Unity sand ceremonies for weddings have become a popular alternative to the more traditional unity candle ceremonies. But, with all the details that go with planning weddings, music for the sand ceremony is often not considered until the musicians ask.
The sand ceremony is a perfect opportunity for music though! Depending upon what you arrange with your officiant, the sand ceremony could be very short to several minutes long. The sand ceremony takes place after the vows. For outdoor ceremonies, the sand ceremony is popular because wind is always a risk for unity candle ceremonies but is not an issue for sand ceremonies.
Pouring two different colors of sands together is used to symbolize the joining of the bride and groom or the joining of their families. For the ceremony, three small vases are set up – one for the bride and groom to pour the sand into as well as one for the bride and one for the groom to pour the sand from. The bride’s and groom’s vases are each filled with a different color of sand which symbolizes the separate lives of the bride and groom and their families. After the ceremony, the two empty vases can be used to display fresh flowers at the wedding reception. The vase containing the combined sand can be put on display at the ceremony and in the new couple’s home as a constant reminder of their wedding day.
There are three ways the sand ceremony is generally conducted:
- The officiant makes a few remarks about the significance of the sand ceremony then the couple pours the sand into the vase. The musicians play after the officiant is finished speaking. Because the sand pouring doesn’t take much time, the music generally ends a while after the couple finishes pouring.
- The officiant speaks while the couple pours the sand. This plan doesn’t work so well if you want music during the sand ceremony because it can often be too loud for the officiant to be heard. If this is the plan, it’s just important to make sure the music is soft enough or starts after the officiant finishes speaking.
- The officiant says a few words, the family comes forward to pour some sand and then the couple pours the sand. This works well musically because it takes more time, so more music can be played.
Music can certainly make the sand ceremony more meaningful, but the music must be played sensitively, since if it is too loud, it can overpower the words. We generally play a short selection of sentimental music softly in the background. Couples often choose a center vessel with a narrow opening that slows down the rate of sand flow so the couple can spend this time thoughtfully listening to the music. Alternatively, couples just enjoy the music and the moment until the song ends after they finish pouring. The two elements don’t have to be completed at exactly the same time.
A couple’s choice of music for their wedding’s sand ceremony is completely personal, so there is no right or wrong choice, but we can recommend some of our favorites that we would suggest for couples who are looking for ideas.
Classical Music for Sand Ceremonies
Air on the G String, J. S. Bach
Ave Maria, Franz Schubert
Gymnopedie I, Eric Satie
Meditation from Thais, Jules Massenet
Spanish Romance, Anon.
Vieni, vieni, Antonio Vivaldi
Contemporary Music for Sand Ceremonies
All I Ask of You – Phantom of the Opera, Andrew Lloyd Webber
Can’t Help Falling in Love, G. Weiss, H. Peretti & L. Creatore
One Hand, One Heart – West Side Story, Leonard Bernstein
Somewhere, Over the Rainbow, Harold Arlen
Thinking Out Loud, Ed Sheeran
Unforgettable, Irving Gordon
What a Wonderful World, Bob Thiele