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Root Candles: The Unity Candle Tradition


In the Christian faith, the Unity Candle is a tradition that many couples begin at their wedding ceremony. Traditionally, three candles are displayed: one that represents the bride, one that represents the groom, and one that represents their covenant marriage.

Genesis 2:24 says, “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.” The way that the candles are lit reflects the leaving and cleaving of the bride and groom.

After the mother of the bride and groom are escorted down the aisle at the start of the ceremony, they will light the two outside candles to symbolize each individual family.

Vows are then exchanged and the pronouncement of husband and wife is proclaimed. The bride and groom move towards the candles, each taking their own lit candle and lighting together the middle pillar candle, symbolizing their two lives becoming one.

The tradition is symbolic and also refers to Jesus being the Light of the world. The concept that Jesus is the Light and that we are to let our lights shine before men in order to reflect God’s glory (Matthew 5:16) make the use of flames a poetic depiction of two Christian lives becoming one. Once the two flames merge and create a new flame, there is no way to then separate out the two individual flames. They are inextricably one.

Some couples prefer to blow the bride’s and groom’s candles out after the unity candle is lit. This symbolizes the fact that the couple no longer exists without one another.

Many couples choose simplistic taper candles or a traditional wedding candle for this ceremony. While others select highly decorative displays or candles that are symbolic of their heritage, favorite colors or other cultural symbols. 



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