If you’ve attended many weddings lately, or read trendy magazines or newspapers, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that the ceremonies are no longer just your Grandmother’s and Grandfather’s typical church wedding.

The Unity Sand Ceremony, a celebration that is usually two to three minutes in length, is a meaningful joining of two lives. In this timeless ritual of marriage, the couple ceremoniously pours various colors of sand from a container, such as a seashell, into one special container symbolizing their coming together as one.

This unique celebration was recently brought into the public eye with the marriage of Trista Rehn and Ryan Sutter of the TV series, “The Bachelorette”. Rather than the time-honored ritual of the Unity Candle Ceremony, the famous couple chose the alternative, Unity Sand Ceremony. Their decision has sparked a craze in weddings across the country.

The ceremony has controversial origins, some believing that it began with the Native Americans and some insisting the Hawaiians were the ancestors of the legend. Whatever its origin, the Unity Sand Ceremony is fast becoming a nationwide wedding ceremony trend.

The flowing sand and blending of the colors symbolize the bringing together of two lives into one. Some couples prefer to leave a small amount of sand in their respective container to show that even though they now function as one, they remain individuals.

A staple in marriages everywhere, The Unity Candle Ceremony has long been a tradition for marriages both elaborate and simple. Usually, there is a single candle that both bride and groom light from a flame of their own single candle. Parents or other members of the wedding party often join in the candle lighting ceremony.

The Unity Sand Ceremony can also be altered in many ways to include family and friends. Besides the bride and groom, various colors of sand are given to wedding members who will add their sand to the couple’s sand, all flowing into the container, creating a colorful and one-of-a kind symbol of unity.

In an age where couples are planning weddings that are unique to their beliefs and lifestyle, the sand ceremony can be personalized many different ways to fit the occasion. After the ceremony, the couple has a unique keepsake to remember their wedding day.

Hawaii has been a popular destination for weddings since airplanes became the preferred mode of travel. Its mild weather and sandy beaches create a perfect environment for the entire wedding party to be barefoot on the beach while witnessing the Unity Sand Ceremony – a tradition as old and exceptional as the islands themselves.

Not going to have a wedding on a beach? Don’t worry. Sand is available online, or the couple can use sand from a destination they’ve visited or that has a special meaning in their lives. Distinctive containers designed to fit any religion or lifestyle can also be purchased online.

Many couples write their own vows for the ceremony, but passages from ancient Hawaiian or Native American weddings can easily be found on the Internet for the portion of your wedding relating to the Unity Sand Ceremony.

Whatever your dream wedding entails, consider incorporating the Unity Sand Ceremony into the celebration. You’ll be sure to create memories that your guests will talk about for a long time to come.

by Sharon Vaz