We decided on two unity ceremonies. We were going to wait and do the unity candle when both mothers could be present to help light the starting candles, so I looked online for some other options. I will explain the first one today, and plan to explain the second one tomorrow.
So, from searching online (which is how I did 94.9% of my wedding planning) I saw the "sand ceremony." From what my online surfing tells me is that it started as a trend from California beach weddings. Candles don't stay lit very well on a beach, so those wanting to have a unity ceremony started combining two containers of sand into one.
We made two unique twists to our sand ceremony--at least I've not read about others doing what we did. One, we used sand from two different countries. This is what really sold me on the idea of doing the sand ceremony--that we could combine sand from Taiwan and sand from the US. And, we also used a solid white base at the bottom of our vase; this was to symbolize Christ being the foundation of our marriage. (We had talked about using rocks--because who wants a marriage built on sand--but Lawrance was afraid the rocks might eventually break the jar.
While we poured the sand, we played recordings from three special people in Taiwan reading Scripture in Mandarin Chinese. Ellen, one of my dearest friends, read Isaiah 60:19-22; Dennis, one of Lawrance's Christian teachers, read Psalm 67; and Corrina, our matchmaker read Psalm 128.
Also, to make things more simple--it is not easy to move in a big white dress--instead of moving to a table to pour the sand, we just had the table placed behind my dad. And then when it was time for the sand pouring, my dad turned around, handed us the separate vases, and held the vase we were pouring into.
I found official "unity sand ceremony" vases online for upwards of 50/60 dollars or more. We got ours at Hobby Lobby for just a few dollars.
We carried our combined sand jar/vase back to Taiwan with us. Lawrance had it in his carry-on. He was stopped at every security check-point because of it. :) And, the sands inside are now all mixed up completely. Since we were already expecting this, we weren't too disappointed that it's no longer in pretty layers.
This is how we explained the sand ceremony in our wedding program: