(Closed) Unity candle is part of the catholic mass? Who lights the tapers and when?

posted 5 years ago in Catholic
Post # 3
7211 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2015

@futuremrscap:  I have no answer for when it’s supposed to happen but it is allowed by some priests. You’ll have to ask during your wedding prep. 

Post # 4
2475 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

It’s not required, but you can request it.  (I’ve never heard of anyone denied in my area, but that may not be true elsewhere.)

Generally, the unity candle is done after the vows and exchanging the rings.  MOB and MOG light the two smaller candles.  The bride and groom then use these smaller candles to light a larger one, and then blow theirs out.  The main candle stays lit for the remainder of mass.

But that’s general.  There could be other ways to do it.  I’d chat with your priest. 🙂

Post # 5
9954 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

It depends on the Priest…

As it isn’t a traditional element of the Catholic Wedding Ceremony (remembering here that the Catholic Church is different in how they view marriage… in the Catholic Faith, Marriage is a solemn ceremony… and one of the holy sacraments)

Same reason that things like Music has a short list as well on what is and isn’t acceptable.

Hope this helps,

PS… My First Marriage (circa 1980) my Ex was Catholic but we married in a Protestant Church.  We also did the Unity Candle Ceremony… it happened after our Vows and before we went off to sign the Register (Canadian Wedding custom)


Post # 6
133 posts
Blushing bee

Some churches will allow you to do a unity candle if your wedding does not include the Eucharist.   You’d have to ask your priest.

Post # 7
3771 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

We didn’t have one, and I didn’t ask to have one. I didn’t see the point considering the whole mass and ceremony was about unity, the candle seemed unecessarily redundant. But just ask your priest, he’ll fill you in on it. 

Post # 8
1060 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

@futuremrscap:  our priest had no problem with it, we included it for cultural reasons along with a few other traditions. Our moms lit the side candles after the opening prayer so they were lit during the ceremonty. After our vows we went up and lit the unity candle.

Post # 9
227 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

My brother in law did at his wedding. The parents lit the 2 smaller candles during the processional. Then the bride and groom later during the ceremony. 

Post # 10
3697 posts
Sugar bee

It will depend on how conservative/traditional your priest/parish/diocese are whether or not it’s allowed.

Many parishes don’t permit Unity candles because it’s more of a pop culture “tradition” (it originated with a soap opera a couple of decades ago and Hallmark has been one of its biggest drivers), not something going back centuries, and it’s kind of a quasi-religious/spiritual thing that doesn’t fit well within the liturgy and mixes up some of the symbolism.

Symbolism and ritual are very important in Catholic liturgies. Everything is done according to the Church’s rules and traditions, and extra elements aren’t supposed to be added in. With regard to candles, their light is symbolic of the presence of God, and the Easter Candle is always supposed to be the most prominent candle used in the liturgy. Many parishes don’t allow Unity candles at weddings because a) they disturb the symbolism – their light supposedly symbolized the couple, not the presence of God, and that is inappropriate, and b) they end up being more prominent than the Easter candle, which is also inappropriate.

The nicest and most thoughtful use of the Unity candle I’ve ever seen at a Catholic wedding had the couple use their baptismal candles, which were lit from the Easter candle (as they are at Baptism) as a reminder of the presence of God in the couple’s individual lives, and then they used them to light a candle to symbolize the presence of God in their marriage. The baptismal candles were not blown out afterward (God continues to be present in individuals both before and after marriage).

Post # 11
299 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@futuremrscap:  i had read that it’s not usually part of the catholic ceremony so I checked with my church office and they said it was up to us if we wanted to do it. I was never a fan of it so I said we weren’t gonna do it and put it out of my mind. Fast forward to rehearsal, the priest asked where the candle was and I told him we weren’t gonna do it. He said we should. So my sister, who lives in our nearby “city” , had to get us a unity candle set and drop it off at the church on her way to my house the morning of the wedding. Darling Husband said the altar servers lit them before the ceremony. Since we hadn’t planned on doing the candle we didn’t plan who would light them and when. I think it was done between the vows and the rings. 

Post # 12
3586 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2000

@futuremrscap:  What is appealing to you about this?

One bride here said a while ago ,and that sticks in my mind: it’s bad theology.

I think it’s “no” theology. It’s seems kind of like a Hallmark moment to me. Sorry, but I don’t mean that in a good way.

I say that being not religious. But if I were Catholic, I’d sink deep into the theological traditions of the centuries and not bring in something that seems– faux, like the candle or sand ceremony.

But hey, we are all different. I am just suggesting that you give a moment of thought to the candle ceremony and what it really means, don’t do it because you think it is traiditional, it is not.

Post # 13
82 posts
Worker bee

Ours calls it out as a no go and states if you want it do it at your reception.

The topic ‘Unity candle is part of the catholic mass? Who lights the tapers and when?’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors