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Handfasting & pagan weddings

Posted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 8:42 pm
by Mahala
It's been a long time since I've come to the forum! I'm back, yet again, and armed with questions, the first being where has everyone gone and why did the forum get so ... quiet? But those are best for another time.

I was curious to see what advice anyone could give me on handfastings and pagan wedding ceremonies in general. I know that the state I live in doesn't recognize them as legally binding, but I'm not entirely sure about that. Who can perform them, and what preparations should be made? (Other than counseling for bride and groom, haha.) What time of the year is best for handfasts? I'm sure I'll have more questions as I do more research, too.

The reason I'm so curious, for those who I'm sure want to know, is that I am trying to plan a small and informal handfast/pagan wedding for me and my beloved. :-D We already "feel" as if we are married, but we want to have an official ceremony to celebrate us starting a life together. We don't want to have a traditional Christian ceremony, because I feel uncomfortable with the idea.

Re: Handfasting & pagan weddings

Posted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 12:27 pm
by Kitsune
First off, Malhala! **Glomp** It's been forever! Where have you been?

As for your question... Pagan Handfastings are not legal in my province either. #-o

Thus, when me and my husband decided to marry before the eyes of Gods and Men we had two ceremonies. The first one was in April and amounted to us and three friends as our witnessness and the government official who married us in a non-religious ceremony. No family, very few friends, just us. While my husband prefers that one, it was not enough for me to know that the government knew we were married. I planned a handfasting, got a pagan that I respect to come in from another province (Hi Crazy! :hug: Forever Thanks) and we wrote our own vows.

It was held on August 16, the midpoint between Lugnassadh and Mabon. My husband and I scouted out city parks until we found a place, both beautiful, alive, not covered in pesticides and that welcomed us and our ritual when we asked it if we share its space for the ritual. That day, our close families and friends came out (about 20 people in all, most of them non-pagan) and we had them stand in a large circle. Each was given a rune throw to the ground during the ceremony. My handmaiden and his best man stood just inside of the circle. Me and my husband walked opposite each other around the circle and when we met each other, we held hands and walked in towards the center, showing our path past all our friends and family, us meeting & coming together and then choosing to unite as one. Then Crazy read a blessing, calling in the circle and we passed around a handfasting cord that I had woven from blue and silver ribbons (the colours of our handfasting). Everyone was asked to bless it and it's purpose, even the cowens, in whatever religious manner or faith they had. Then the cord was brought to us and Crazy tied it about our wrists. Me and my husband had written a set of vows that required one of us to speak counterpoint to each other. I got permission from my husband to include them so you could see what we said.

Grimwell - Long, Long ago, I asked for one Precious Gift.
Kitsune - Long, Long ago, I prayed for one Ultimate Blessing.
Grimwell - Something that would be as Strong as the Earth beneath our Feet,
Kitsune - Something that would be as Gentle as a Warm Feather Comforter on a Snowy Night.
Grimwell - Something that would fit me so well that I would wear it every day,
Kitsune - Something that would grow with me as I grew,
Grimwell - Something that would make me a better person,
Kitsune - Something that would challenge me and stretch my mind's horizons,
Grimwell - Something I could always be proud of,
Kitsune - Something that would always believe in me,
Grimwell - Something that would make me feel, for the first time, what it was to be truly loved.
Kitsune - Something that would accept me the way I am.
Grimwell - Walk with me every Winter,
Kitsune - Fly with me every Spring,
Grimwell - Seduce me every Summer,
Kitsune - Comfort me every Autumn,
Grimwell - Lie with me every night.
Kitsune - Awaken with me every morning.
Grimwell - Share my hopes and disappointments,
Kitsune - Share my Dreams and Sorrows,
Grimwell - Share my Youth and Strength,
Kitsune - Share my Old Age and Wisdom,
Grimwell - Hold my hand,
Kitsune - And love me forever,
Grimwell - And I found you.
Kitsune - And I found you.
Grimwell - You are the Companion of my Heart and Mind.
Kitsune - You are the Companion of my Body and Soul.
Grimwell - Your presence is a Blessing,
Kitsune - And is still my Greatest Gift.
Grimwell - All that I am, I became with your aid.
Kitsune - And all that I have is yours.
Grimwell - All that I promised you before, I swear again, with all my Heart.
Kitsune - All that I promised you before, I swear again with all my Heart.

Then Crazy pronounced us married and we walked out of the circle. Then we had the usual pictures. Me, my handmaiden and Crazy walked into the river, though my dress was silk so I couldn't really get wet. We'd forgotten my shoes at home, so on our way to dinner, we stopped off at the mall, I wore my husbands shoes in and bought a pair of white heels and we arrived just a few minutes after most of guests. Dinner was a low key affair, and was incredible. I have pictures somewhere on this site...

Anyways, I bought two really useful books when I was planning for it. They both had really great information, one for the actual ritual and the other for the information provided.

The first was Handfasting and Wedding Rituals by Raven Kaldera & Tannin Schwartzstein. Its' a great book, and our ritual was actually taken a lot from one of theirs. They have all sorts of vow examples, ranging from Pagan Lite to a full theatre performance with all of the trappings. Pick it up for some great ideas.

The second was Handfasting, A Pagan Guide to Commitment Rituals, by Rev. Dr. Kendra Vaughan Hovey. It was a much drier read, but it explains everything from the origins of handfasting, to combining modern traditions, to legal information, to dealing with non-pagan families, friends and even divorce information and rituals. It was a very intelligent read and I would suggest it to any pagan hoping to handfast.

Any questions that I didn't answer, don't hesitate to ask! :hug: outtahere:

Re: Handfasting & pagan weddings

Posted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 3:44 am
by Mahala
Where have I been? Everywhere! Haha, very, VERY busy, and about to get even busier... I finished high school, had a miscarriage, got a job, did a lot of volunteer work, boyfriend is moving in with my parents and I soon, and I'm registering for college next month. I'm excited, but also very scared of everything, lol.

I looked those two books up and Barnes & Noble, my favorite bookseller, happens to have them. :D I think that I may buy them when I go to the book store this week. I have a long wishlist which is mostly books, and these will be on that list, near the top!

Are there (respectable, TRUSTABLE) resources online for this? I've been thinking this over, out loud with my boyfriend, and we've decided that even though this is a very special moment in our lives, our two families are just too volatile to let them in on it until after it's all said and done and they can't nose-in and disturb us. The ceremony would have to be just the two of us, and we've mutually decided that it doesn't matter if it's legally recognized, as long as it feels right.

Re: Handfasting & pagan weddings

Posted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 8:49 am
by Kitsune
Unfortunately, not off hand. I was willing to take a bit of information off-line, but in general I wasn't able to find the information I required there. :oops:

You might be able to find the books for an e-reader... they might be cheaper that way.

Sorry, I'm not more helpful in this respect.

Hey, you've been gone forever... Have you seen my website yet? :-" I have a website and I'm making a name for myself out in the real world, trying to become a published fiction author and full time writer.

Also, are you on Twitter at all? If would be nice to keep up with you more!

Re: Handfasting & pagan weddings

Posted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 12:32 pm
by Crazy Healer Lady
We got a minister from the United Church who performed our friends' wedding. He is a lovely gay man who is comfortable doing Pagan ceremonies. We did a mix of Pagan rituals. Chris added "Jesus" in his vows to honour his beliefs, and I think to satisfy his Grandma, rest her soul. Everything in the ceremony was very spiritually meaningful to us.

Terry worked with us to create a ceremony specific for us. It's definitely worth it to find the person who sits right with you and work on it together. Your ordained person of choice will have performed many ceremonies and will be able to give great ideas. I still remember Terry almost jumping off his seat as he was describing possible ideas. He is an amazing man and really worked hard to make our day special. He even wore a robe with multiple religious symbols on it! Very Druidic.

Re: Handfasting & pagan weddings

Posted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 12:11 am
by Mahala
That's great, kistune! No, I regret to say I haven't yet seen your website, although I would love to. I'm aplanning to major in web/graphic design, so if you ever need a website, feel free to ask! I'm actually offering to do small websites and makeovers for free right now because I only have a part time job, haha. I do have a Twitter, but I don't use it very much.!/Marziba

CHK: I looked for a church on the United Church website, and I found one... turns out, my boyfriend and I have passed that church more than 100 times already! It's on a road that we use to get to a theatre that we both volunteer at. Perhaps we'll stop in and ask them if they could perform the ceremony? It's a Samoan congregation, but I figure that's not going to matter. There are also two other churches in the valley, but not really close.

Re: Handfasting & pagan weddings

Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:31 pm
by Kitsune
Sent you a request... I'm!/BA_Matthews on there. I'm on there quite often, usually I post 3 or more times a day... My website is and I love it. I'd love to hear your opinion on how I could make it better though!