For couples planning a Catholic wedding

Catholic Wedding Q&A

Together in God's Love Catholic marriage preparation program

Can we light a unity candle during our wedding?

Many couples choose to signify that "two have become one" by lighting a unity candle during the wedding ceremony. Before or at the beginning of the wedding ceremony, a representative from each family lights two taper candles. During the ceremony, the bride and groom use the two taper candles to light a large pillar candle (the "unity candle") together. Some Catholic parishes prohibit the use of a unity candle, however, because there is no provision for it in the Rite of Marriage. Also, within Catholic liturgies, candles primarily refer to the light of Christ and baptism; the Easter candle, lit at the Easter vigil, is the central candle in the sanctuary. If you would like to have a unity candle, ask your parish whether it is permitted. The unity candle must not be placed on the altar.

If you want a unity candle but your parish does not permit one, consider using one at the reception; its lighting can be incorporated into the blessing before the meal.

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