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The 3 Most Popular Unity Ceremonies in 2023, According to New AMM Survey!

Published Friday, Jun. 30th, 2023

Photo: Thanh Thang / Unsplash

The results are in! These are the most popular wedding unity rituals of the year...



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AMM Audio Articles · The 3 Most Popular Unity Ceremonies in 2023, According to New AMM Survey!




AMM asked 150 soon-to-be-weds which type of unity ceremony they’ll be including in their weddings this year… and the results are in! 

We asked:


‘What kind of unity ceremony will you include in your wedding?’ 


Below are the three most common answers, along with a few unique rituals that we think deserve special attention. 


Before we get into the details, we want to share one surprising result from our survey: Many of the people we spoke to hadn’t heard of a ‘unity ceremony,’ and weren’t familiar with its purpose in a wedding ceremony. 


Wedding officiants, take note! The couples you work with can benefit from your expertise in this area – consider suggesting a few of your favorite unity rituals during an early-stage ceremony planning meeting for couples to choose from. Unity ceremonies are the perfect way to turn a simple wedding ceremony into something truly spectacular! 


If you're a first-time wedding officiant and aren't familiar with the purpose of a unity ceremony, this resource is a great place to start: 




Close up photo of a wedding officiant places a hand on a couple's hands during a hand blessing ceremony

Photo (Cropped): Stefan Lehner / Unsplash

An Officiant holds the couple's hands in her own as she performs the hand blessing ceremony.

3 Popular Unity Ceremonies Ideas for 2023 Weddings & Beyond



1. Unity Candle Lighting Ceremony 


There’s a reason this symbolic unity ceremony is a classic! Two flames becoming one, representing two hearts joined in marriage, lighting the path of love into the future… 


The Unity Candle Lighting Ceremony was the most popular unity ceremony among soon-to-be-weds. It involves each partner lighting a larger ‘unity candle’ with two small tapers, to symbolize two lives merging into one, burning brighter in the unbreakable bond in marriage. This ritual is a good fit for religious or non-religious couples, and can be combined with a special reading or music. 


The links below offer more insight into this ritual, including what to do, where to stand, examples of the perfect wording for wedding officiants, and more.




Close up photo of a woman in a white lace wedding dress and a groom in a blue suit each holding a small white taper candle and lighting a larger candle together, as part of a unity candle ceremony at their wedding

Photo: Enrique / Pixabay

A beautiful symbol of unity: This bride and groom use simple white taper candles to light the decorative unity candle during an outdoor wedding celebration. 



2. Unity Sand Ceremony / Sand Blending Ceremony


This timeless unity ceremony took second place among the most popular unity ceremonies of the year. It’s a versatile ritual, and a favorite choice for blended families, couples with children, couples who want to include parents in the wedding ceremony, and couples who want an elegant keepsake from their ceremony.


During the ritual, each participant is given a colorful container of sand, which is poured into a larger glass vessel, forming beautiful alternating bands of colored sand, and representing the blending of two lives (or two families) into one. The links below offer more insight into this ritual, including what to do, examples of the perfect wording for wedding officiants, creative alternatives to sand, and more.




Close up photo of a bride and groom in wedding clothes pouring colorful sand from small containers into small glass vase during a unity sand ceremony. They are wearing flower wreaths and sitting in the sand at a beach

Photo: Наталья / Pixabay

Unity Sand Ceremonies create symbolic and colorful keepsakes that can be displayed in the home for years to come! 



3. Hand Blessing Ceremony


This intimate unity ceremony involves the wedding officiant offering a blessing for a happy future as the couple holds hands, symbolically taking the other’s hand in marriage and pledging to be present, loving, and devoted for all the years to come. 


There are many variations of this blessing, each with its own unique wording. Hand blessings can be religious, spiritual, or non-religious, and can also be paired with a couple's favorite readings on love or friendship.


One version begins with the familiar phrase, “These are the hands of your best friend…” and reminds the couple to always treasure each other and their shared love. The article linked below offers more insight into this ritual, including a sample wedding officiant script. 




Two brides hold hands during a hand blessing ritual at their wedding, they are also holding flowers between them. Behind them, a wedding officiant in a colorful dress reads from a wedding script.

Photo: Sofia Hernandez / Unsplash

Hand blessings can be performed in several ways - couples can clasp both hands, or one hand, and the officiant might place a hand over theirs, or simply stand beside them while delivering a blessing. 



Unity Ceremony Honorable Mentions


Several other unity ceremonies received noteworthy attention and enthusiasm from our soon-to-be-married respondents. These included ‘Jumping the Broom,’ Handfasting, a Rosary Lasso Ceremony, and Baptism / Feet Washing Rituals. You can read more about each of these unique unity ceremonies by clicking the links below. 







A bride and groom jump over the wedding broom during their outdoor ceremony, they are wearing a gown and suit, and there's a purple wedding arch behind them

Jumping the Broom! 



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Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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