Sand Ceremony: Blending Two Lives into One

The sand ceremony is a symbolic, interactive element of a wedding ceremony. There are many variations but basically the bride and groom each takes a small container of coloured sand and taking turns tips it into one larger container. The idea is that the two separate jars represent two separate lives which are now joined into one in the larger jar. The sands are of contrasting colours, which poured together have an interesting, decorative effect which alters over time as the sands settle. To this end, a specially chosen container should be sourced as the result is an ornament and keepsake.

Sand has many representations: the foundation of the lives the couple comes from, a means of measuring time (“like sand through and hourglass” etc), the grains which accumulate to the creation of experience, a souvenir of a favourite beach…

In a ceremony I did this week the couple used three layers of sand – so at first, in three separate containers: as the celebrant I was to pour the first layer of sand (white in this case) to symbolise the foundation of the marriage. Then the couple poured their sand (chocolate brown and russet) in turn, a little bit at a time, and a pattern emerged. The two colours now blending as a symbol of the bride and groom joining forever in love.

Then I poured a last layer of sand to represent the community of family and friends supporting the marriage and holding the couple together in love. Although the sand may move around in the vase and the colours may shift and blend in new ways, the grains of sand can never again be separated. The wish is that the couple’s union will be as eternal and inseparable as the grains of sand in their vase.

Sand can be used effectively too when children are involved to symbolise the joining and creation of families – then many colours can be used and the children can play a part in the ceremony.

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