A wedding trend that increases in popularity each year is a special custom that takes place during the ceremony called the blending sands ceremony. It’s also known simply as the sand ceremony or the unity sand ceremony. It’s an uncomplicated and meaningful gesture that conveys much symbolism relating to the joining of two people in the bond of marriage. And more 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!
The blending sands ceremony can be done at various times during the wedding ceremony, either after the vows are recited and the ring exchange or before. The ceremony itself takes place using three (usually glass) vessels. The two smaller vessels contain sand made up of two different colors and are assigned one each to the bride and groom. The larger, center vessel is empty at the start of the ceremony. At the officiant’s direction, the bride and groom often separately, then always simultaneously pour their individual colored sand into the center vessel, thus blending their separate sands together into one container. All throughout the ceremony, the meaning is explained to the couple and the wedding guests.
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 commencement of the new marriage. Each individual still retains his and her own characteristics, represented in the distinct colors, however the two become one new entity. It would be difficult, almost impossible, to separate the two different sands from the vessel again, thus symbolizing the permanence of the new bond.
The blending sands ceremony can be personalized in so many ways. Some couples choose to include their children for a blended family and/or to include extended families in the ceremony. In these ceremonies, additional vials of sand are held by the additional family members and blended into the center vessel when prompted to illustrate the joining of the families. Other couples choose to include their entire wedding party in the ceremony, symbolizing the support they receive from all of their loved ones and their importance in their relationship.
Other customizations include the introduction of a third sand, usually in white or gold, to represent your religious beliefs (including God in the marriage union) or using a special vessel with sentimental meaning to either the bride or groom or both. The wording of the ceremony can also be tailored to your liking, with so many samples of ceremony wording available on the internet. And most couples personalize their sand ceremony to include using colored sand in their wedding colors.
The blending sands ceremony is a beautiful custom that demonstrates the permanence of your relationship and the new identity formed by the reciting of the marriage vows. And at the end, you have a beautiful memento of your wedding day to admire for its beauty and treasure as a symbol of your enduring bond.
Want to see a couple of blending sands ceremonies in action? Take a look at Nicole and Alex’s beautiful sands ceremony in the highlight of their wedding on the beach at The Grand Hotel. And Jesse and Matthew also chose to incorporate a lovely blending sands ceremony at their wedding at Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club.
January 22nd, 2015
by Kristi Chapman
in Tips & Ideas