Outdoor Unity Candle Ideas

by Krista Sheehan

A traditional unity candle ceremony for a wedding involves three candles: two side taper candles and one unity candle. For the ceremony, the bride and groom use their individual taper candles to light the unity candle together. Unfortunately, complications can occur, such as wind or rain during an outdoor wedding. There are techniques that can be used to ensure a successful unity candle ceremony for an outdoor wedding.

Candle Coverings

If your wedding ceremony is outside, you will need to protect the candle from extinguishing in the wind. Consider placing all three candles into large vases or hurricane lamps. If possible, encase each candle separately. The tops of the enclosure should be left open, allowing for heat and smoke to escape. However, the top of the enclosure should also be somewhat tapered, which is more effective at keeping wind away from the flame. For the two side taper candles, plan to use hurricane lamps. The candle simply sits in the middle of this lamp enclosure. When it's time for the ceremony, simply pull the hurricane lamp up over the candle until it is free. The lamp can then be placed back over the taper candle after the unity candle is lit. Since the unity candle will not be moved, either a hurricane lamp or glass vase can be used to enclose the flame.

Ceremony Enclosures

Consider enclosing the table where the unity candle ceremony will take place. This enclosure does not need to be significantly large, it should just be big enough to protect the candles from wind and rain. Place the candles onto a table and construct a small enclosure with four walls--three on the sides and one on the top. The front should remain open, allowing the candles to be visible at all times. For a simpler idea, use a hutch or curio cabinet. The candles can be placed onto a shelf, keeping it protected from wind and rain. However, keep in mind that the shelf space should be large enough to comfortably contain all three candles.

Candle Alternatives

If your outdoor wedding is held on a particularly windy day, and you do not have any enclosures available for the candles, consider substituting the unity candle with an oil lamp. At the time of the ceremony, the bride and groom can both light a match and light the oil lamp together. Or use tiki torches for a more casual outdoor wedding. At the time of the unity candle ceremony, the bride and groom will both light the torch together. Although the flame on a tiki torch is susceptible to being blown out, it's slightly more resistant to wind than a regular candle.

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