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How to Include a Unity Painting Ceremony in Your Wedding

Published Wednesday, May. 29th, 2024

Photo shows a bride and groom kneeling beside a canvas, pouring paint during a unity painting ceremony.
A beautiful real-world example of a unity painting ceremony, captured by Colorado photographer Ashley, of Anthos House Photography. (cropped image) Ashley says: "Kevin+Jordan’s was a work of art and their love story is even more of an emotional beauty."

Add symbolism to your wedding with an artistic Paint Pouring Unity Ceremony, with a sample script for the wedding officiant


Marriage is messy, colorful, and bright. It’s surprising, cooperative, and beautiful. Marriage is teamwork, and some days it's just work. 


Most of all, marriage is an art.


Celebrate your love with a symbolic unity ritual that symbolizes everything your marriage is meant to be – a Unity Painting Ceremony!


The best thing about this ritual, besides its beautiful symbolism? You don’t have to be an artist to do it! Acrylic pour paintings are fun and easy to make – no advanced art skills required. So grab your canvas and some paints, and make a keepsake of your love to display for years to come. 


Follow this simple ‘how-to’ guide, and scroll down for a sample officiant script to use during the ceremony. 



A bride and groom paint a canvas together during their wedding ceremony, snapshot from Instagram

Above: A bride and groom pour paint on a canvas during their Unity Painting Ceremony, while friends and family watch! (Photo Credit:


What is a Unity Painting Ceremony? 


This sweet ceremony is a visual symbol of a couple’s vows to work together in marriage, and to celebrate both their individual qualities and shared values and joys. For blended families, this ceremony can symbolize different personalities working together to become one big, loving family.


Each participant is given one (or multiple) colors of paint to pour onto the canvas. These colors might be symbolic, or hold a spiritual or magical meaning. As the couple (and any children) pours their paint/s, the colors blend and swirl together in surprising and beautiful ways to represent the blending of two lives into one in marriage. 


The paint pouring ceremony usually takes place after the couple has exchanged their marriage vows and before they’re pronounced married by the officiant. The couple can pour the paint at an angle while the canvas rests in an easel, or pour down onto a canvas that's been placed on the ground or table. We recommend you practice this ceremony to decide what works best for you. 


Alternatives: Love this idea but think it requires too much skill, or make too much of a mess? You've got options! Use paint brushes to put paint on your canvas, or consider a handprint painting instead! To make handprint paintings, just press your hands into paint and then press them against the canvas -- cute!  


What supplies do you need for a Unity Painting Ceremony? 


Apron or Smock 


Painting, like love, can be a messy business! Couples can wear long sleeved aprons or an artist’s smock during the ceremony to keep paint off wedding dresses and suits. 


Note: You might also want to purchase a cute tarp to avoid painting the floor or table. Consider this the venue’s apron…




The years ahead are a blank canvas, full of possibilities! You’ll need a large canvas for this ceremony. Most couples will prefer a pre-stretched canvas or canvas board with acrylic gesso (a stretched white canvas). But some might want to use a wood board/panel, or another object that will be placed on display in the home, such as a vinyl record, serving tray, or picture frame. (FYI, painting on wood will take longer to dry.)


Containers to hold your paints


You can use plastic cups, squeeze bottles, glass bottles, and even spray bottles for your paint! Some options will be messier with others, but all of them will be fun. Flexible plastic cups and squeeze bottles will be the easiest to use and clean up, and will give you more control over your paint; glass bottles and cream pitchers may be more decorative and photogenic. 


If pouring paint feels too messy, grab some paintbrushes, too!


Paints & paint medium


Time to choose the paints that will symbolize you and your love! We recommend acrylic paint, as it's the easiest type of paint to use for beginners. 


There are many ways to choose your paint colors; you might be inspired by color magick; spiritual symbolism; the colors of your favorite landscape (such as a garden, forest, or beach); your personal favorites; complementary or contrasting colors; wedding theme colors; home decor colors; etc. 


Add acrylic paint medium, also called ‘flow improver,’ paint pouring medium, or acrylic paint thinner. We recommend this because acrylic paint is not as flowy as you might think, and you’ll get better blending, colors, and coverage when you mix it with a medium. Be warned that this will also make your paints a little messier, but that’s what the apron’s for!  


Note: You can use water to thin acrylic paints, but this results in a matte finish (not glossy). Using a medium keeps the paint on the surface of the canvas; it soaks in less, resulting in a glossy look. Follow your heart for the finish you want!


Not sure how much medium to add? Check out this cool artist reference on How to Use Pouring Medium When Painting With Acrylics. 


Varnish or enamel spray (Post-ceremony)


After the ceremony, give your canvas plenty of time to dry and then add a layer of varnish or enamel spray to seal and protect it for longevity. This will keep your painting looking beautiful for years to come!


Acrylic pour paintings usually take 24 to 72 hours to dry. (You’ll be able to transport it before this, just be careful not to play anything on its surface.) Once it’s dry, you can add one or two coats of acrylic varnish or enamel spray. Depending on the product you choose, this can give your painting a glossy or matte finish.


A colorful unity painting from a wedding ceremony

Above: A rainbow-colored unity painting from a fun wedding ceremony! (Photo Credit: @fun_weddings)


What to say during a Paint Pouring Unity Ceremony


Use the example below as a starting place for your own wedding ceremony. This sample officiant script can be added to a simple pre-written wedding officiant script (following the vows), or incorporated into a custom script written by you or your wedding officiant. 


Unity Painting Ceremony Sample Officiant Script


Unity Ceremony 


Officiant to the Reception


"(Partner One) and (Partner Two) have exchanged their wedding vows and rings, and will now participate in a symbolic act of love, imagination, playfulness, and teamwork – simple ingredients for lasting marriage!"


Officiant to the Person/s of Honor


"(Person/s of Honor), please help (Partner One) and (Partner Two) into their aprons…"


(The chosen guest gives the couple their aprons or smocks, helping them pull them on over their wedding dress/suit if needed. Partner One and Partner Two stand beside the table that has been set up for the painting ceremony.) 


Officiant to the Couple


"(Partner One) and (Partner Two), the colors you’ve chosen represent your personal triumphs, passions, values, and hopes for the future. The years ahead are like this blank canvas, full of possibilities and surprises. Each of you will add your own spark of color to the life you build, your unique qualities and experiences blending together to make something beautiful. Marriage is like that.


As you pour each color onto the canvas, think about what it represents about you – those memories, joys, and dreams that you carry with you into your new adventure together. You might see imperfections arise, flaws, things might get a little messy… as love can do. Sometimes it takes a little mess to make something beautiful. 


Just remember, the art of a good marriage isn’t perfection, it’s practice. It’s unity. It’s love!" 


Officiant to the Reception


"Friends, let’s cheer (Partner One) and (Partner Two) along as they start this new canvas together!" 


(Wedding guests cheer along, the officiant steps back, and the couple paints!)


(After the painting is complete, the officiant will begin the Pronouncement. Couples should remove their smocks or aprons after painting and before the pronouncement / first kiss, to capture the photo-worthy moment in their wedding clothes.) 



Officiant to the Couple


"We see you’ve got many (beautiful / colorful / unexpected) adventures ahead! And maybe a few painting classes, too…"


(Wedding officiants: The last line above is optional, as a way of bringing humor into the ceremony. Some couples might not find this funny; be sure to check in with the couple about the desired tone or ‘vibe’ of their ceremony before you write the wedding script.)


"It is now my great honor to pronounce you (husband and wife / wife and wife / etc). You’re married! 


You may now kiss!" 


(Followed by the Wedding Ceremony Recession)





See a real-world example of a Unity Painting Ceremony below! 


Husband and I created a painting for our unity ceremony! How-to photos and ceremony script I wrote to go a long with this in the comments
byu/YarnBride inweddingplanning



You might also like: 


A young bride holds a ukulele to sing her wedding vows during the marriage ceremony. She is smiling and happy, wearing a white wedding dress.


Finally found that special someone that makes your heart sing? Put your wedding vows to music! Read the full article here.



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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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