The unity candle ceremony uses two taper candles and a large pillar candle (called the ‘unity candle”) in the center.
At the beginning of the wedding ceremony a representative from each family (usually the mothers of the bride and groom) light the two taper candles. Later in the ceremony (usually after the formal vows) the bride and groom use the taper candles to light the pillar (unity) candle together. The lighting is performed to symbolize the union of two beings into one light.
The officiant may offer an explanation of the symbolism, a special blessing or reading.