Lighting of the Candles

Tips for your Christian Wedding Ceremony

Lighting of the Candles
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Not every wedding ceremony goes off without a hitch (pun intended). Oftentimes a wedding blooper happens during the simplest, most unexpected moment--the lighting of the candles.

At the beginning of the ceremony, a representative from each family, or members of the wedding party typically come forward to light the candles as part of the prelude. These few moments can add a subtle touch of drama to the start of the big event.

But what if the candles won't light, or won't stay lit? What if vented air blows the candles out? No one wants to think about the symbolic image of extinguished flames in a wedding ceremony.

Sometimes, to avoid this kind of mishap, couples will choose to have the lighting of the candles take place before the guests arrive. Another option is to test light the candles before the guests arrive.

How to Light the Unity Candles

If you decide to light a Unity Candle as part of your ceremony, the parents or mothers of the Bride and Groom, may each light one of the two candles from which later the couple will light their Unity Candle. Traditionally, the mothers or parents would do this just before they are seated during the processional.

Later, during the Unity Candle ceremony, the couple will move toward the Unity Candles and stand on either side of the candle holders. Typically, two taper candles are placed on either side of the larger pillar candle or Unity Candle. The taper candles (already lighted) represent the lives of the Bride and Groom as individuals prior to their union in marriage. Together the couple will pick up their individual candles and in unison, they will light the center Unity Candle. Then they will blow out their own candles, symbolizing the end of their separate lives.

You can purchase Unity Candle sets at bridal shops, craft stores, and online. If you don't want to worry about snuffed out flames, consider alternatives to the Unity Candle ceremony, such as a Sand Ceremony or one of these Unique ceremonies.

Perform a Test Lighting of the Candles

Be sure to test light all of the candles, even the Unity Candle, during the rehearsal, or at some time prior to the actual wedding ceremony. Test lighting is done to ensure that the candles will stay lit and not be extinguished by an overhead air duct, draft or fan.

Oftentimes this simple step of candle lighting is overlooked in the wedding planning. Be sure to decide who will light the candles and give clear instructions about when they will be lit, and how they will be lit. Find out if the church provides a candle lighter and snuffer or if these items will need to be rented.