You're probably familiar with unity ceremonies, even if you don't know them by that name. A unity ceremony is any kind of ritual in which the spouses-to-be combine two things into one (cue the Spice Girls song); some popular types of unity ceremonies include unity candles, sand rituals, and handfasting. “For a salt covenant ceremony, each to-be-wed pours from individual vessels of salt into a shared vessel, which can then be displayed in their home in a special container or display, or they could actually use it to cook,” explains Alyssa Longobucco, Style & Planning Editor for The Knot. “If this is the option a couple opts for, they can informally repeat the same ceremony as a reminder of their wedding day and continuous renewal of their love once all the salt is used up.” Often, couples — or their officiant — say a vow or prayer as they combine their vials of salt.
Longobucco explains that a salt ceremony “is meant to symbolize an unbreakable promise between two people, in this case, the newly married couple. It has a few believed origins. Way back when, when you made a promise or a deal with someone, you would commemorate that deal by sprinkling some salt from your pouch into that of the person you made an agreement with to solidify the deal and afterward your deal could not be broken.” Salt ceremonies also take inspiration from Bible verses referring to a “covenant of salt,” such as 2 Chronicles 13:5: “Don’t you know that the Lord, the God of Israel, has given the kingship of Israel to David and his descendants forever by a covenant of salt?” Some wedding bloggers also theorize that salt ceremonies have Irish or Jewish roots, note salt’s purity as a naturally occurring substance, and point to the saying "not worth their salt."
“From a symbolic standpoint, salt also has a lot of meaning,” Longobucco says. “It’s long been lauded as a perfect substance and symbol of good luck." And if you've watched Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat — or just cringed at under-seasoned food — you know that salt has a lot of power when it comes to cooking. "As any cook knows, salt is essential to a good dish — it adds flavor, acts as a preservative and melts ice," Longobucco says. "All good things when considered through the lens of marriage; may your union be long-lasting, full of life and never icy.”
Unity ceremonies as a whole have been becoming more popular over the past few years as couples look for ways to personalize their weddings, Longobucco says. And salt isn't the most unusual. “We see a lot of traditional unity ceremonies involving things like salt, sand, or dirt, and even more quirky ones like mixing up a green smoothie or guacamole together," she says. "The sky is really the limit when it comes to twisting or making your own wedding traditions!”