Pagan Wedding Considerations for Couples by Selena Fox
Permission to reproduce or adapt these must be obtained from Selena Fox in writing in advance.
Take time to reflect on these issues and discuss options with each other as part of your preparations for your handfasting or other Pagan wedding. By working together in deciding the answers to these questions, you can strengthen your process of communication and decision making, plus you will create the framework upon which your wedding ritual can take shape in a planning session with me or whomever you choose to perform your rite.
On what day do we want to get handfasted? What time of day do we want our handfasting?
In what geographical area do we plan to get handfasted? In what specific place do we want to have the handfasting? Do we want the handfasting outdoors or inside? If outside, what shelter is available in case of inclement weather?
How large of a group of guests do we want to have at our handfasting? Who are the guests we definitely want to be present? What other guests would we like to be present? Who are the guests we definitely do not want to be present? Who do we want to perform the handfasting? Who do we want to have in what roles in the handfasting? Do we want music at the handfasting, and if so, by whom? Do we want our handfasting photographed, audio taped, video taped, and if so, by whom?
How long of a handfasting rite do we want to have? Do we want our handfasting to be legally binding? Do we want the handfasting orientation to be primarily spiritual or secular-cultural? How formal do we want our handfasting to be: informal, somewhat formal, very formal? How elaborate do we want our handfasting to be: simple, moderate, complex? Do we want guests seated or standing, and in what configuration during the handfasting? Do we want a reception, and if so, when and where? What other handfasting-related activities, if any, are we planning? How do we plan to end our handfasting day?
Do we want to have our hands joined together as part of the ceremony? Do we want to jump the broom? What other customs do we want as part of our ceremony? * What special objects do we want on the handfasting altar? What is the color theme for our handfasting? What form of clothing and colors do we plan to wear? What flowers, if any, do we plan to wear and/or carry? What flowers or other plants do we plan to have as decorations? What ideas do we have for our handfasting ceremony design and decor?
Why do we as individuals and as a couple want to become handfasted? What does getting handfasted mean to us? What do we hope that getting handfasted will do for us and our relationship?
2-6 months in advance we begin with a consultation session with minister to set date, adapt an outline and prepare for wedding. Consultation may be by phone or face-to-face.
24 - 4 hours before wedding begins a walk-through with couple and others with roles in the ceremony is undertaken.
1-4 hours before a wedding begins the area is consecrated, an altar is set-up and we hold a final briefing.
Arrival of Guests
A group processional entry or the direction of seating by ushers occurs; live or recorded music may be played. Processional of Couple and attendants process after signal by minister.
Couple acknowledges family, ancestors, and/or special guests.
A moment of interfaith Divine attunement is accessed through silence, toning, and/or imagery.
Using imagery, sound, and/or movement.
Couple journeys with minister(s) to each of the compass points to receive a blessing of the Direction and its associated Element. (Tools and qualities have been pre-selected during Planning session.)
Earth: North, the Physical Realm
tools: a pentacle of salt, a dish of fertile soil, or a platter with a round loaf bread
qualities: good health, a happy home, groundedness, and fertility
Air: East, the Mental Realm
tools: incense, feather, or bell
qualities: wisdom, good communication, learning, and intellectual growth
Fire: South, the Action Realm
tools: candle or wand
qualities: creativity, harmony, sensuality, and vitality
Water: West, the Emotional Realm
tools: water from a chalice or bowl
qualities: understanding, emotional support, intuition, and friendship
Spirit: Center, the Spiritual Realm
tools: anointing oil, crystal, or other Spirit symbol
qualities: balance, wholeness, integrity, and spiritual growth
Spiritual Marriage as Sacred Union of Female - Male aspects of Divinity
Goddess Evocation: Divine Female principle evoked in the Bride
God Evocation: Divine Male principle evoked in the Groom
Consecration of Rings
The minister(s) bless rings and/or other tokens of exchange.
Exchanging of Vows and Rings
Bride and Groom speak commitments to each other.
Handfasting with Cords
Cords from Bride and Groom are joined and their hands fastened.
Well wishes on the marriage spoken by minister(s) and/or guests.
With visualization, movement, and/or sound, "Joined in Love" or other chant may be voiced.
In silence, or with music, prose, or poetry.
Verbal affirmation by minister(s) that the couple is now married.
Couple shares food and/or beverage.
Couple and minister(s) give thanks to the Divine at directions.
Uncasting the Circle
The formal ritual ends with a benediction.
Couple jumps together while audience cheers.
Receiving line, photographs, feasting, gift opening, merry-making.