Mother's Lighting The Unity Candle, How Did You Do It?

penny_savJune 6, 2004

Ok, so the wedding is now less than a week away! I am working on those final little details. I don't want people walking away saying bad things about my wedding. I've waited 40 years for this, I want it to look very professional, organized, and ELEGANT.

I am having the mothers light the tapers for the unity candle, but I don't know how I want them to do it. Here are my choices:

1) as the ushers escort the mothers, they will walk them all the way up to the altar, then let go of her arm, and allow them to walk the rest of the way to the candle alone. They light their candle, then go back to the usher, and be escorted to their seat.

2) ushers escort mothers to their seats. Accolyte comes down the aisle and lights all the candles up front. When he is finished, the mothers, together, come from their seats and light the candles.

3) the mothers walk up the aisle together, light the candles, go back down the aisle, then get escorted individually to their seats.

The first one is my idea. I think it will look very formal, and each mother will have her moment in the spotlight.

The 3rd idea is my mom's. I don't really like this choice, because I think she would rather make her "grand entrance" by herself, rather than walking in with mother of the groom.

Any advice? Or how did you do it at your wedding, or how to you plan to do it?



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For the life of me I can't remember how the tapers got lit at DS's wedding!! I can't believe I've forgotten!

However, at DD's wedding the tapers were not lit at the beginning of the service. Instead, when it came time for the unity candle part of the service, both sets of parents went up to the table where the candles were. The fathers stood beside the mothers as the mothers lit the tapers. Then we two mothers went back to our seats, while the fathers stayed up in front and offered a blessing to the couple -- sort of a "fatherly" charge or encouragement to the couple (we got a lot of positive feedback on that aspect of the ceremony).

After the father's returned to their seats, the soloist sang while DD and DSIL lit the unity candle. They stayed at the table with the candles, and the MOH and BMan joined them and everyone (MOH, BM, B&G, and pastor) signed the official marriage certificate. (The soloist's song lasted for the entire signing.)

    Bookmark   June 6, 2004 at 4:00PM
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Oh no! Please, not another decision for me! My brain can't handle it! LOL
Your daughter's way sounds lovely, but I KNOW his father will object to getting up front, so that option is more than likely out of the question for us.
Thanks for the input

    Bookmark   June 6, 2004 at 4:46PM
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Typically, when the MOB is escorted in, that is a signal that the procedings are about to begin. It is kind of like the lights dimming at a performance. Not part of the performance, but the signal that things are now going to happen.

So, the lighting of the tapers will have greater importance if it is not done as part of their entrance, but as it's own thing. If the lighting is done as part of their entrance, however, it might be easier for stage fright kind of feelings. If you do have the lighting as part of their entrance, you will need some other signal that things are about to start. You don't want to have guests chatting quietly unaware that the ceremony has already begun.

One other thought..."The 3rd idea is my mom's. I don't really like this choice, because I think she would rather..." If that idea is hers, it is probably the idea she would like, or she wouldn't have expressed it.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2004 at 6:41AM
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My DD did #3 and it worked out beautifully. The fathers were to walk up with us, BUT my DH forgot he was supposed to go up with me! He was too overwhelmed with walking her, his only DD, up the aisle! All ways have to have something turn out just not right. The only ones who noticed were the bridal party and one guest. No big deal!
Kathy G in MI

    Bookmark   June 7, 2004 at 8:13AM
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We had the tapers lit before the ceremony. My husband and our priest lit them, so I don't know how it's done with Mother's doing it. But I'd go with having them escorted up front, left to light the candles, then escorted to their seats.

As was mentioned, it's a sign that things are starting when the mothers are seated.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2004 at 1:11PM
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Penny--I can't believe how fast time is flying--6 days!!

Here is what I think we are planning on going with:

As soon as all of the guests are seated and just before the seating of the special family, the candlelighter will light all of the candles on the candleabras. Then all of the special family and grandparents will be seated.

Next, MOG will be escorted down asile by G (not my choice but I suppose it will work) and will remain standing at her seat until the MOB is escorted down asile by my younger brother (GM) to her seat. The G and GM will remain standing at the mothers' seats while the two mothers together walk up to the table where the unity candle and the family candles will be. They light the family candles at the same time and then walk back to their seats. The G and GM will then exit.

Goodluck!! Springbride04

    Bookmark   June 7, 2004 at 2:09PM
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Is a unity candle necessary? My mother will be walking me down the aisle and she has expressed that she does not want to light a candle. I know the MOB being seated signals the start of the ceremony, but in my case would it be the MOG being seated? I really don't want my stepmonster to have those honors. She and my bio dad are coming from another state and are not helping with the wedding at all. Except to tell me what flowers to order her and what color.
I guess I am touching on several topics here...but is it OK to not have the unity candle? We are doing the blessing of the hands which I thought would be in place of that.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2004 at 8:12PM
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It's your wedding...if you don't want to do a unity candle, then don't. The unity candle is a fairly recent addition to a wedding ceremony...

Anyone have any idea when they first "made their appearance?"

    Bookmark   June 7, 2004 at 8:38PM
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I'm a wedding coordinator. We usually use option 1 or 2, depending on the preferences of the bride. Personally, I prefer option 2. I think it looks a bit more unique and many moms don't like to be the center of attention by themselves. They like the support of the other person. I would definitely not like option 3. It will take more time and it may look a bit disorganized (Didn't we just see her? Why is she coming in again?)

    Bookmark   June 7, 2004 at 11:13PM
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I was surprised when our priest said that the unity candle is discouraged in many catholic churches because it is not a part of the wedding/mass. Has anyone else run into this?

    Bookmark   June 7, 2004 at 11:32PM
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We had an anglican (Episcopal) service and our priest was more than happy to let us do the unity candle. He explained it to the guests as symbolizing myself and Jim (DH) as joining together in God to be one flesh, yet separate (we left the tapers burning after lighting the central candle).

We also had our hands bound together by the priest with his stole and he declared us married with the "What God has joined together, let no man rend assunder" part of the ceremony, just before we lit the unity candle.

It's by no means NECESSARY to have the unity candle, though! My priest left it totally up to us if we wanted one or not. I just decided I liked the symbolism (above) and my husband wanted to do it.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2004 at 11:20AM
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I have never seen nor heard of a unity candle before.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2004 at 9:17PM
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That's odd, Snapdragon. Our priest, also Anglican, told us he wouldn't allow a unity candle while discussing the service. Neither of us had heard of it, so that was fine. We didn't even have candles on the altar, since there was no Eucharist.

I've never seen such a custom either.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2004 at 2:28PM
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my mom and dad are both deceased, so my son is wakling me down and my sister is standing in for parents. i would like my mother-inlaw and husband to light a candle and my sister and son to light one and center candle for me and my new husband to be to light one. please tell me how would you do this? my new husband and i can light ours after the ceremony and the others light theres before. what do you suggest?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 2:11PM
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I would suggest that the MIL and husband be escorted to their seats, then your son could escort your sister in. When they reach the end of the aisle, the MIL and husband stand and the four of them light the tapers. Your son can then exit and join you at the back.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 3:56PM
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