The lighting of the unity candle is something that has been popular for many years. Many couples choose to use this act of symbolism in their wedding, whether the wedding is formal or informal, small or large, or themed. The lighting of the unity candle is something that can be done regardless of the culture and it adds something very special to the ceremony.
First, the unity candle is one, large candle that will be used along with two, long tapered candles. The unity candle is placed at the front of the church. On either side are two tapered candles, which can be lit at the beginning of the ceremony or during the time of the reading. Once the bride and groom have exchanged their wedding vows but prior to being announced husband and wife, they will walk together toward the candles.
Depending on your preference, you might have a favorite song played or sung during this time, in that it adds to the overall ambience. Together, the bride and groom will each pick up one of the lit tapered candles and hold it. Then simultaneously, they will lift their candles toward the unlit unity candle so the flames of their two candles now light the one large candle. Once the wick of the unity candle is lit and glowing strong, the bride and groom will each blow out their candle, making sure the flame is extinguished, and then placing them back in their holders.
The symbolism of this act is that prior to becoming husband and wife, they were both two individuals, living on their own. However, as they move forward to join lives, they now relinquish their old lives as singles by blowing out the single flames, and now will live as one, thus the one flame of the unity candle.
This part of the ceremony is beautiful, filled with meaning. For some couples with children where they too will come into a blended marriage, smaller tapered candles are joined by the two larger tapered candles. In this case, each of the children would be handed a smaller lit candle, the bride and groom would then take their tapered candle, and together, they would all light the unity candle, signifying a family unit now being one.