The lighting of candles can convey more than one kind of meaning. It can be a way of symbolising the coming together of two individuals in the unity of marriage, and it can also be a way to remember the people we love who cannot be with us at this important moment.
There are three candles in the ‘Unity Candle’ ritual. The first two are usually tall and slim, while the third is normally a larger and thicker candle, symbolizing the marriage.
Each partner lights a single candle at the start of the ceremony, and then when they have been pronounced husband and wife, they use those two candles to jointly light the third.
The most usual other form of candle ritual is when a candle or candles are lit in memory of departed family or friends. This is usually followed by a short period of quiet contemplation.