15 Best Unity Sand Ceremony Ideas For Your Wedding

Unite yourselves one grain of sand at a time.

Unity Sand Ceremony Ideas getty

Marriage is about two people becoming one, right? And for a wedding ceremony, performing a unity sand ceremony has become a popular concept. 

What is a sand ceremony? Unity ceremonies, in general, celebrate the concept of "uniting" two people. While there are some super traditional methods like (literal) tying of the knot and lighting a unity candle, there are other amazing ideas. Many of these stray from tradition in a truly beautiful way.


A wedding sand ceremony is usually performed on the beach, lending a gorgeous backdrop for an even more beautiful memory. Not sure where to get started? Here are a few ideas for performing a sand ceremony and strengthening your bond as a new couple.

RELATED: 5 Beautiful Wedding Ideas & Rituals That Are Spiritual, But Not Religious


1. Couples only

“There have been a variety of ways I've seen couples do the unity sand ceremony. Some pour their containers at the same time, and sometimes they alternate” says Samantha Bellinger, an event planner.

2. Blended families



A post shared by Whimsy Made (@whimsymadesf) on May 30, 2019 at 3:32pm PDT

“One of the most touching sand ceremonies have been with blended families,” says Bellinger. Not only do the bride and groom have containers of sand, but so do their children. 


3. Religious couples



A post shared by Melanie Rose (@mellyrosel) on Aug 1, 2018 at 2:45pm PDT

“I've seen a religious couple borrow the analogy of rocks, pebbles, and sand that was used in their church's ministry. The analogy has to do with focusing on the important things in life. The celebrant repeated the story while prompting the couple to add their own containers of rocks, pebbles, and sand into a larger container,” recalls Bellinger.

4. Involving guests



A post shared by geeky Melbourne photographer (@imageswithcarol) on Mar 1, 2019 at 3:15am PST

“The cutest way I've seen guests involved in the unity sand ceremony was a combination of sand and pebbles. Each guest was asked to write well wishes on a pebble, which was deposited in a bowl. During the ceremony, the couple poured their vases of sand over the well wishes of their family/friends,” suggests Bellinger.


You can also involve your guests by allowing them to pour in the sand as they arrive. Then, you and your partner can close out the ceremony by pouring the last bit of sand. Says said Kevin Dennis of Fantasy Sound Event Services“This signifies the special place that your family and friends have in your life and will make for a wonderful keepsake.”

5. Take a Polynesian spin

“We recently planned a destination wedding in Bora Bora, held on the white sand beaches with Mount Otemanu in the background, and instead of scooping the sand up for a ceremonial blessing, we infused French Polynesian culture for a more traditional blessing. The local officiant, who also doubled as their fire dancer for reception entertainment, started by splitting a sacred Auti leaf, a member of the lily family, that symbolize spiritual protection, purification and healing, and tying the couple's wrists together. (To quite literally 'tie the knot.')


Typically, the officiant then pours fresh coconut water, salty ocean water, or pure water from the lagoon, over the couple's hands to bless them. It's a bit cleaner than pouring sand over your hands!" says Lauren Grech, CEO of LLG.

6. Nature



A post shared by Emily Wenzel - she/her/hers (@_emilywenzel) on Apr 17, 2019 at 6:00pm PDT

“Nothing says ‘romance’ quite like holding your unity sand ceremony before the backdrop of a gorgeous lake surrounded by mountains and greenery!” suggests Kylie Carlson, International Academy of Wedding & Event Planning.

RELATED: 8 Best Unity Ceremony Ideas For Your Wedding


7. Custom glasses



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Personalize your sand ceremony with custom glasses and a monogrammed shadow box. “Here’s your chance to really get creative with the design, and you’ll be glad to have a chic, romantic addition to your home for years to come,” says Carlson.

8. Destination wedding



A post shared by Wedding at Punta Cana (@weddesign.rd) on Jun 5, 2019 at 2:49pm PDT

What better way to come together for a unity sand ceremony than performing it on the beach where you’re getting married? “Using sand from your destination wedding ‘venue’ adds an extra sentimental touch!” suggests Carlson.


9. Add color



A post shared by Volana Fotografía (@pedro_volana_weddings) on Nov 27, 2018 at 1:14am PST

“If classic sand isn’t your style, go bold and bright with colored sand that will showcase your personality as a couple,” recommends Carlson. Bonus points if your unity ceremony matches the overall palette of your wedding with complementing colors.

10. Rustic



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Spring for a rustic vibe (no pun intended) by decorating your glasses with various greenery, florals, and twine!


11. Family glasses

“Take your inclusive family sand ceremony one step further by giving each member their own glass of sand,” says Tommy Waters of The Renaissance. Forming this bond with your loved ones will make your big day that much more special and meaningful.

12. Add culture



A post shared by Paradise Productions (@paradiseprophoto) on Jun 11, 2019 at 8:48pm PDT

“Whether you’re marrying in Hawaii or want to incorporate your cultural background into your sand ceremony, the Hawaiian tradition involves both partners to pour separate bowls of sand into one large bowl at the altar,” says Dennis. Not only does this reflect both of you coming together as one, but this solidifies a life-long commitment to one another.


13. Pay tribute to your locale

“Pouring your sand into an hourglass with shells from your tropical destination locale is a wonderful idea for the couple that wants to pay homage to the place where they’re committing their lives to one another,” suggests Dennis.

14. Shadowbox



A post shared by ValamiKek Wedding (@valamikek) on May 11, 2019 at 3:08am PDT

“Consider choosing a shadowbox for your unity sand ceremony that has a place for you to add a photo. It's perfect for you to insert your favorite wedding portrait with your new spouse later, or even including late family members or friends,” Dennis says.


15. Involve the children



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Typically, we see the tradition of a sand ceremony take place between the couple, but for those with children, this is the perfect opportunity to incorporate them into the wedding. Says Dennis, “Sharing this with the whole family will make for a lasting memory of your big day, and you’ll have this portrait to look back on forever.”

RELATED: 10 Traditional Wedding Vows You Can Use At Your Own Ceremony

Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyles writer who focuses on health, wellness, and relationships. Her work appears in dozens of digital and print publications regularly. Visit her on Twitter or email her.