Unity sand is a ceremonial wedding ordinance symbolizing unity. It typically begins with three glass containers: one larger empty container, and two smaller ones; each of the smaller ones holds a different color of sand (representing the bride and groom as individuals). The pouring of sand from two single containers into the larger one represents the bride and groom each emptying themselves of their “single” lives and intermingling their lives together in a way that cannot be taken apart or reversed (think of divorce like trying to separate two colors of sand, grain by grain back into two separate containers). The larger container, once full of the two colors of sand, represents the couple as a married unit- each individual is still unique, but each part of something bigger than themselves. Some couples incorporate a third color, either at the bottom of the large container to represent God as the foundation of their marriage, or along with the two other colors to represent God’s presence in their marriage.
Although this ordinance is beautiful and symbolic, there are occasions when, like at OUR OWN wedding, a snafu or 2 occur during the sand ceremony that kind of dampen its meaning. Here are a few tips to ensure that your sand is poured without any glitches, that the meaning behind the ordinance is left intact, and that you’ll have a beautiful unity piece to adorn your mantel for years to come:
–Think for the Future! If you and your spouse are going to have this unity sand displayed in your home for forever, keep that in mind when picking out your unity glassware, as well as the colors of your sand! If your wedding colors are bright or trendy, consider buying sand in more muted tones of those same hues. Your taste in color-schemes and decor will change over and over again throughout the years as you grow older together, and you’re going to want this unity sand to compliment your home-decor for a very long time! Also, select glassware in a classic, timeless style that comes with a lid that you can glue/seal on! Some friends of ours accidentally spilled their unity while moving into their new home just days after returning from their honeymoon! Even though no one would’ve been the wiser if they probably had just found a similar container and re-poured the same color of sand, it was still a bummer for them that they would never have the “original” thing from their wedding ceremony to display on their mantel.
–Take the Extra Measure! Before the wedding day, measure out how much of each color of sand you will need to fill your unity glass AND also leave both single glasses empty! At our wedding, the person who filled our individual glasses with sand filled Melissa’s glass too full. Once our unity glass was full, I had poured out all of my sand but Melissa still had plenty of sand left in her glass. It wasn’t really a big deal- our guests giggled watching us try to figure out how to squeeze as much sand as possible into the unity glass. We do joke now though that “Melissa’s not completely married, because she left some of her sand in her ‘singleness’ jar.” Haha! Still, it’s something we would change if we could go back.
–Practice Makes Perfect! Melissa and I got extra supplies and practiced pouring our sand before the wedding day. A stroke of genius on my part ; ) Seriously! We knew that we had to, because our different colors of sand had different consistencies; Melissa’s was purple craft sand from Hobby Lobby, and my sand was taken from the beach in Charleston where I first told her I love her. We’re so glad we practiced, because each of our sands poured very differently. Melissa’s sand poured more smoothly filled up the glass quicker, while I had to consistently and steadily shake my glass to get the sand to keep pouring out. Once we got a rhythm down, we figured out how to make a pattern that looked best. I mean, if the thing is going to sit on your mantel for the entirety of your marriage, you may as well make it pretty to look at.
-Let Us See! During your wedding, when your minister introduces your sand ceremony and you move to your sand table (usually placed near the altar), make sure you each stand at an angle where you’re not blocking the pouring of the sand. Lots of couples stand directly in front of the table as they pour, impairing the audience’s view. Each of you can stand on opposite sides of the table, or both of you could walk around and stand behind the table, facing the audience. That way, your guests can see the whole ordinance, and your photographers can have a straight shot at some photos of the sand-pouring!
–Put Your Top Man On It! If you do not have a wedding planner or day-of coordinator, you should definitely assign a responsible person in your family or wedding party to measure out your sand, make sure the glassware is arranged the way you want it at at the altar, and to make sure the unity sand is sealed and stored somewhere safe once the ceremony is over. We’ve seen couples whose sand and glassware were still sitting off to the side of the ceremony space AS the minister began introducing the sand ceremony! We’ve also heard of unity sand getting left in the church where the ceremony took place, and by the time anyone realized it had been left, the church was locked, someone from the church had put the sand in storage or thrown it away etc… So make sure you’ve assigned someone to take care of all of these things for you!
How could we NOT enjoy an engagement session where we got to play with 2 cute dogs? Jeremy and Courtney brought along Lexi and Axle to include in their engagement photos! Their wedding will be at the Dairy Barn next fall, so we shot at the Greenway and around the Dairy Barn premises. The natural sunlight was beautiful, the trees had just turned gorgeous autumn colors, and Jeremy and Courtney looked great- loved their wardrobe : ) They did great in front of the camera, and of course so did the dogs!
One thing we’ve found in our career as wedding photographers that’s truly set apart the pretty weddings from the spectacular weddings is the involvement and/or talent of a wedding planner. With the economy in its present slump, so many brides are taking on all of the wedding planning themselves, “DIY-ing” it, trying to save money and maximize their wedding budget. What a lot of these brides don’t take into account is this: that they have never planned a wedding before, and you kinda only get to do it once : ) As a first-time bride, the vendors you hire usually don’t have a long-standing relationship with you. The decorating and DIY projects required of your design for your wedding? This is probably the first time you’re attempting to carry out those ideas, much less the first time you’re attempting to carry those ideas out in your ceremony or reception space. Your experience and connections are limited. A wedding planner’s, however, is not! Brides, as much as your budget has your convinced that you can’t afford the luxury of a wedding planner, we are telling you: you probably can’t afford not to have one!
We love working with Carrie Ann Drinnen, owner and lead event planner of Serendipity Weddings & Events. We have seen her deliver the most high-end wedding-day looks for what probably should have cost her clients double what they ended up spending! We had a blast, of course, taking some photos of Carrie Ann, her poodles, and her shoes! She gave us some insight on the benefits of brides hiring wedding planners- here is what she had to say:
“To Hire or Not to Hire….. A Wedding Planner. I often get asked by clients and colleagues why I think it’s important to have a wedding planner – my first response is always “why wouldn’t you”?
A wedding planner or partner is your #1 ally and always has your best interests at heart – all the other vendors you hire are interested in helping you but not at their expense – your wedding planner is going to be there to look at the fine print, details, and clauses and call them out if something is outside the industry norms.
Beauty doesn’t happen by accident – There is a lot of planning that goes on behind the scenes to make a seamless wedding/reception – every detail is thought through and organized in a way that tells a story about the couple… your planner is going to know the best ways to tell your story and how to make everything Fabulous. Everyone wants to have a great time and the guests to be blown away – letting someone else worry with those details gives you, your family and your friend’s time to enjoy the celebration.
Something else I always say is “Think of your planner as a general contractor”. It’s our job to find the right vendors for you – this is not a cookie cutter business, there are lots of vendors out there, but that doesn’t mean they are right for YOU. Putting the right vendors together is where the magic happens, we understand the personalities of our clients and the vendors we work with – having a good match is just as good as having a good marriage.
So again my question is always “why not hire a planner” – they will be your best friend and closest confidant through what should be a memorable adventure of planning your big day!!
Carrie Ann’s Top 5 Wedding-Planning Tips:
1) READ your contract carefully
2) Choose a venue that moves you
3) When looking for your photographer, make sure you can see yourself in their work –
if you can’t picture yourself in every frame they are not the right choice for you
4) Don’t over think the details – less is more
5) This is all about you – enjoy the celebration and what it represents, the rest is just fluff.”