Wedding itineraries are not set in stone; couples are free to include and exclude certain ceremonies or activities as they wish. They may feel that some traditions represent them better than others, and that is perfectly fine.
The wedding sand ceremony, which is also referred to as a unity sand ceremony, is a wedding tradition wherein two small vessels of sand are poured into a third vessel. A deeper discussion of the ceremony is given below, followed by samples of scripts for a typical ceremony. Additional considerations regarding the ceremony are also enumerated.
What Is a Wedding Sand Ceremony?
The wedding sand ceremony symbolizes the act of two individuals coming together and becoming one family; the larger vessel, with its combined grains of sand, stands for the couple’s dreams and desires for their future.
This ceremony arose as an alternative to the candle ceremony, which can be seen across various cultures like Colombian wedding traditions. Particularly, candle flames would always be put out by the wind.
Traditionally, unity sand ceremonies have been practiced within Christian and Catholic weddings. However, any couple is free to incorporate this ceremony into their wedding, regardless of their religion, location, and sexuality.
The officiant of the wedding is in charge of facilitating the wedding sand ceremony. You will need the following items to perform this ceremony:
- Sand. You may opt to prepare sand with two different colors, one for each partner. This will make your grains of sand easier to distinguish once they are poured into the large vessel, making for a lovely visual effect. You can gather sand from a location that is important to your relationship, or you can simply buy sand from a craft store.
- Two small vessels. This can be of any material, though many couples tend to use glass so that the sand is visible. You can also use a family heirloom.
- One large vessel. Again, many couples prefer glass vessels so that pouring the sand is visible.
- A table. You are free to place this anywhere within your venue. However, you may want to put it closer to the audience so they can watch the wedding sand ceremony clearly. Likewise, you can decorate this table with fabric.
Within the timeline of a typical wedding, the wedding sand ceremony usually takes place after the exchange of rings. However, you are free to place the ceremony wherever is convenient for you and your officiant.
Wedding Sand Ceremony Script Samples
2. “In the vessel in front of you today, you can see three layers of differently colored sand. These layers of sand represent marriage and the bride and groom who are participating in this sacrament. The first layer of neutral sand signifies that the marriage is grounded on the earth.
The following layers of sand with different colors represent the bride and the groom. The layering of sand is symbolic of the fact that the foundation of their marriage is the strength and cooperation of both individuals.
The last layer of sand is a combination of the bride’s and groom’s sand. This layer represents the coming together of these individuals into one life, one marriage, and one commitment.”
3. “On this day, this union is signified through the pouring of these two containers of sand: one representing you, the bride, and all that you have been, all that you are, and all that you will be; and the other representing you, the groom, and all that you have been, all that you are, and all that you will be. Once the two containers are poured, there will no longer be individual containers. Rather, they will be joined as one. Just as these grains of sand can never be separated into individual containers again, so shall your union be.”
As you pour your vessels of sand into this third container, the grains of sand will be joined into one. As such, you will no longer have separative lives; rather, your lives will be intertwined and interlaced upon your marriage.”
6. “Partners, you have just formalized your commitment to each other by exchanging your vows and your rings. These vows and rings represent your love and loyalty to each other for the rest of your life.
Today, you will also embody your commitment by pouring these two individual vessels of sand into a single vessel. The two vessels represent both of you, the persons that you were, the persons that you are, and the persons that you will be.
As you pour your vessels of sand into a single vessel, you will no longer be able to separate them into individual containers again. May this third vessel of sand represent a harmonious, balanced, and pleasant marriage.”
Jenna, start pouring around a quarter of the sand from your vessel. Once she is done, Korey, start pouring a quarter of yours. Repeat this process until both of you only have a quarter of your original amount of sand. This symbolizes that even though you are coming together in marriage, you two are still unique and capable individuals on your own.
As you pour your sand into one vessel from each of your separate vessels, the new chapter of your life begins. We pray for you to have a happy, loving, and understanding home, and for your circumstances to be fortunate. Now, blend your sand to represent your union. Just as the sand can never be poured again into separate containers, so will your marriage and household be.”
They have decided that a unity sand ceremony will express their sentiments best.
Evelyn and Luke, you may now take turns and begin pouring your individual vessels of sand into the vase. This act represents your life moving forward, the journey you will take together, and the support you two will provide to each other for the rest of your life.”
Additional Considerations for Wedding Sand Ceremonies
As stated above, wedding sand ceremonies can occur in any type of wedding regardless of its location. However, this tradition is highly suitable for destination weddings, especially if you are holding a beach wedding. The sand for your ceremony can directly come from the beach, making it more special and sentimental.
Before proceeding with the script for the sand ceremony, you may want to transition from the ceremony that precedes it. As mentioned above, the wedding sand ceremony typically occurs after the exchange of rings. A simple yet effective way of transitioning is to announce the end of one ceremony and the start of another:
- “As a physical representation of lifelong love and commitment, Morgan and Annie have exchanged rings. They have also decided to have a unity sand ceremony to further signify their partnership.”
- “Now that we have concluded the exchange of rings, may I please ask Thomas and Wendy to walk to the table to begin the wedding sand ceremony?”
After the conclusion of the wedding sand ceremony, you may also transition to the next ceremony. The simplest way to do so is to ask the couple to go back to the altar.
If the unity sand ceremony is taking too long, it might be best to cut it short — you can always go back to it after the wedding. Before you and the wedding party enter the reception, you can continue the unity sand ceremony with the added benefit of intimacy.
The vessel containing your combined sand is a lifelong keepsake for your wedding. It is yours to keep; you can display it in your home or store it somewhere safe. It is a constant reminder that your marriage is a two-person partnership and that your marriage needs you and your partner’s commitment to work.