Do I have to have a unity ceremony?
The simple answer is no, you do not have to have anything in your ceremony that you don't want to have. Yes, it's that simple, well, working with me it is.
First let's understand what a unity ceremony is. It is a symbolic gesture to show the blending of your two individual lives into one united married life.
Some traditional ceremonies include a unity candle, unity sand, chocolate sharing, beer pouring, wine blending, heck anything you can think of can be used to do a unity ceremony.
I tell all the couples I work with that if you want to add a little something extra to your ceremony, go for it! But first, think of how it represents the two of you and how, it should be something that when your guests see it they say "oh, that's so them" not "why are they pouring sand into a vase?"
Their are many ways to make a unity ceremony more personal. For example, if your sticking with the traditional lighting of the candles then perhaps right before you light the unity candle we can invite your mothers or parents forward to light the individual taper candles and we can explain that in lighting these candles they are honoring that the children they raised now stand before them as amazing adults and that they support the joining of your lives in marriage and they welcome your spouse into their lives.
Or if you have chosen a tree planting ceremony, you could bring with you dirt from each of your parents homes, using this dirt to blend your lives on your wedding day.
Remember though, a unity ceremony is not required. It is perfectly acceptable to skip it altogether. If it does not feel right to you, then don't do it.
Feel free to ask me for suggestions on a unity ceremony and how to make it your own. I am always happy to share ideas and suggestions with you.