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Christian Wedding Sand Ceremony

Updated on July 12, 2010

Finished Sand Ceremony Vase

Christian Sand Ceremony

A Christian sand ceremony can take place during wedding nuptials. Using the sand ceremony replaces the use of the unity candle as an outward symbol of the bride and groom coming together in marriage. In the ceremony, the bride, groom and clergyman layer a vase from separate vials of colored sand, representing unity within the marriage. Christian sand ceremonies differ from traditional sand ceremonies because an additional layer of sand is added to the bride's and groom's sand, including the body of Christ, the founder of Christian marriages.

History of Sand Ceremonies

The history of sand ceremonies is vague. Many people believe early Native Americans began the tradition while others believe this ceremony started more recently as beach weddings became more prevalent on the U.S. West Coast and in Hawaii. More recently, the sand ceremony gained popularity after Trista Rehn and Ryan Sutter of the television show "The Bachelorette" used a sand ceremony in their nuptials.

Bible Verses for Sand Ceremonies

Choosing Bible verses to go with the ceremony can heighten the dramatic effect of the symbolism within the wedding vows. Matthew 19: 4-6, New King James Version states, "And He answered and said to them, 'Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning "made them male and female," 5) and said, "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?" 6) So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.' "

Traditional choices for verses include Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, Colossians 3:12-17, Ephesians 5:22-33, Genesis 2:20-24 and I Corinthians 13:1-13.

Selecting Sand

If an outdoor beach wedding is planned, the couple and the clergyman might gather sand from underneath their feet before placing the sand in the unity vessel.

For indoor ceremonies, colored sand is often used. Each color can represent what each party brings to the union. For instance, the bride might use white, representing purity; the groom might use blue, representing depth and stability. The clergyman might choose red to represent the blood of Christ.

The Sand Ceremony

After speaking with the clergy at the church at which they want to marry, the couple typically choose a large vase as well as the three smaller vases or vials from which the individuals will add their sand to the large vase.

The sand ceremony can take place during any portion of the wedding ceremony. The clergyman is the first person to add a portion of his sand to the large vase, then the groom and then the bride. Next, the clergyman adds more sand, rotating with the bride and groom and continuing until only a small space is left in the large vase. At that time, all three individuals pour their sand simultaneously into the vase, representing a perfect, unbreakable union among Christ, the groom and the bride.

If the neck of the vase is small, the use of small paper funnel eliminates any mess that may occur.

Preserve the Sand Vessel

The large vase used in the sand ceremony is preserved by capping it off with a small amount of wax. A small amount of paraffin wax is available in grocery stores' canning section. After melted over a double boiler, the wax is poured carefully over the top of the sand. After the wax cools and hardens, such as overnight, the vase can be set in its final resting place. Disturbing the vase after that may alter the sand patterns.


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