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Don’t Use Sand! -- Creative Alternatives for Your Sand Ceremony

Published Thursday, Mar. 4th, 2021

Illustration of a bowl with painted red hearts along the side, sitting on a gray table surface. Above the bowl are two silver baking scoops, pouring sugar and flour into the bowl as a unique alternative to a sand pouring ceremony for a wedding.
A sugar and flour blending ceremony for a wedding between bakers! (Illustrations by Jessica Levey)

Creative alternatives to a wedding sand pouring or sand blending unity ceremony



Sand ceremonies are amazing! We love the meaning behind them, officiants love performing them, and couples love having a beautiful keepsake around to remind them of their wedding day for years to come.


But -- what if you want something a little different? Something special, maybe even something offbeat or quirky? 


If you’re considering a sand ceremony or unity ritual, but want something more personal to you and your unique relationship, we have a few great suggestions. 


And if you’re an officiant looking for alternatives to offer couples -- you’re in the right place! 




Here are 4 alternatives to use in this pouring ritual instead of sand, to personalize and customize your ceremony! 


1. Flour and sugar 


This is a sweet choice (pun intended) if you’re a couple of bakers in love! Pour the mixture into a clear cookie jar for an extra cute touch. You can also use two kinds of sugar instead, to make things even sweeter.  



2. Salt and pepper (or other spices!) 


This timeless combination is a perfect mixing of opposite, but complementary, flavors. If you and your sweetie see yourselves this way, or if you love to cook together, choose seasonings instead of sand! 


(Check out this modern couple who used salt and pepper in their ceremony during the first summer of the Covid 19 pandemic: From Ordinary Officiant to High Priestess



illustration of salt and pepper shakers to show they can be used in place of sand in your ceremony

Salt & pepper or spice blending ceremony



3. Ground coffee 

If you hail from a place that celebrates coffee culture (like Seattle, Kona, Rome, or Havana), or if you and your partner met at a cute cafe and bonded over a strong cup of joe, why not use coffee grounds in a unity ritual? This is practical too… you’ll make the perfect blend for your first morning as a married couple! 



illustration of a french press with two kinds of ground coffee to be used in place of sand in your ceremony

Coffee blending ceremony



4. Soil from a meaningful place

If you want your new family to be rooted in the love and support you’ve found in your past, you can perform this ritual with soil or dirt from places that mean something special to you and your partner -- a family farm, property, hometown, or other beloved place (such as a favorite vacation spot). 


illustration of a small planter with soil and a little seedling , with two small glasses of different types of soil next to it to represent each partner in the unity ritual

Soil blending ceremony



The absolute best thing about unity rituals -- and wedding ceremonies in general -- is how infinitely adaptable they are! Traditional sand ceremonies are beautiful just as they are, but for couples looking for something new, there are countless options to choose from. 


Of course, when you stop using sand, it might feel wrong to call it a sand ceremony… If you’re an officiant or couple trying to describe a custom ritual like one of these, come up with something clever that makes you smile (‘Love Buzz Coffee Ceremony’, anyone?) or stick to the term ‘unity ritual.’ The name isn’t important, the symbolism is all that matters!  



Looking for a sample wedding ceremony script that includes a sand ceremony? 


Try one of the scripts below, or modify any of the other templates in our Library



Or check out Lucky in Love to find symbolism that speaks to you, and Navigating Your Wedding Ceremony to create your own custom ceremony! 



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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