a bride and groom performing a wedding sand ceremony

How to Stage a Wedding Sand Ceremony

This sweet wedding custom is a type of unity ceremony, which symbolises the coming together of the bride and groom. To perform a sand ceremony, all you need is an ornamental glass jar, a table and some coloured sand.

A sand ceremony is very similar to a unity candle ceremony – where the couple lights a large pillar candle using their two smaller candles. With a sand ceremony, however, you can take home a gorgeous memento that you can display in your home forever.

To learn more about this special wedding custom and how you can perform it at your own wedding, keep reading!


Origins of this unity ceremony

While a wedding sand ceremony is by no means a new idea, it has become increasingly popular in recent years as people explore non-traditional rituals.

The ceremony’s origins are unclear, but it is generally regarded as first started by the Hawaiians, who staged the ceremony by means of the couple scooping the sand from around their feet with seashells and pouring it into a shared container.

What does the sand ceremony symbolise?

In a sand ceremony, each person has a glass bottle filled with coloured sand. Taking it in turns, they pour their sand into the central vase.

So, what do the colours of a sand ceremony mean? The different shades of the sand create a layered effect, representing both the unity and individuality of the participants. In most cases, only the couple participates, but some people like to include the whole family. The ceremony can be expanded to include the couple’s children, parents, and extended family members to express the harmony of the two families.

How a wedding sand ceremony works

Here are the four steps of a basic unity sand ceremony:

  1. A table is situated at the place where the couple exchange their vows, with a clear glass vessel, like a hurricane glass vase, situated in the centre.
  2. Two smaller vases (or glass jars) containing the different coloured sands are stationed either side of the main vase.
  3. The couple/family members then each take turns pouring the sand from their individual vases into the central vase to create the layered effect.
  4. At the end, the participants pour the remainder of their sand into the central vase at the same time so the colours are combined and can’t be separated. A poem or reading is often recited to mark the end of the ceremony.


When do you do the sand ceremony?

When it comes to this ceremony, there aren’t any strict rules. But since it is about celebrating the bride and groom coming together as one, it is generally performed either during the vows or immediately after the ring exchange.

This can make the whole ceremony really come together and show the unity of the couple.

everything you need to perform a wedding sand ceremony, including glass bottles, sand, flowers and more.

1.Coloured Sand. 2. Hanging Lanterns 3.Orange Ribbon 4. Art Glass 5.Tin Planters 6. Decorative Glass Vases 7. Candles 8. Artificial Greenery 9. Hurricane Lanterns 10. Silk Roses

What you’ll need

Planning this unity ceremony for your big day? It’s really simple to recreate, and you only need a few key materials. These include:

  • Different coloured sand for each of the participants. The amount you’ll need will depend on the size of the central vase. So if you’re using a hurricane glass vase, you’ll need plenty of sand!
  • Sand ceremony pouring vases – ideally with narrow openings – for each participant. You can also use simple glass bottles too!
  • A clear sand ceremony vase or glass jar – something you and your partner want to display in your home after the wedding is over. It should be large, but not so big that there’s empty space after the ceremony is completed.

How to plan a beach wedding sand ceremony

You can plan, and decorate, a beach wedding sand ceremony in a number of ways. The first step is to make sure it matches your colour scheme! For beach weddings, we love pairing blue with coral.

Here are a few ideas for decorating the ceremony table:

  • Line the table with artificial flowers, such as lilies, orchids, king protea or birds of paradise.
  • Set the mood (if it’s an afternoon wedding), by decorating your table with tea light candles in small glass jars. You could also hang glass bottles from a string nearby and use them as fairy lights!
  • Scatter natural vase fillers, like river pebbles or seashells on the table, or put them in your central vase.

a sand ceremony is perfect for a beach themed wedding

The simple, yet poignant symbolism of the ceremony makes it far more than a beach theme wedding gimmick. And although the exact origins of the ceremony are unknown, there’s no denying the appeal of this ritual.

So no matter how you choose to stage the ceremony, whether you include your wider family or simply keep it between the bride and groom, you can rest assured it will be a memorable part of your wedding day. You’ll also be able to take home a beautiful vase with different coloured sand that will act as an endearing memento.

People also asked:

What to do with empty vases?

Empty vases can be displayed in China cabinets to keep them on display. Alternatively you can turn a vase into a candy bowl, turn it into a candle display, or use it for coin or stationery storage.

What are the different types of vases?

Vases come in all shapes and sizes. There are tall cylinder vases, fish bowls, rectangular and square vases, as well as narrow necked and square tanked vases.

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