(Closed) The Unity Candle – how does it work?

posted 8 years ago in Catholic
Post # 3
1310 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

You are right, the “traditional” way is that the moms light 2 candles at the beginning and then the bride and groom, after the vows, take each candle and light a third candle together.

The Unity Candle is not a Catholic tradition, though, and actually a lot of Catholic churches forbid them entirely. The US bishops put out some document about it not being an appropriate symbol – the two lit candles are supposed to represent the bride and groom individually and the third candle their life together, so why are they being lit by the moms (shouldn’t the bride and groom carry the candles in together, already lit in the processional?) That’s the point the bishops conference made anyway. It’s kind of splitting hairs a little.

If your church has a different set-up it could be they are just trying to make the Unity Candle more liturgically correct! With you lighting the candle that represents you instead of your mom doing it. I would speak to the priest or even just the parish secretary if he is hard to get a hold of. I am sure the secretary knows how it usually goes down. And they won’t make you have the Unity Candle either if you don’t want to. I am omitting it because extra stuff like that in the Mass really bothers me, and I think the wedding Mass is long enough…

Post # 4
1940 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

I’m not Catholic, however we are using a unity candle.  Our mother’s are lighting the candles, and our minister is explaining the light of the candles by them as “the faith, wisdom and love” that have been “bestowed upon us”.  Basically, that we come from two different families.  When we light our candle, it represents the “union of our lives.” 


So basically, we aren’t using the symbolism of the two candles to mean the bride and the groom individually.  We are using the individual candles to represent how our families have impacted our separate lives.  I’m having a hard time explaining it though.

Post # 5
1403 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

Magdalena is correct; the unity candle is not a Catholic tradition.  As such, I think they won’t care who lights the candles or how you go about it.  Please check whether your church will even allow you to use a unity candle, if you haven’t already, because some Catholic churches forbid them.

I’m having a Catholic mass and will not be having a unity candle.  For Catholics, a lit candle represents the Light of Christ, and to me it would just seem weird to have a candle inside the church that represented anything but Christ.  (Maybe that’s why some churches don’t like them.)

You should have the unity candle ceremony just after you’ve exchanged vows and rings, to symbolize that you joined your lives together at that exact moment.

Post # 7
175 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

If you want to include your mom in a role, why don’t you have both your mom and dad walk you down the aisle?  My church is giving me this option in the procession which even includes the mom walking the groom down the aisle.  I’ve never heard of it before but it sounds like a great way to include parents (versus having them just be seated before the procession).  I guess it’s not even a Catholic tradition for the Father to walk the bride down the aisle. 

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