Wedding Sand Ceremony & African Wedding Traditions

A wedding sand ceremony holds a lot of symbolism. Like African wedding traditions that are done during the wedding ceremony, this is fast becoming a common fixture among couples today. Similar to the unity candle ceremony, this special part of the wedding is done as a public demonstration of the union of the bride and groom.

Beyond the pouring together of two separate lives from two separate vessels to now live together as one in a new shared vessel… this is essentially what the wedding sand ceremony boils down to in meaning; but what else does this ceremony really represent? Does it have any particularly unique symbolism for people of African descent?

Wedding Sand Ceremony in African Weddings

Make your unity sand ceremony a very memorable part of your wedding day by implementing some of the following ideas:

  • Sand Color - use at least two different colors of sand, one that represents each of you. The color palette above shows you just a sample of some of the colors that available for you to choose from. You can of course choose to use the theme colors of your wedding as well. If you think more than one color is appropriate for you or your relationship then go for it… the nice thing about a sand ceremony when compared to a unity candle ceremony is that you have this flexibility.
  • Unity Vase/Receptacle - pick a unity vase/receptacle that is transparent (otherwise the whole beauty of this unity celebration will be lost. Make sure it is nice and tall or very long, and I say this for a couple of reasons - first, for the sake of practicality, you want to be sure that both yours and your spouse's sand will fit into it comfortably. Secondly, a long vase symbolizes a long married life together. You also get a prettier finished product that pops even more.
  • Family Affair - a common theme among African weddings is that they are a family affair. Here's a nice way to include and honor your parents in this part of ceremony - rather than have the sand already waiting in two individual jars or vases, have each set of parents come up and say something significant about each of their children (the bride and groom that is… not ALL their children. While they do this have them fill a jar or vase with sand to represent the child they have brought into this world. The parents can other give a blessing to their child or a "handing-over" speech. Once each vase for the bride and groom is now ready, you may proceed with the rest of the sand ceremony i.e. the joining of the two into one.
  • Lasting Memento - you're likely not going to want to just throw away the sand after the ceremony. Just like your wedding pictures, this unity sand that you have now created is also a representation and memory of your union and the vows you have made to each other. When picking out a vase, be sure to pick one out that is also display-worthy, you may want to put it up on a mantle piece or in a display case just like you might do for your wedding photos.
  • Your Heritage - you might also choose to use colors that represent the flag(s) of your countries of origin, or colors that you feel are representative of your African heritage as another way to celebrate and honor your heritage using the sand ceremony.


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