How to Perform a Wedding Sand Ceremony


Coloured Sand Unity Sand Ceremony - YouTube

The wedding sand ceremony symbolizes unity.

The wedding sand ceremony, or unity sand ceremony, is becoming ever more popular. It can replace the unity candle or be used after it in the wedding ceremony. In original sand ceremonies, the bride and groom would toss handfuls of sand together into the wind. The grains were combined and unable to be separated, symbolizing unity and eternity. The sand ceremonies of today can be performed in a way that honors both of the families and then kept always as a treasured keepsake


    • 1
      Set a small table near the alter before the ceremony. Place the main sand vase in the center. These vases may be ordered with a wedding monogram and date engraved in silver, black or gold script. Place the smaller vases, each containing a different color of sand, around the main vase. You can also use rose petals and small tealight candles for more decoration.

    • 2
      Choose a version of the sand ceremony. The sand ceremony may be modified in any way you wish. One version is to have a base of neutral or white sand already in the main vase. It should fill about one-third of the main vase and be ready before the wedding ceremony begins. This sand is used to represent God as the foundation for the marriage.

    • 3
      Include parents in the ceremony. As in a unity candle ceremony, assign each family a color of sand or both families the same color. For a simpler color scheme, the parents can also use the neutral or white sand. The parents will go first, as two couples, and pour a small amount of colored sand from their small vases into the large vase. Instruct them to move their small vases around as they pour to create a layered design. It is simpler if the parents can pour one vase together as a couple.

    • 4
      Approach the sand ceremony table. The bride and groom may pour identical colors of sand or two separate ones (depending on how many total colors you want incorporated into the final vase). The bride and groom should each have their own separate small vase, but pour their sand into the main vase at the same time. This way their sand mixes together, symbolizing unity and eternity since these sand grains can never be separated.

    • 5
      Complete the rest of the wedding ceremony and reception. After the festivities, fill the main sand ceremony vase with the remaining sand, layering colors to create a design. Leave half an inch at the top of the vase.

    • 6
      Melt clear wax or candle gel using a double boiler or microwave. Gently pour the wax or gel onto the sand until it is level with the top of the vase.

    • 7
      Leave the sand ceremony vase as it is for a keepsake once the wax dries. If you wish to hide the wax, place a circle of coordinating cloth around the top of the vase and secure it with a rubber band. Then place a ribbon over the rubber band. Use a scrap of netting from the wedding veil, cloth from the bridesmaid dresses or groomsmen handkerchiefs, or ribbons from the bridal bouquet for an extra special touch.

      Tips & Warnings

  • If you are having a beach wedding, couples can simply pick up a handful of sand from the beach.

  • If you still want the colors, use the beach sand as the family or spiritual "base" and colored sand for the bride and groom. This way you still have sand from the beach where you were married, but also a bit of color.

  • The simplest ceremony eliminates the parents and religious foundation, and simply has the bride and groom pour sand into the container at the same time.

  • Order extra sand and experiment with layering it in the vase before the wedding. Let everyone practice so the actual keepsake vase will have a nice design.

  • You can order more sand in the two wedding colors you use to represent the bride and groom. Layer this extra colored sand in candle holders and position white votive candles in the center. Place them on each table at the reception.

  • Another option is to layer the bride and groom sand in tiny bottles with corks and seal them. Hand paint your wedding monogram and the date on each bottle for a wedding favor.

  • Even when sealed with wax, the sand ceremony vase needs to be handled very carefully. Moving and shaking it will cause the sand to mix and you will lose the color distinctions and patterns. Pick a place to set it and try not to move it often.

  • Avoid using too many colors in the vase. The most appealing use the neutral foundation (which can be altered to represent the families instead of God) and two wedding colors.