Post # 1
so we have a Minister who specializes in Celtic ceremonies, and we are very excited to start co-creating with her. We aren’t set on a handfasting, although that is typically what comes to mind with a Celtic or Pagan ceremony. I’m not sure I resonate with the history of the tradition, but then again, we’re creating our own traditions, right?
I’d love to have the ceremony involve more ritual, like calling in the directions, casting the circle, etc. but I don’t want any of our guests to feel uncomfortable. As well, my Fiance has her brother and sister in her party and they are mainstream. so if we asked them to do something, it would probably be met with resistance, or at the very least, a WTF reaction.
I want to make my wedding unique and magical and something that reflects us, so I think somehow blending customs is the ticket. I just need to decide what’s important, and what to let go of.
How are you planning your pagan ceremony?
Post # 3
I’d be happy to give you my thoughts on what would make one uncomfortable from a mainstream perspective if you explain what calling the directions or casting the circle means.
Post # 4
- Wedding: November 2011 - Florida Aquarium
Well, my dad always told me he was so happy that he wouldn’t have to pay much for my wedding since I’d be getting married in a forest with a big cauldron. haha My dad is funny.
I think that you could cast a circle and other things without causing too much discomfort. Do your families know your faith? Are they open to it? I’m thinking about Christian ceremonies that incorporate lots of God talk which make me slightly uncomfortable– but not offended.
I think you should write ceremony to reflect yourselves, and your friends and family will appreciate who much effort you put into it– even if they don’t quite understand it all.
We left religion completely out of our ceremony, but it was very much us.” I got so many compliments because it was a true reflections of us, and it was really special.
What is your venue? I’m picturing a whimiscal outdoor location where nature provides your decor.
Whatever you decide, make yourselves happy. Don’t compromise your beliefs.
Post # 5
I have seen a few of my friends have more ritualized and personal ceremonies either before or after the “family” ceremony. But I feel you should create a ceremony that best fits you and your man. I think that weddings are not only about the love you have for each other but also the coming together of families to support the couple. I would hope you would have the full support of your family members on this special day.
Post # 6
@Mrs. Gremmlin: good point, I’ve sat through many Christian ceremonies or services that made me very uncomfortable, or bored, or even angry, and I just dealt with it! So if I want to add a little of my beliefs, they can deal too! lol!
Our venue is outdoors, but on the main deck of a large boat, so no forest surrounding us or anything. We get the best of both worlds with this place, indoor facilities and open air!
My partner had a good idea last night. She suggested that our guest could be seated in a circle around us and the altar. That way, the circle is ‘cast’ without us having to really do anything. I think by the time the ceremony is decided, we will have figured it out. Being at the beginning it feels overwhelming, and I don’t want to include anything that doesn’t resonate with us. But I know we have an amazing minister, so that’s a big relief.
Post # 7
There are quite a few officants that will gladly go with whatever you want. With my second wedding, the ceremony was an unique mix of Native American and Pagan. No ne seemed uncomfortable with it at all.
Post # 8
For any religious ceremony, your guests who do not share your faith will be made more comfortable if they know how they are allowed to opt out from participating. At a Christian ceremony, I would think it wouldn’t be too uncomfortable to hear the Christians praying to Jesus, but it would be rude to demand that all guests say aloud “I believe in Jesus Christ,” because perhaps you don’t. My friend had Jewish and Hindu bridesmaids at her Catholic wedding; they held her flowers and stood with her, but did not say the prayers, cross themselves, kneel, or take communion. They witnessed a Catholic wedding, but did not have to pretend to BE Catholic. The bride and groom also provided a more detailed guide to the Mass than they would have for a party of only Catholics, for their guests to follow along and understand.
In the same way, I would not be offended watching you call on the four winds, or join in a handfasting, but I would refuse to participate in something that would imply I share your faith. If you want to cast a circle, be sure to cast it around people who want to be in it. If you want to call on the 4 winds, go ahead, but don’t make your Baptist grandma call on them with you.
It also depends on what the traditions mean. Handfasting sounds to me like a symbolic representation of your newly entwined lives, akin to cutting cake together or exchanging rings. If it is faith-neutral, but simply more common at pagan weddings, it shouldn’t be a problem to have your bridesmaids tie your hands.
Post # 9
I’ve never been to a wedding such as this. I get what everyone is saying with the fact that not everyone is Christian but they have to sit through a Christian wedding, and I would expect that people will come and support you regardless of faith. But wether or not people should sit through her wedding isn’t really the question…
Being someone who is fascinated by pagan ritual etc but is Christian and doesn’t know much about it, I would personally love to get a little information about it. Like maybe a card with my program that explains what you are doing so that people can see WHY handfasting or casting of the circle is important. It helps people feel included or at least they can be with you in the importance of the rituals. You can’t really compare this to Christianity IMO because Christianity is very mainstream – it’s pretty obvoius what you are doing if you are praying. I would think the same with going to a Hindu wedding or anything else that isn’t common, It would be a lot more special to know why rituals that many people may not be familiar with, are special to you.
Post # 10
I think you should have the ceremony that best reflects your beliefs and relationship. To make sure your guests are comfortable, make sure to give out programs that explain the meaning of the rituals.
Post # 11
I didn’t expect to be getting many responses from non-pagans on this question, posting in the pagan forum, but it’s actually better this way!
yes, i agree, explanations in programs are a good idea. I planned on making them, because I wanted to share the lyrics of the songs we are using since they are so significant.
Post # 12
To add to this, I can see that some devout Christians might be upset if they were part of casting a circle without choice, based on how you seated them, such that it might be better to actually cast it and have the option to decline to participate. (I still do not know what casting a circle entails.)
I have been at several orthodox Jewish weddings, and one had a great program that was incredibly detailed explaining all of the rituals and why things were happening. I’ve been to two Hindi weddings now (and a quasi bridesmaid at one in India, quasi because it is a Western tradition not particularly well integrated into the wedding). While both provided explanatory programs, it was still incredibly hard to follow along because it wasn’t in English. Then again, I also found the full Catholic mass hard to follow, not being Catholic myself!
To the extent the practice is focusing on nature, I think people will be curious and supportive. It’s actually a very good opportunity for you to share your beliefs with your friends and family that traditionally are either not open or curious. You might also want to share if you are deviating from traditional pagan ceremonies at any point, because I bet anyone walking away from yours will assume that all pagan ceremonies are like yours. (Yes, assumptions are bad.)
I would be very intrigued to be a part of your wedding!
Post # 13
We won’t be casting a circle or calling the quarters. But there will be some traditional handfasting vows along with a few other elements. I want to incorporate some pagan elements without being all “THIS IS A PAGAN WEDDING!!” And thenbout an explination in the programs (if we go with programs). We may just suprise people.
Post # 14
@mtnhoney: I agree with the little explanation cards. I’ve seen this for all kinds of things at weddings, not just ceremonial/religious features. (eg: My grandfather was saxophone player which is why we are having a saxophone player accompany us today, etc)
I would love to be a part of it, with little explanations, but as PPs said, many people might not want to do it themselves. For the same reason that I would be very uncomfortable at a Catholic wedding if I were asked to participate in their rituals. While that may be mainstream in some places, it’s not in many major cities with large populations, so I wouldn’t assume that people are comfortable with practicing any rituals at a wedding (not that you were at all, just food for thought for all of us).
Post # 15
Never been to a pagan wedding, however I think any wedding that includes elements other that the traditional christain ones are always more meaningful and well recieved if everything is explained. Do everything you want to do, just have your officiant explain what the next thing is, why its important to you and what it means. If anything requires audience participation, make sure your officiant says something like “everyone who is comfortable and willing please join us in this” to help those who are uncomfortable feel free to sit out.
Post # 16
I think a lot of the “discomfort” with Pagan ceremonies comes from lack of awareness or silly stereotypes – and yes – there are still a whoollllle lot of people out there who think that calling of the directions, etc. is akin to Devil worship. Kind of funny/sad story – my mom and her worship group held a solstice ceremony in a land-reservation in town (with permission) and some people walking the trails saw it and reported that people were “doing satanic rituals”.
So with that in mind – I’d provide explanations – in the program, and on the website if you have one.
That being said, this is YOUR wedding! So as long as you’re not forcing anyone at gun (or sage stick) point to participate in aspects of the ceremony, you should do whatever you wish to do! I mean, how many weddings have you gone to where you’ve sat in a church looking at a giant statue of crucified and bloody Jesus with no one worrying about whether or not that might make you uncomfortable? 🙂