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  • unity ceremony ideas handfasting Destination beach wedding Belmond Hotel Riviera Maya
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  • destination wedding ceremony ideas unity cross Riu Palace Riviera Maya

5 Alternative Wedding Unity Ceremony Ideas

A unity ceremony is a way to symbolize the joining together of bride and groom. Popular options are the unity candle or sand ceremony – but there really are no rules! Here are 5 of our favorite alternative wedding unity ceremony ideas from destination weddings that we have photographed.

Unity Painting – Heather + Kyle 

Unity ceremonies come in all shapes and sizes – candles, sand, locks, crosses and braided cords of rope. They are all lovely and symbolize a very powerful union between two people. However, our motto for our wedding was to do things in a way that felt like ‘us’. We knew we wanted to do something different. Nothing quite felt right. Nothing we had seen before seemed to represent us as a couple. I am not sure exactly when the idea forged. I wish I could tell you it was a great ah-ha moment but honestly I think we were just watching tv when Kyle turned to me and said, “How about a Unity Painting?”

At first I thought I would have to be crazy to paint in a wedding dress!

The more I thought about it I couldn’t shake the idea. As an artist painting is something I really enjoy doing and it really is a lovely metaphor for marriage. Two artists coming together to create one painting of a cross that symbolizes our Christ-centered marriage.

Now is our painting perfect – no? Will our marriage be perfect? – no. But it is a masterpiece – a work in progress. As it hangs on our wall it is a perfect reminder to us of the covenant we share with one another.

Unity Cocktail – Tiffany + Justin and Melanie + Scott

So you’re invited to a destination wedding in Cancun and when you arrive you hit the beach and grab a margarita. Then you get dressed up for the ceremony and grab another margarita… Mosey over to the ceremony, sit down as the bride and groom will usually just read their vows while you sip away. Maybe they’ll include a candle ceremony or pour tons of sand into jars to symbolize unity.

This all changed at Tiffany and Justin’s wedding, where they decided to both celebrate their unity while enjoying a drink with a “Unity Cocktail”! We have seen a lot of ways to proclaim love for each other and the joining of two people, but a Unity Cocktail is a unique and fun way to do it!

“We decided to do the unity cocktail for a few reasons. First, Justin and I aren’t extremely religious. We’re more relaxed and wanted to do something that represented us a little better. We both love a good cocktail and entertaining so a unity cocktail was more up our alley. Secondly, getting married on the beach we thought a unity candle would have been difficult with the breeze and the sand ceremony in the luggage could have just been a mess!” – Tiffany

Handfasting – Angie + Greg

“Our families are very important to us both.  The marriage is not only between us, but also represents our respective families coming together and uniting.  We didn’t choose the traditional “unity candle” as the ceremony was on the beach and it may of been difficult with the wind.

We liked the “handfasting” because it represents us “tying the knot” (to go with the rest of our wedding theme on the beach), and having our mother’s involved (representing each of our families) in uniting us and our families ” – Angie

Celtic Oathing Stone – Laura + Patrick

“The stone we used at our wedding is a celtic oathing stone. We wanted to add a special aspect to our ceremony that would be unique to us, something we had never personally seen done at any other wedding. The oathing stone is an ancient celtic custom in which the bride and groom hold the stone while saying their vows, as it is believed that an oath given near stone or water is more binding and “sets the vows in stone.”

Unity Cross – Kristen + Cameron

The Unity Cross is a multi-piece Sculpture that Kristen and Cameron assembled during their wedding ceremony.

“The Groom places the outer cross in the wood base. The Pastor explains how God created man: bold, strong, the defender of the family. Yet he is empty and incomplete without the woman. The bride then places the more delicate cross inside of the groom’s cross. The pastor explains how God created Woman: delicate, multi-faceted, taking care of all of the little things that completes the man. The two become one. The bride and groom then use the 3 golden pegs to lock the cross together in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The pastor exclaims: What God has brought together let no man take apart.” – Penny Reynolds


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