Belated Wedding Wednesday: Skipping symbolism

There's a slight DIY twist to this entry, I promise. For now, I'm going to talk about traditions.

There are a few symbolic "rituals" that have become part of wedding ceremonies that always seemed just lovely when I attended weddings. Now that I'm a year away from my own wedding, those rituals don't feel "right" to me.

The rituals to which I'm referring are the ones the ones that symbolize the joining of two people. The unity candle, probably one of the most popular these days, is actually a fairly new item. Wikipedia (and we all know that's the definition of truth) says unity candles have only been around for 30-40 years. Still, they seem really, really traditional to me. Not our style.

There's a lot wrong here. Is that unity candle mic'ed?

There are some newer "two people becoming one" gestures out there. There's the pouring of sand, which reminds me of making sand art in a SueBee honey jar in college (one of activities planned as an alternative to drinking...which we did anyway, after making our sand art).

Sand ceremonies are so popular now that companies are making special vessels just for the pouring of the sand.

Congratulations, Beonce and Paul! Sorry, I hate this.
From here.

Even newer than sand pouring is blending wine or planting a tree. I have to admit that I thought the tree planting was kind of cute for about 2 seconds. I don't know if that was because Marc likes the term "tree hugger" of if I liked the idea of taking the tree home and planting it.

Maybe these ceremonies don't seem like they apply to us because we've been together for so long (five years). Maybe the fact that the components look like they were picked up at Michael's (with a 40% off coupon, bien sur) bothers me. Maybe despite the personalized engraving, the fact that they seem so generic gets to me. It just doesn't feel like our kind of thing.

A few months ago, I started hearing about alternatives to these unity gestures. Having only seen these unity rituals, I first thought the alternatives were weird, but one started to grow on me. I'm not 100% on it, but it's sort of like a wedding time capsule (there is where the DIY comes in, if you've been waiting). The couple writes letters to themselves (or each other) about their relationship and marriage. The couple seals the letters in a box with a bottle of wine during the ceremony. Some say that the box is opened on a major anniversary.

Some say the box gets opened if the couple ever has a rough spot (kind of a sad thing to think about at ones wedding, but I realize that it happens). Regardless, the box is meant to remind the couple of where they were when they married and what their hopes were for their marriage.

I'm curious. Did you have a unity ritual at your wedding? Did you do it because it's tradition? Did you consider any alternatives? Do you think the wine box idea is silly?


  1. We didn't do anything like this.  Our 'unity' was the exchanging of the rings, as far as I'm concerned.  The wine box is cool, however that could turn into a lengthy process that your guests have to sit through if you are pounding in nails like the last pic, etc...and what if something silly happened, like they hammered a finger?  Yikes!

    I saw trust your gut, and whatever you do will be lovely! 

  2. Hi Jeannine!  Weird wedding traditions are quite the topic of conversation among FI and myself.  He wants to do some crazy wacky thing where he combines lighting a unity candle (with a blow-torch) while jumping over a broom, ringing a bell in mid air (not sure where the heck he got that one from) and landing on a glass, crushing it at the end.  I just give him "the look" and pray he's only joking.  

    Really though, FI will most likely will be breaking a light bulb.  My father's side is Jewish, although more by traditions sense then for any religious beliefs.  The reasoning for the light bulb is that my grandfather owned a lighting company back in the day, so this is a family tradition for us.  FI is pretty excited he gets to break glass in the end.

    I've never heard of the mixing wine tradition.  Most of those sound very silly to me and I wouldn't be comfortable with them either.  I have never heard of the letters and wine in a box idea either.  I kind of like it and may run that one by FI.  Maybe if he gets to use sealing wax during the ceremony, he'll enjoy it a bit more ;)

  3. Hey!  So I totally roll my eyes at the candle, the sand, the wine blending (ew, why would you ruin two nice glasses of different wines!) and all that jazz.  And I also roll my eyes at the amount of "stuff" you'd have to buy, especially for the sand.  I think Ryan would mercilessly mock it if I ever suggested such a thing in the future.
    However, I DO like the idea of writing letters to each other to save for a later date.  What a great idea.  Filing that away for the hopefully future. :)

  4. We are doing the sand ceremony because we are a blended family, my fiance will be gaining a stepson. We are doing it differently though, i found a 4 pane picture frame that i can take 1 pane out, glue 1 in (so sand does not fall through) and tape pictures onto the front of that frame, pour the sand behind them & voila. 

    The wine box is cool, they are $100 to buy without wine, how expensive, glad you will diy

  5. well, we did the unity candle so i'm not much help!  i liked the symbolism, and i liked that we were able to do it in a way that involved both of our mothers in the ceremony.  i wouldn't say that we did it just because it's a tradition, i cut a lot of other things out of our ceremony/reception that other people typically do, and added in a few things that were more specific to us.

    the idea of the wine box is interesting, i haven't heard of that before.  i have been to a few that have done the sand thing, one that did a "washing of the feet" ceremony, and a few others that had some non-traditional elements.  i guess pick what is important and meaningful to you.  good luck, wedding planning is hard!! :-)

  6. I think the letter writing is really interesting, but I like letter writing, and saving things like that for the future.  I haven't seen it yet, but it will now get filed away!

  7. We didn't have any sort of unity thing at our wedding and it never occurred to me to have one. I don't feel like I've missed out either. After all, the ceremony was already all about our union, so to add anything else to it just felt staged.

  8. I have never come across anything like this in the UK.
    The exchanging of rings felt good to me. My husband and I chose to be together not become as one. We like to celebrate our uniqueness and individuality. Our 'two people becoming one' moment was the birth of each of our children so I suppose it was a case of 'two people becoming 3' !
    I think that you will know exactly what feels right and you should go with it. Its your wedding after all.

  9. Um, I don't remember? Which probably means that we didn't. Obviously it wasn't something that made a big impact if we did. I do like the idea of letters. Also, we usually give a bottle of Champagne for weddings, to be opened on their first anniversary, so I like the wine idea too! Can't wait to see what you do!

  10. I think the wedding ceremony itself is the unity ritual!  Exchanging rings and a kiss at the end is all you need.
    I feel like the letters in the box can be done in private.
    Just my 2 cents this morning!!  I'm certain whatever you choose, it will be beautiful.

  11. I like Zoe B's comment. That's how we feel, too. The only "traditional" things we did were the cake (cupcake) eating and our first dance. I've been at receptions where you just want to get back to eating and drinking but everyone is standing around awkwardly waiting for the bride and groom to put on a series of performances. Not our style. Taking a bite of a cupcake and dancing our first dance took about seven minutes, and then we could get back to really talking and hanging out with our guests.

    Anyhoo, I like the note/wine idea, but I would probably pre-write the letters and seal the box with a single nail so it doesn't drag on. But how cool to open an old bottle of wine one day and look back.


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