The unity candle is the uniting of two families together through marriage with the lighting of a single candle from two separate family candles.
Here is a list of other ways to represent the union that do not involve candles
Celtic Handfasting: This unique ritual is still used today as a nod to the couples heritage and a more visual sign of “tying the knot.” The handfasting ceremony takes place before the exchange of the rings, sometimes in lou of a unity candle. The tradition binds the hands together with ribbons, rope, a scarf, or strips of material.
Painted Canvas: The blank canvas represents, the day of the wedding, and a new beginning. The paint colors signify the experiences that lie ahead.
Planting a Tree Unity: The unity tree planting ceremony can be used to symbolize the joining together of two individuals or the joining of two families.
The Marriage Braid: One cord represents the bride, another cord represents the groom, and the last (center) cord represents God. Similar to the unity candle that is lit during the ceremony, the Marriage Braid is braided together by the bride and groom
The Salt Covenant: During ancient times, agreements and promises were sealed by a salt covenant. Each person would take a pinch of salt from their pouch and place it in the pouch of the other. This agreement could not be broken unless an individual could retrieve their own grains of salt.
Tying the Knot: You actually tie a knot. You tie a fisherman’s knot. “It’s the strongest knot. The rope will break before the knot comes undone and the knot only gets tighter with pressure.” Frame the knot and vows as a keepsake.
Wine Box Ceremony: You and your spouse-to-be write a love letter that you do not share. We wrote about what made us fall in love with the other person, how we have grown since we’ve met, and what our hopes and dreams are for the future. You seal your letter in an envelope and at some point, give it to your officiant.
Padlock Ceremony: The symbolic padlock ceremony is popular throughout Europe as many couples go to a public area to place a padlock around a fence or other item. The key is then tossed into the nearest river. To incorporate this ceremony into your wedding, you can use any type of padlock or purchase a padlock etched with your names. The lock is placed on a special canvas frame or framed iron tree and locked, while the key is attached to a helium balloon and let go.