The Sand Ceremony
Often a couple wants to emphasize the uniqueness and commitment of their coming together. With this mind, the Sand Ceremony is a simple and meaningful addition to a wedding celebration. The blending of two colors of sand into one has not lost its meaning and relevance in the modern nor traditional wedding.
When weddings are held indoors, such as in a church building, the Candle Lighting ceremony has a lot of meaning. Lighting one central candle with two smaller individual candles symbolizes the light within the couple making one brighter light. The brighter light is what strengthens them to meet any challenge and honor the good times that life brings them throughout the years.
Most of the weddings I am privileged to conduct are outdoors. Ceremonies take place on a beach, a golf course, inside a vineyard, out in the woods, or snuggled in the backyard of a generous friend or relative’s home.
Working with Mother Nature’s Unpredictability
Yet being out in the environment presents challenges. Regardless of our technological advances we are still no match for Mother Nature. Wind can blow fiercely whether it’s rain or shine, your wedding or the birth of a baby hummingbird. Because the lit candle can be blown out without thought to your hopes for a perfect wedding, the Sand Ceremony is a fitting replacement for the traditional Candle Lighting Ceremony. Best of all, there is no flame to worry about lighting nor being extinguished by big Mamma’s unpredictable breathing patterns.
The Sand Ceremony takes care of the wind. Sand doesn’t blow out. Problem solved, Symbolism transferred.
What are some of the meanings in the Sand Ceremony?
The Sand Ceremony has multiple layers which I talk about in a wedding ceremony using this ritual.
First, the two separate jars of the Sand Ceremony represent all the influences and experiences each of you have had which brought you to this day of commitment to one another. Each individual on this planet, no matter how educated or bewildered, has had millions of ideas, experiences and events that have shaped them over their life. Hence, the many grains of sand represent all that has made the you who and what you are today. The Sand Ceremony is highly symbolic of Oneness, letting go of separateness and isolation.
“The miracle of love is that it allows us to overcome any sense of isolation, yet continues to permit us our individuality.”
People, places and things
Secondly, those experiences that have made you, YOU, are due primarily to the people in your life. Your individual jars of sand in the Sand Ceremony also represent the family and friends, coworkers and acquaintances who have contributed to the fabric of your life. Whether or not these people are attending your ceremony, they are there with you, psychically at the very least. When you marry, you marry all those influences and events that made both of you unique.
Flexibility is an asset of the Sand Ceremony. You can easily add a jar to represent a child, your parents, grand parents, or a special person or animal who has had a lasting effect on your life.
Some couples want to show the spiritual foundation of their relationship. If this is the case I can first add white sand to the base of the jar to symbolize how important the Divine is to your relationship.
Pouring the individual jars of sand together into one central vessel, whether a jar, or a picture frame, symbolizes all of these influences coming together and now acting as one.
The merging of your sand into the one indicates your desire for your lives, and the lives of your families and friends to be joined as one.
Third, the patterns of each Sand Ceremony is unique. No other combination is like yours. In my mind, this uniqueness is what a couple must always be mindful of. Your relationship is unique. Do not try to fit into any mold where the husband acts one way, the wife another that has been prescribed by anyone else by your true heart. The downfall of many marriages is the should and shouldn’ts we have been conditioned to believe are true. I emphasize at the close of the Sand Ceremony that this is YOUR relationship and you must let the strength and value of your distinctive characteristics bring out the best in you over the years.
Lastly, every relationship has challenges. There may be days you want to walk out and never look back. Some mornings you might wake up, look over at your partner and wonder, “What the heck was I thinking marrying that weird person lying next to me?”.
In times like this, set the central vessel from your Sand Ceremony in the middle of your lap. Remember the differences you both brought to the relationship and despite all bets, committed to letting life weave you into One. See the swirls and blocks of colors that represent the distinctiveness of who you are. You have created something rare, one of a kind. No one said it would be easy, but on your wedding day, you promised to give it your all.
In times of trouble and in times of celebration, remember the symbolism and the challenge of the Sand Ceremony – becoming one with another human being by giving them the deepest love of your heart.