Lighting the Candles
A candle-lighting service can be a very meaningful part of your service.
However, think through what you want it to symbolize. One option is to
have no interpretation of your act, just doing what is suggested or feels
comfortable for the both of you. You may find you feel best by doing it
in silence or accompanied softly by the organ playing -
("Oh Perfect Love," "O Master Let Me Walk With Thee," etc.),
Some may want a singer, singing solo, a reading of scripture (ex. I Cor. 13),
or you may want to use another meaningful reading that has special meaning to you both.
You can also include your parents, and other family members by having them light
the two outside candles before the processional begins. Add in a statement about them, if you wish.
For most Christian type weddings, the need for Christ at the center of your marriage
is often spoken about by the minister. This can be emphasized with special music during
the actual lighting. Your Choral Director at the church would be a great source for help
in musical selections to best reflect this type of option if desired.
As a word of caution, I had a Roman Catholic priest share with me once
that he refuses to include any lighting of the unity candles at his weddings
because this liturgical device originated from TV soap operas rather than
in the church itself.
Today, though many churches will allow it, but be sure to ask your local parish
if it's allowed in their church. Some may not if they are carpeted.
Many couples ask about the objections. ("Let them speak now or forever hold their peace")
We often associate this with weddings that are performed as well thanks to television.
This to was a by-product of the Hollywood imagination.
Most states do NOT REQUIRE it.
Further more, many pastors will not ask this question
strictly out of fear of hearing "I Do" coming from the back
of the sanctuary by some disgruntled former spouse.
When should you light the candles?
Sometimes the candles are lit before the congregation ever arrives.
Other times the ushers, or a specially chosen acolytes, light them
as part of the service itself. If you wish include family we suggest,
the parents light one of the two candles as part of the ceremony.
Once they are lit, the couple will then use that candle to light their
individual candle or the unity candle together.
Another popular option for many couples is to enter with lit candles,
This can be tricky as it may go out. Often times the Groom can light a
single candle just before the handoff from her father is done.
Together they then pause to light the 3 candles at the Unity Table.
Her original candle is then blown out or left burning and placed in
a separate candle holder if not already in one.
A deviation of this type of entrance is to have the bride and groom
light a larger one at the very beginning of the ceremony.
As with all symbolism, think over the meaning of what you are doing
and what it means to you both.
Most couples generally want to light the single tapers themselves,
and then light the center unity separately together.
This is a choice that you both must make for your wedding ceremony.
This is something that must have special meaning to you, and only you
as a couple so don't be afraid to do it your way.
Below you'll find some samples of various unity candle "wordings"
you may want to review for use in your own ceremony.
Although these samples reflect wording regarding "two people"
and "marriage," they can be altered to reflect "family"
and the strength of that bond each of the members of your
family together by adding extra candles as needed.
This is the most common one many have heard:
______________ & ____________, together as you light this candle of unity,
you symbolize the flame of your own individual selves joining
to ignite the partnership of marriage.
You bring the warmth, strength and wisdom
of your family's fire as kindling for your own.
From this day onward, may you bask in the beauty
of the light of your love, may its light shine bright
and steady upon your path together and may its heat
keep you warm through all the days of your lives and beyond.
This candle you are about to light is a candle of Marriage.
Its fire is magical because it represents the light of two people in love.
This candle before you is a candle of Commitment.
It takes two people working together to keep it aflame.
This candle is a candle of Unity.
Today, you are come together as one.
You each are a spark in of themselves, to create the new light.
As you light this candle today,
may the brightness of the flame shine throughout your lives.
May it be a fire of your courage and reassurance in darkness;
warmth and safety in the cold;
and strength and joy in your bodies, minds, and spirits.
________ and ________, the two outside candles burning here
represent your lives at this moment. Each light is distinct,
each able to go its separate way.
________ and ________ are two persons; unique, complex,
individual human beings. And the same Father who gave
each of you your individuality and uniqueness is
now giving you to each other.
The scriptural mystery shall be fulfilled.
The two shall become one flesh. From now on,
what each of you have been individually, you will become together.
What will touch your lives as individuals
will become a part of a new unity.
As each of you take a candle, carry the flame to the center candle,
and extinguish the small candle, thus let the center fire represent
the new unity being celebrated in this service.
As the one center light cannot be divided, neither can your lives.
May the one in whose name you are joined, who worked in your lives
as individuals, continue to walk with you in your life together.
The two outside candles have been lighted to represent
both your lives in this moment. They are two distinct lights,
each capable of going their separate ways. To bring bliss and
happiness to your home, there must be the merging of these two
lights into one light. This is what the Lord meant when He said,
"On this account a man shall leave his father and mother and be
joined to his wife and the two shall be one flesh." From now on
your thoughts shall be for each other rather than your
individual selves. Your plans shall be mutual, your joys and sorrows
shall be shared alike.
As you each take a candle and together light the center one,
you will extinguish your own candles, thus letting the center
candle represent the union of your lives into one flesh.
As this one light cannot be divided, neither shall your lives
be divided but a united testimony in a Christian home.
May the radiance of this one light be a testimony of
your unity in the Lord Jesus Christ.
In this example, I will try to show you how to incorperate God
into our ceremony using a separate "Christ Candle".
Many Christian families have chosen this option as it means
the most to them spiritually.
Setting up the candle display:
On the altar table or side table there are four candles
placed in a cross formation.
Only the tallest one is lit at the start of the service.
This is generally done by the pastor as part of the opening prayer,
or you may choose to use family member to light it prior to service.
The tallest stands behind the wider unity candle with
the two un-lit candles placed in holders on either side
of your Main Unity Candle forming a cross formation + or T formation.
To accent the cross formation, you may want to use red colored ribbon
(1 inch wide) to outline the cross between the candles.
As the center point for the formation, you may want to put a Bible,
or other meaningful item such as a crucifix to hold the ribbon in place.
Below you'll find the words I have often used for this type of service.
"In God we live and move and have our being," (Acts 17:28).
One candle has been lit before and above all others.
This candle represents the presence of God in our lives.
It is the candle of Christ it represents his holy spirit, and love for us as his children.
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying,
I am the light of the world: he that followeth me
shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
Together will you each take a candle, and light it from the light of the world.
All that each of you have ever been,
are now, or ever will be,
is grounded in the presence of God
Blessed by God's light this day.
Together you will light the center candle from your separate lights.
Symbolizing that you bring your light, and God's light into this marriage.
All lights will remain lit as a testimony that God will shine through
your marriage and through your own individual lives.
So I ask you both now, Let your lights so shine.
The candles which ________ and ________
now light represents the coming together of their two lives as one
in a marriage relationship.
Their two individual candles continue burning as individual flames.
In the same way, ________ and ________
will continue to be two unique individuals in the midst of their marriage.
Together they are only but one flame, but put side by side their lights are stronger
For with in their light is the light of Christ our Savior to guide them on their path.
For he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness any longer, but shall have the light of life
to guide their foot steps with.
May the light of God continue to burn bright and always light your paths now I pray.
Candle lighting: FAMILY
Years ago, you both were in the dark, scared and all alone.
Somehow you saw the light of the person before you now.
As time grew, you both were drawn to the other's warmth and affections.
That love, has been tested, and strained, and weathered some incredible
storms along the way. Without you knowing it there was something put into motion that brought
the two of you here today.
Today we celebrate all those moments in history all those trials,
all the endless nights of studying. All the long hours as interns
helping each other to attain the goal of being loving parents.
At this time, I would like to invite your daughter/children to come
and join us as together you light the unity candle not as husband and wife
but as a mother and father and as a committed family based on love.
Would you please Light your mothers candle.
And will you now light your fathers candle.
You both have come so far, and have endured so much.
Today we want to demonstrate that even though in the past you were one.
Today you are twice as strong, and more over you are truly a loving family.
No longer that single flame coming out of the dark, but a united flame of love and hope.
Father bless this family
may you always watch over them.
We ask that in times of strife
you encourage them to encourage each other
Be with them on the next leg of their
wonderful journey as man and wife
and as mother and father.
This we pray in your name amen.
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