The Sweet Christian Bride

The Tradition of the Sand Ceremony

by admin on June 29, 2011 in Ceremony Traditions, Reception Traditions with 6 Comments

Similar to the tradition of the unity candle, the sand ceremony creates a visual demonstration of the concept of becoming one flesh. 

“Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).

The idea of becoming one flesh within a covenant marriage is that the bride and groom make a forever team.  They are from that point on a unit that grows together, learns together, and refines together.

The sand ceremony depicts this through the combination of various colors of sand.  Traditionally, the bride has one color of sand and the groom has another.  Either right before the vows, as a demonstration of what they are about to pledge, or right after the vows, as a demonstration of the covenant they have just made, the bride and the groom alternate pouring small amounts of their vases of sand into a third, central vase of sand. 

As their colors combine in unique pattern, a new masterpiece is created.  It can neither be separated nor replicated.  Just as each individual is a masterpiece of God (Ephesians 2:10), so too is this marriage a lasting work of art created by our Lord (Matthew 19:6).  Usually the blended sand is kept in a decorative vase or jar that serves as home decor, also as a daily reminder, for the married couple.  If you choose, your blended vase can even serve as the centerpiece for your table at the reception.

Variations of the sand ceremony can include having members of your families pour their colors of sand into your individual bride’s and groom’s vases, demonstrating that you are each a part of the families you were born into and now your families are merging.   Your pastor might pour in a third color of sand as a holy representative of the Holy Spirit, of the third strand in the cord of three strands that is your covenant marriage (Ecclesiastes 4:12).

You might choose to create a variation in your sand not by color, but by geography.  Perhaps you have beaches that have been meaningful in your past memories, or perhaps you have had the privilege to travel to your countries of heritage.  If you have a place that is meaningful to you, and so does your fiancé, you can combine sand from those places to represent the blending of your lives with one another.

Whether you choose to have the pastor narrate the ceremony or whether you choose to set the ceremony to reflective music, it is nice to include some explanation of what is happening, even if just in the program, so your guests can join in the worshipful symbolism of this demonstration of a covenant marriage.

Respectively, photo © John Yao, SimplyTwo Photography, featuring Jade and Keke’s wedding; photo © Garry Tan, featuring Jehaan and Julie’s wedding

By Lindsay
  • There are currently 6 Comments.

  • The Sweet Christian Bride
    • Unity Sand Ceremony Set says:

      I really like your suggestion of getting the sand from a memorable location. I have never seen a sand ceremony performed but I love the idea of having one!

    • Pr. Steven Tibbetts says:

      Where does this tradition come from?