Candle ceremonies within a marriage ceremony are a beautiful way to symbolise the joining of two families to form a new family. At a ceremony I conducted, the couple decided to include their wider family in the candle lighting ceremony when they were married in a park.
This wedding party was small with only 22 immediate family and a couple of friends who played a part in the ceremony. Each person held a long white taper candle and formed a circle. One of the best men lit the two candles held by guests opposite the bride and groom. They turned to the guest on their left and right respectively and lit their candle.
The flame travelled from guest to guest until reaching the bride and groom, who together lit their unity candle at the same time, symbolising the two families coming together.
Even with a calm day, not all of the candles lit easily, but it didn’t spoil the ritual at all for the small and obviously close group of people – it simply added to the moment! While guests were passing on their flame another gave a reading and the bride and groom had an opportunity to look out at their guests and take a moment to connect. You could see they were happy to have everyone involved in such a special moment.
This was a personal twist on the unity candle ceremony. The unity candle ceremony sees two smaller candles either side of a larger pillar candle lit by family or friends from each side at the beginning of the ceremony. Toward the end of the ceremony, the bride and groom will use taper candles to transfer the flames from the smaller candles to the pillar candle at the same time to symbolise their union. Using the taper candles will leave the flame exposed briefly so keep this in mind if performing this ceremony outdoors. It may be a good idea to include card around the bottom if you’re holding the taper candles during a reading to catch any dripping wax.
There are lots of ways to incorporate candle ceremonies into your ceremony, be it for a wedding, commitment ceremony, vow renewal or baby naming. I’d love to hear about how you included a candle ceremony on your wedding day. Share your stories in the comments area for other brides-to-be to read.
I was lucky enough to perform a wedding ceremony for a wonderful couple at Pilot Hill Lookout in Harrington one beautiful spring day last September.
Pilot Hill is a small park or grassed area overlooking where the Manning River meets the sea. The view is picturesque, with a panoramic view of the ocean divided by the breakwall and then pine tree-lined shore of the town of Harrington.
This spot provides a wonderful seascape back drop for a ceremony and photographs afterwards. It’s a good option if you liked the sound of a beach wedding but without the sand. It is a 5 minute drive from the centre of Harrington with parking directly next to the area. It is undulating but accessible for less mobile guests.
Being so close to town means a short trip to local reception venues, which gives you some time to play with for more photos or a later ceremony start time.
The couple chose this spot as they had often met for picnics there enjoying the gorgeous view together. The ceremony was set up not far from the fenced flag pole area decorated with my white flags and table and two chairs with white covers. The couple chose to use my red carpet which was scattered with rose petals. The ceremony was at 3pm with around 60 guests who were half seated half standing.
Things to consider: it can be windy so wouldn’t be ideal for candle ceremonies for example and there a no undercover areas or public toilets. If your wedding reception venue isn’t an option in case of rain, you could consider hiring the Harrington Community Church as a back up.
Booking required? Yes – you will need to book your wedding ceremony at Pilot Hill with Greater Taree City Council and at the time it cost around $60-70.
Pilot Hill is a beautiful wedding ceremony location and all-round lovely part of the mid-north coast – plan a picnic or stroll next time you’re in Harrington. Love to hear from you if you’re planning to get married in Harrington and are looking for a local celebrant!