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Gift Certificates Make Great Christmas Presents
We have had some fun researching many different alternatives to the very popular unity candle.  Brides and grooms are coming up with very unique and fun ways of celebrating the blending of their lives and families with one another. These all represent the uniting of two families into one. 

Rose Ceremony: There are many ways to go about this alternative but our favorite one begins with the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom each bringing down a vase of roses (each mother has a different color of rose). They place these arrangements next to the bride and groom during the ceremony. At the time of the rose unity ceremony the officiant will explain what is happening and read a passage regarding the blending of two families in to one. The bride and groom will go and get the arrangements from their respective mothers and place them together in a larger vase interspercing the colors together. This arrangement can then be brought along to the reception! 

Flower Press: Your moms will walk down the aisle together, each holding a flower. They will put the flower into separate vases. Later in the ceremony, the bride and groom will take them from the vases and put them on a flower press. You can press the two flowers together or do them seperatley. The bride and groom will tehn put the pressed flowers into one frame that is already opened up and ready for it. This too can be displayed in the happy couples new home. 

Wine Ceremony: Your parents each pour wine into a cup (this could be their favorite wine or just seperate types of wine, one red and one white). They will then drink from their cup of wine and the bride and groom will drink from their respective parent's cups. Then the bride and groom each pour some from tehir parents cups into another and drink from that as a couple. 

Unity Wish Lantern: Your parents each get up and write a wish for the bride and groom on their own lantern. Then the bride and groom get up and read them and then write each other a wish on their own lantern together. Then the bride and groom and parents will light their respectives lanterns and release the wishes and lanterns into the sky.   

Cord of three strands. Parents bring own colored cord and the officiant brings another. (symbolize God). Each parent ties one braid with the three strings and then bride and groom go back and finish off the braid.  This could also be done as a knot instead of the braid.   

Unity candle alternative: Include all your guests by giving them a candle. Then have the back of the room light their candles and pass it down the two sides of the ceremony. Once it gets to the parents they walk up to the bride and groom and light their candles and sing a song or say a prayer. The bride and groom then light the one large candle together.  This ceremony represents the unity of friends and family supporting the couple in their marriage.

Unity Painting. The bride and groom will each have a canvas in front of them painted with different but complimentary colors. Then going down the side of the drawing the bride and groom will each draw a predetermined design on the far end. The idea is to have a finished product that when shown seperately it doesn't make sense but when put with the other it is a beautiful piece of artwork that you can display in your home.
Sand Ceremony: The couple has 3 containers. Two of those containers are filled with sand, one color in one (for the bride) and another color in the other (for the groom). The sand is then poured into the third container during the ceremony and the two colors should mixed together as you pour. The sand will never  be separated into the two distinct colors ever again.  (this can also be done as a unity water or unity rocks ceremony)

Salt Ceremony: Brides passes a handful of salt to the groom without spilling any of it. He then passes it back to her and the exchange is repeated three times. She then performs the salt excahnge with all the members of the groom's family and he with her family. 

The Unity Tree: The couple purchases a tree sapling prior to the wedding and plants it in a pot. Give it a prominet position for the cermony. During the unity time your parents take a bowl of dirt already dished out and put it into the pot (symbolizing the love, nuturing, and support you will need from them). Then the bride and groom will each take a container of water and water the tree (symbolizing the need to continuly water your own relationship in order for it survive). After the wedding the tree is yours to plant in your new home together. It grows as your marriage grows. You can even plant additional tree saplings as each of your children are born to represent your growing family. 

Lei Ceremony: The bride and groom exchange Leis. The families will exchange leis with the couple and the bride and groom will exchange leis with one another. The leis represnt the love and respect you have for the person you are giving it to and the unity of the new family. 
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