The Unity Sand Ritual

Incorporating the Tradition into Your Wedding

The Unity Sand ritual is a time-honored tradition that any couple can add to their big day. While its origins are uncertain, some tracing it to Native Americans, some to Hawaiians, the basic idea is the same; different grains of sand poured into the same vase to signify your union.

The Unity Sand ritual is similar to the Unity Candle ceremony, in which the couple takes two separate candles, then use them to light a new one together. Some people prefer the Sand ritual for practical purposes: the Unity Candle can be accidentally blown out. Also, unlike sand, you can’t save candlelight. Both rituals can be applied to religious or secular affairs.

The Unity Sand Ritual, not surprisingly, is also very popular for beach affairs. Usually performed after the exchange of rings, the couple generally have their own vase or containers of sand (some people use seashells or jars, some buy vases for the occasion), then pour the different grains together. If you like, you can keep a small amount of sand in the original vases, to make a statement that you will still be keeping your individuality.

Over the years, couples have added additional touches to the ceremony. If this is your second marriage, and one of you has children, they can add their own sand, making it a family affair. Some people even extend the ritual to the wedding party, having each person drop a little sand into the main vase.

Should you decide to incorporate the Unity Sand Ritual, you can opt to say your vows while pouring the sand into the vase. Talk to your officiant about your plans. Many couples purchase multi-colored sands ahead of time (one each for the bride and groom, another one for children, etc.), then coordinate it with a vase that will make a beautiful wedding keepsake.

Since there are no “rules,” this is a ritual that you can personalize any way you wish. The only requirement is that you add your own love touch.

-David Toussaint

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