloping to Scotland to be married by the Blacksmith (see Scotland).


Other Cultures and Superstitions for

Ceremony Traditions Aboriginal Australia

The bridal couple has four sponsors.

Sponsors are older, well respected

persons chosen by the bride and groom.

The sponsors are to give spiritual and

marital guidance to the couple throughout their lifetime.

At the ceremony, the sponsors make a commitment to

help the couple through their marriage.



Scotland In 1754 the English Parliament passed a Marriage Act that made a number of ceremonies illegal.

One result was that couples had to be 21 years old or have parental consent.

This tradition is still used today for people over the age of 18 years.

Scotland did not follow the law and an old tradition developed of

being married by the Blacksmith.

Young couples would elope across the border into

Scotland to a small village known as Gretna Green.


The Blacksmith married the couple by the Hammer and the Anvil. 

He was also known as the Avil or Blacksmith priest. “It is said that,

like the metals he forged, the blacksmith would join couples together in the heat of the moment, but find them for eternity”


The Veil

In England a Veil was meant to symbolize modesty and chastity

A veil is said to come from Roman times to disguise the bride and outwit malevolent spirits and so protect the bride.


Confetti is Italian for sweets thrown over the couple as they emerge from the ceremony.

Before the use of paper, the bride and groom were showered with petals, flowers, rice or grains to bestow prosperity and fertility.


There is an exchange of flower bouquets before the ceremony, then the best man puts wedding rings and crowns on the couple and they drink red wine from the same glass as a sharing of life.

This is one of many Greek traditions.

Chinese Tea Ceremony

The Bride is formally introduced to the Groom's family through the Chinese wedding tea ceremony.

It will usually take place on the wedding day when most of the family members are present.

There are many versions of the tea ceremony performed around the world mostly within Asian communities.

The Ring

The ring is a circle and this was the symbol of eternity for the Ancient Egyptians, who were the first to introduce the wearing of rings as part of a wedding ceremony. It had no beginning and no end, like time.

It returns to itself, like life and the shape was worshipped in the form of the Sun and the Moon.

The hole in the entre of the ring was also important and was a symbol of the gateway, or door leading to things and events both known and unknown.

It was worn, like today on the third finger of the

left hand because it was believed that the vein

of that finger travels directly to the heart.

This legend was adopted by the Greeks when

they conquered Egypt under Alexander the Great in 332B.C.

and was passed onto the Romans who called it the ‘vena amoris’

which in Latin means ‘the vein of love’.

The Honeymoon

Comes from the Nordic tradition of the bride drinking mead – a brewed, fermented honey wine – for one month after the wedding to encourage fertility. The moon may relate to the woman’s monthly cycle to conceive. A full month of the Honeymoon to be sure of fertility. There are many theories about the Honeymoon period, but in our time, it is a good excuse for the newlyweds to be alone after marriage.

Wine and Love Letter

This ceremony is used as a time capsule to remember the love a

couple felt for each other on their wedding day.

After years of marriage, children, moving, travel

and many changes that life and age give, it is a chance to

re-capture the moment that two people fell in love and

pledged their lives to one another. It is a celebration of change through adversity,

challenges and good fortunes.

A good wine ages well, so should a good marriage. 

History of Traditions and Customs

Family Unity Candle
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