A wedding formality that gets more popular each year is a beautiful custom called the unity sand or blending sands ceremony. It’s also known simply as the sand ceremony. It’s a meaningful gesture during the marriage ceremony, similar to the unity candle, that conveys so much symbolism relating to the joining of two people in the bond of marriage.
And more couples are embracing it over the unity candle because it can be a safer, more predictable choice. Unlike the unity candle, the sands will not blow out in a strong breeze, fail to light in a timely manner or catch a stray hair on fire! And while a sand ceremony is simply tailor-made for a beach wedding, it's really perfect for any wedding event.
How To Perform the Sand Ceremony
The unity sand ceremony can be done at various times during your wedding ceremony, either after your vows are recited and the rings exchanged, or before. The rite itself takes place using three (usually glass) vessels. The two smaller vessels contain sand made up of two different colors and are assigned individually to you and your partner. The larger, center vessel is empty at the start of your ceremony.
At your officiant’s direction, you will, separately at first, then simultaneously, pour your individual colored sand into the center vessel, blending all your separate sands together into one container. All throughout your ceremony, the meaning is explained to you and your wedding guests.
And the meaning of the gesture is considerable: it symbolizes that two people (and/or two families, especially when children are included in the ceremony) are joining or blending together with the start of the new marriage. You each still retain your own uniqueness, represented in the distinct colors, however you become one new entity together. It would be almost impossible to separate the two different sands from the vessel again, thus symbolizing the permanence of your new bond.
The sand ceremony can be personalized in so many ways. If you have children, you can choose to include them in the ceremony. Or you can include your extended families as well. If you do, additional vials of sand will be held by your family members and blended into the center vessel when prompted, illustrating the joining of your new blended family or families. Or you can include your entire wedding party in the ceremony, symbolizing the support you receive from your loved ones and their importance in your relationship.
Other customizations include the introduction of a third sand, usually in white or gold, to represent religious beliefs (including God in the marriage union) or using a special vessel with sentimental meaning. The wording of your ceremony can also be tailored to your liking, with so many beautiful samples of ceremony wording readily available online. Be sure the wording has a special significance to you both.
Consider personalizing your sand ceremony by choosing sand in your wedding theme colors. And you can customize the center vessel easily, too, by adding your favorite photo or with the engraving of your names.
The unity sand ceremony is a beautiful custom that demonstrates the permanence of your relationship and the new identity formed by reciting your marriage vows. And at the end, you'll have a beautiful memento of your wedding day to admire for its beauty and to treasure as a symbol of your enduring bond.
Many couples we've filmed have included this beautiful gesture in their wedding day. Take a peek above at Nicole and Alex's beautiful unity sand ceremony during their wedding ceremony on the beach at The Grand Hotel.