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Unity Rituals and Symbols Ideas: Sand Ceremony!

Updated: May 1, 2020

Unity Rituals and Symbols Ideas: Sand Ceremony!

What is a 'Sand Ceremony'?

It is a ritual that symbolically unites individuals into a union, using different colour sands. This 'blending' symbolises the 'joining' and visual entwining of the couple.

Where does the 'Sand Ceremony' originate from?

Couples used to 'throw' two handfuls of sand together in the wind. In doing so, the grains were combined and could not be separated or distinguished. This symbolised the couples unity and the longevity of their eternal union.

So you may wish to have a sand ceremony ritual to symbolise your 'union' and support for each other in your ceremony.

How can you make your Sand Ceremony Unique?

The colours of the sands may have particular significance or meaning to you, your family, your culture or world view. For example, colours representing different qualities in your lives, different dreams or hopes or varying promises. You may include sand from various beaches you have traveled to or ones that have special meaning to you. If the ceremony is being officiated on a beach then you could literally pick up the sand and use from the spot where you pledged your love, commitment and promises to each other! You may prefer to match the colours to the rest of your ceremony colour scheme or to match with the decor of your home. Yet more choices and decisions!

If you wished to add a religious element to the ritual, some couples chose to have a base sand of neutral or white, present already in the main vase, filling approximately one-third of the main vase. This sand is used to symbolise God as the 'foundation' for the marriage.

What colours have meaning for you? Which colours would you chose? Why?

What happens during a 'Sand Ceremony'?

The ritual can be as bespoke and as personalised as the sand used.

The choices continue with the types of 'vessel' or 'vases' you wish to use, during the ceremony, to house the coloured sands and to pour from. Also the decide on the style of the keepsake main vessel/vase to keep as your visual reminder in your home. So usually, three vases/vessels, two of them with different coloured sands (one representing each part of the couple) and then a larger vase for the 'union'. Each partner will take it in turns to pour their sand into one creating a layering of colours, signifying the blending of them as 'two individuals' into one 'united couple'. A few words about what the unity means to the couple/families are shared. If the couple prefers, the celebrant will say this for the couple or provide a suitable reading to guide and explain the ceremony to the guests.

If your ritual is representing more than the two individuals, but in fact two families, with children, joining you may want to add extra vases with additional colours of sand, to represent each member,

At the end of the sand ceremony the couple will 'seal' their main vase/vessel. This symbolises the permanent, unbroken tie and relationship they have formed during the ceremony. The celebrant may say something to complete the symbolism: "May you be as inseparable as these grains of sand.”

Design your very own sand ceremony, 'own it' and make it meaningful to you!

Why chose a 'sand' element in your ceremony?

  • You will be able to design and make your own bespoke sand ceremony, with meaning to you as a couple/family.

  • It provides a visual way to have two or lots of people (multiple families) united in the ceremony, through different coloured sands layered together. Some couples will ask their parents to be involved.

  • You may wish to have a memento and 'keepsake' to remind you of this special day. This can be displayed in your home and taken with you if you move.

  • You may enjoy alternative ways to symbolise your 'joining' and 'uniting' as a couple of new family.

  • You can create your own sand ceremony in any venue: in a field, woodland, beach or hotel. The benefit of a sand ceremony, rather than a unity candle ceremony, is for practical reasons for an outdoor ceremony, where 'lighting' candles may become problematic!

  • You may have seen 'sand ceremonies' in the media, on TV or in films. They are becoming more popular,a s people prefer to have their bespoke ceremony, rather than a ceremony 'off the peg'.

  • A sand ceremony ritual adds a beautiful visual 'union', for both you and your guests, with the layers developing before your eyes.

Can you have other Unity Symbols along with a sand ceremony ritual?

Yes you can! That is the beauty of designing your own ceremony with your celebrant. There are so many other rituals or symbolic actions that can accompany a sand ceremony. Perhaps a 'handfasting' ceremony, a 'loving cup' ceremony, 'jumping the broom' ceremony or 'cake and ale' ceremony. The options are there for your choosing! (Please see my other blogs for more information on these!)

'Your Day, Your Ceremony, Your Way!'

Donna x

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