Unity Candle Ceremony
The Unity Candle Ceremony is performed to symbolize the joining together of the two families, and their love for each other. More often it is to symbolize the union of two individuals, becoming one in commitment.
The popular explanation is that the taper candles are lit by representatives from each family, or the couple, to symbolize the love and allegiance that each family has for the other.
As the couple use these two flames to light the unity candle, they bring the love of both families together in a united love. Generally, the two tapers are left burning and replaced in their holders (because each family's love for their own will continue). However, in some ceremonies they may blow out their individual candles.