This tradition is a way to honor multiple generations of the bride‘s and groom’s families, and/or a way to include any children that the couple may have.
The couple selects a glass bowl they would enjoy having in their new home. Each grandparent, parent, stepparent, godparent and so on is given a bud vase filled with a different color of flat colored marbles, with the separate colors signifying the individuality of each family member.
The grandparents pour their separate colors into the Unity Bowl as the foundation of the wedding of the bride and groom. Each set of parents does the same. After each set of grandparents, parents and so on have added their marbles to the mix, the celebrant stirs the colors with her hand, creating new mosaics each time. Siblings and other special friends may be invited to participate, as well.
Then the bride and groom add their two colors, and I mix the Unity Bowl contents again. If there are children, they add theirs after the bride and groom, as we are honoring each generation.
Ultimately, the family members are reminded that each of them, in their own way, has colored the lives of the bride and groom. Therefore, each has developed specific tastes, goals, morals, choices...and thus the bride knows she has found her perfect groom, and the groom knows he has found his perfect bride.
Finally, it is noted that, just as the mosaic has continually changed, so is change the most dependable constant in the couple’s married life. They are called on to embrace change, find what can be learned from each change, and to put their own hands in and stir up the design in the bowl with every change they encounter.
Thus they get to keep a memento placed in their Unity Bowl by all the family members and other loved ones who were present at their wedding–an emotional value that always grows with time–and also a reminder that change is always beautiful, as long as we keep the right perspective that we can always learn from change.
From Perfect Circle Weddings Reverend Dr Susan Dana Kennedy