This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.
In my previous post, I discussed ways to incorporate wedding symbolism into a unique wedding ceremony. In addition to the traditional wedding unity ceremony ideas mentioned, there are many non-religious and whimsical expressions of love you can include. Many even have guest participation that involves those you care about in the action.
Here are some of the best ideas I have come across that you might include in your wedding.
Wedding Unity Ceremony Ideas With Guest Participation
Lots of couples love their friends just as much as they love their families and want to get everyone at their wedding involved. Releasing butterflies or sending good vibes into stones are great ways to do that.
Live butterflies can be ordered online and they can arrive in individual cardboard containers. Check out www.swallowtailfarms.com. Place a cardboard container on each chair and let your guests know not to sit on them, because there’s a live butterfly in there! You can then have a box on a table up front near you and your officiant that contains lots of live butterflies just waiting to be released.
I usually say this, “Hopefully you all noticed the cardboard container on your seat. There’s a live butterfly inside and we’re all going to set them free in moment! The butterfly symbolizes new beginnings, freedom and happiness and the butterfly release is a special way to celebrate love. According to an American Indian legend, we can whisper a wish to a butterfly and the wish will ride upon the butterfly’s wings into the heavens. Since a butterfly makes no sound, the wish is only revealed to the Great Spirit and in gratitude for giving the butterfly its freedom, the Great Spirit always grants the wish. We’ve gathered to grant Bride and Groom all our best wishes and are about to set these butterflies free in trust that those wishes will be granted. Congratulations, you two!”
Listen to a butterfly release here:
The stone blessing is another uncommon way to get your guests involved. Some couples place polished stones on each chair and others who love the outdoors, go for a hike and place cool rocks they found along the way on each of their guest’s chairs. Check with your local laws to make sure taking rocks from nature is legal. If you’re metaphysically minded, this is a great way to collect good vibes and send you and your fiancé off into life on a truly positive note. Before your ceremony, place a stone on each chair and make sure you and your fiancé have stones of your own to hold too.
I say, “Hopefully you noticed the stone that was sitting on your chair. That is called a blessing stone. As Bride and Groom exchange their vows and rings, we ask that you hold your individual stone and think of all the amazing possibilities that await them and send those positive thoughts and prayers into your individual stone and then place it into the vase/box on your way out. Bride and Groom will then have a wonderful keepsake from these next few minutes that includes the essence of each and every one of their friends and family members who came here to celebrate with them today. Thank you so much for your love and support. Please place your stone in the wooden box, cool vase, or whatever container on your way to the reception!”
Listen to the stone blessing here:
Looking for Funny Wedding Unity Ceremony Ideas?
In the beginning of this article, I mentioned that having your DJ play soft music during the unity ceremony makes it even better. Well, the easiest way to raise the energy is through song choice. You can personalize your ceremony even more by playing a song no one expects to hear. I officiated a wedding where one couple played Queen’s song, Another One Bite’s the Dust and the room was filled with laughter!
But if you’re looking for a unique unity idea that’s beyond just song choice, two immediately come to mind. One couple I got to work with had been dating since high school and they used to go to each other’s houses and make PB & Js after school, so they decided to make one during their ceremony!
Unity Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
Here’s what I said, “Love is meant to be experienced, not described. Just like Bride and Groom’s favorite sandwich since childhood, peanut butter and jelly, it’s how it makes you feel; comforted, safe and loved. So, Bride and Groom have decided to have a little fun and commemorate their marriage by making a PB and J! The peanut butter and jelly sandwich is just like Bride and Groom, the perfect pairing: sweet, a little nutty, and goodness that will stand the test of time. With the uniqueness that is only Bride and Groom, the unity ceremony will be the best of two halves, the perfect combination coming together as one.
“When life is like jelly and things get sticky, their love is like peanut butter, the glue that holds it all together. After joining their halves into the perfect sandwich, they’ll take a bite to signify the first step toward enjoying their satisfyingly “sweet life” together and that brings them here; a time to pause, look back, and smile at all the moments that brought them here, love for each other, love for their dog Frank, and love for their family and friends. It’s also a time to look ahead to all the moments that are still to come. Bride and Groom, when 50 years have flown by, may you sit together and share a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and remember this moment, and how it made you feel when the best of two halves became one.”
The guests laughed and cheered. Everyone loved it and there’s no doubt their ceremony will be remembered.
The last unity ceremony idea for today is another that’s sure to light everyone up, the unity painting. I’ve had several couples opt to slap paint on a canvas in front of everyone and it doesn’t usually turn out like they expected, so it’s funny and keeps things light-hearted.
Here’s what I’ve said, “Every marriage starts out as a blank canvas and every day is a splash of color so Bride and Groom have chosen to symbolize their commitment to each other with a unity painting. This blank canvas represents a new beginning and the paint colors represent their milestones, celebrations, tribulations, passions and dreams. The colors combine to signify the experiences that lie ahead; colors of joy and sorrow, blessings and heartache. They are the moments that become the days that make-up the years. There will be places on the canvas where the colors blend and mix, creating new colors and experiences, and there will also be places where the colors stay separate and stand out alone and independent. Bride and Groom will create a life together, but also respect each other as individuals. There will be contrast, but their colorful experiences will still complement one another. Parts of the canvas will look dark or messy and those represent life’s challenges. Some spots remain blank and bare, symbolizing limitless possibility. When you step back and look at the canvas in its entirety, you will see that it clearly is “An Original Masterpiece,” as unique and wonderful as Bride and Groom. May this painting always remind you of your wedding day and unending love. Congratulations, you two.”
Want to hear the unity painting? Click here:
There are quite a few other wedding unity ceremony ideas, but these are a great place to start. Whether honoring your heritage or just having fun, wedding symbolism is a great addition to any ceremony. Incorporating one of these ideas will allow you to capture great photos, create a keepsake to remind you of your wedding, create a tradition, or simply get guests involved so your ceremony is memorable.
If you’d like to tell us about your wedding unity ceremony or know about wedding unity ideas not mentioned in this article, leave a comment below!
Matt Nathanson, 1st Officiant