Sand ceremonies are perfect for beach weddings -- or any outdoor ceremony where a light breeze might thwart the lighting of a unity candle.

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Sand Ceremony Steps

As far as wedding-ceremony extras go, this one has quickly gained in popularity for good reason. It's a rather simple, visually appealing and highly customizable ritual that not only contributes a bit of worldliness but also leaves the newlyweds with a meaningful souvenir of the big day.

Plus, unlike the unity candle, this ceremony isn't complicated by a light breeze. Sand ceremonies can move outdoors with no problem at all.

At its simplest, a sand ceremony involves a symbolic blending of two different-colored sands into a single vessel. The meaning is clear: The blending of two different beings, the bride and the groom, into a single, inseparable unit that is their marriage -- the joining of their lives. Hard as it would be to separate out those grains of sand, that's how difficult it is to separate these two people. It usually takes place after the exchange of rings and vows (although it can go before or even during), and lasts just a couple of minutes.

A basic sand ceremony involves three (typically glass) vessels -- one holding the bride's sand, one holding the groom's sand, and an empty one that will soon hold both, all sitting on a small table or stand. It goes something like this:

  1. The officiant explains the meaning of the ceremony and how it relates to the two people getting married.
  2. The officiant invites the groom to pour a bit of his sand (let's call it blue sand) into the empty vessel.
  3. The officiant invites the bride to do the same with her sand (let's say it's pink).
  4. The bride and groom then pour their sands at the same time, in a single stream, into the vessel.
  5. The officiant closes the ceremony with some words about the inextricable joining of their lives.

The end result is a glass container holding one of blue sand (the groom), one layer of pink sand (the bride), and a top layer of purple sand, showing how the joining of the two have created a new, equally beautiful entity.

And, it's an entity that's easy to make entirely your own…