Symbolic Actions

Symbolic action, unity candle,  sand ceremony, wish tree, handfasting, celebrant,

Have you ever heard of symbolic actions? I hadn't, and now I love them!

They can add depth and a lovely feeling of meaning and togetherness to your ceremony AND you can ever so easily involve family members or friends to help them feel included in your day and in your lives.  Here are a few of my favourites:

Unity Candles

These can be used in all different types of ceremony whether it be your wedding, naming, vow renewal or commitment ceremony, and they can be used in a variety of ways. Just one example of how this works is – the couple, grandparents or godparents light a small candle each, which represent each of them. They then use the flame from their candles to light a larger (unity) candle. The unity candle symbolises the joining together of the couple or family, with the flame shining big and bright, symbolising the joining together of their lives. How lovely!  

Sand Ceremony

The couple, parents or family members  have their own small jar of coloured sand which they pour into a larger vase. As the sand blends together, it represents their lives blending together, two becoming one, with their strengths, personalities and best bits all mixed up together in one big vase full of happiness. 


A traditional pagan ritual, but let’s modernise it, if you wish!  The couple face each other and join hands. Ribbons are wound around the joint hands and tied in a knot. This symbolises (yes, you guessed …!) ‘tying the knot’.  You could choose ribbons to match your colour scheme, or you could use something from a shared interest – boot laces if you enjoy hiking, rope if you enjoy rock climbing … the world is your oyster … be creative, be different!  

Ring Warming

This involves just about EVERYBODY at your ceremony! The rings are passed around all the guests at the start of the ceremony, who each make a wish to you and your future together.  Every time you look at your rings you will feel full of love and blessings from everybody who shared your special day with you. 

Wish Tree

Ask your guests to write messages or promises which can be inspirational, hopes and dreams or even something lighthearted and fun and hang them on a tree at your ceremony.  The messages can be kept for the future to read and remember all the love, support and wishes your friends and family have made for you.