What is the Meaning of the Unity Sand Ceremony?
Like the Unity Candle, the Unity Sand Ceremony represents the unification of two distinct families, and the separate individuals of the bride and the groom, into a new, single, whole. Unlike the Unity Candle, the Unity Sands are used to symbolize an indivisible union because once merged, the separately colored grains of sand can never be separated.
The Unity Sands Ceremony is a relatively new concept, post-dating other similarly newer wedding customs and traditions, largely due to the recent high availability of tinted, dyed and colored sands. While this tradition has found its reference for decades, it has only in the past few years grown into a commercial and cultural phenomenon around weddings in the United States. Often, the custom is used to symbolize the start of a new family because the grains of colored sand may be considered as the symbolic basis for a child.
A Family Unity Sand Ceremony is a popular alternative to the traditional wedding ceremony---particularly for couples who are blending their own families with children from previous relationships. The ceremony is referred to as a "sand ceremony" because the couple literally blends sands together---often sands of two colors---to provide a visual mingling of the families.
The Family Unity Sand Ceremony is often not a long ceremony; in fact, it might be less than five minutes. For those charged with preparing the wording for the ceremony, it is important to stay focused on honoring the bride and groom and the joining of their families during the event.
Create the introductory element of the sand ceremony wording. According to Heirloom Hourglass, a traditional wedding ceremony might begin with the phrase, "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today, ..." and the Family Unity Sand Ceremony should begin with an expression of the ceremony's purpose. For example, you might choose something as simple as, "We have gathered here today to witness the commitment that [bride] and [groom] have made to join their lives together, along with their children, [names of children]." From here, the officiant should make a statement that expresses the reason for holding this event: "This sand ceremony represents a beautiful joining of two families and leaves the new united family with a visual reminder of the commitment that has been made."
Prepare the middle portion of the sand ceremony. During a traditional ceremony, this is the time when the officiant speaks about marriage in general: "Marriage is the union of husband and wife in heart, body and mind. It is intended for their mutual joy---and for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity." Similarly, the officiant in the sand ceremony should comment on the nature of the commitment that the bride and groom are making and the reason for preferring the sand ceremony.
Write the conclusion for the sand ceremony. Heirloom Hourglass suggests the traditional ceremony might conclude with: "Inasmuch as [bride] and [groom] have consented together in marriage before this company of friends and family. ..." In the Family Unity Sand Ceremony, the officiant should simply remind the bride and groom of the commitment of marriage and the importance of love within a family: "So, [bride] and [groom], remember this day and the ceremony that has joined your families. Always keep in your minds the love that brought you together and that will keep your marriage and your families strong."