Celebrants are quite used to conducting sand ceremonies as these have become more popular of late for weddings, commitments and also naming ceremonies.
But what is a sand ceremony, I hear you cry….a sand ceremony is a unity ceremony and the blending of the sand represents the coming together of two people and their families and friends one.
There are many ways to include a sand ceremony and this is down to individual preference. Some couples prefer layering the sand whilst others prefer to blend the colours to create a different effect. The sand can be poured in as part of the couples' vows or separately at the end of the ceremony.
The good thing about a sand ceremony compared to other unity ceremonies is that other members of the wedding party can be included. Often white sand is poured into the vessel first to represent the pure base upon which the future can be built by the couple. This white sand can be poured in by one or more of the wedding party and is often a parent of the Bride and Groom.
The couple can choose as many colours to add to the white sand as they wish and each of the colours can represent a different value or hope for them. The different colours that the couple each add to the vase represent their separate lives up until this point when they will be united. They may have sand from special holidays they have been on together that they wish to use or if it is a beach ceremony some sand from that beach can be used. Other guests could also be included in this as they add their own hopes and wishes for the future of the couple. Sometimes couples may wish to leave a little of their coloured sand in their vessel. This symbolised that, although they are being united as part of the ceremony they will each retain their individualism and identity.
The colours chosen for the sand is very individual and can be chosen to complement the wedding theme, their home décor (after all it will be on display in their home for many years to come) or just their favourite colours.
Because other guests can be included in the sand pouring sand ceremonies are ideal for naming ceremonies. Important people in the child’s life, such as those appointed as guideparents or supporting adults as they are sometimes known, can add sand and that represents their future wishes for the child.
A sand ceremony can be part of the ceremony, together with the vows or parent promises or can be at the end of the formal part of the ceremony after rings have been exchanged or the name of a child formally announced. Separate sand ceremony vows can be written to make it meaningful and to reflect the values in each layers of the sand.
Of course the sentiment of a sand ceremony is the values that each layer of sand represents but what is left at the end of the ceremony is a long lasting reminder of the day and those values in the form of a keepsake. People often have their sand ceremony vessel engraved with names and the date of the ceremony and this acts as a beautiful reminder of the day.
As sand ceremonies are not that usual as part of ceremonies in the England it is something unexpected for guests to enjoy and remember about a ceremony. How many ceremonies that we have attended can we actually remember?!
So whether people believe in the spirit of unity and want to have a unity symbolism included, or if they just like the idea of a sand ceremony, having a beautiful reminder of the special day in the form of a keepsake ornament can only add something to the day!