As many of you know, I’m getting married in October 2020. So far, our date has not been postponed, and we are planning as if nothing has changed.
From the beginning, my fiance and I knew we would have an interfaith wedding. Both of our families are Christian. Mine is Catholic, and his family leans more towards Baptist. My fiance is still Christian, and I am Wiccan. How could we create a spiritual ceremony that won’t make anyone feel uncomfortable?
Here is the process that I’ve been struggling with. This is a personal post to convey my ideas and request more ideas for our future day.
We Want Something Universal, Not Two Specific Rituals
When I first looked into Pagan weddings, I bought the book Handfasting and Wedding Rituals by Raven Kaldera and Tannin Schwartzstein. This book has many perks, such as flower meanings, color correspondences, and ritual examples. I’d recommend it. But one thing I don’t like is that all the interfaith ceremony examples are “separate,” for lack of a better term. They all include two priests or priestesses, one for each faith, conducting two ceremonies back-to-back. We don’t want that.
We want one ceremony that reflects both of us, not two rituals that separate us. Instead of saying “here’s him, and then here’s me,” we want our ceremony to say, “here is us.” We’re aiming for a universal ceremony, one that is vague enough to convene our faiths and the faiths of our ancestors.
Related: Offerings to Deities: the Basics
To Make Matters Worse, We Have No Officiate to Guide Us
If you look up Pagan or interfaith weddings online, you’ll likely see mentions of priests and priestesses. We don’t have either--at least, no one we know and trust to conduct our ceremony. I’m not part of a coven, and we don’t go to a church.
Although many couples seek out priests that they don’t know, we didn’t want to do that. We wanted someone who knew us to lead the ceremony. We could work on the rituals with them, and the ceremony will feel far more special with a loved one than a stranger.
After much deliberation, we decided to have my grandmother officiate. She was a psychology professor who focused on family and religion. She has observed many religions both here and in India, and she has written books and articles about karma. She describes herself as “undenominational,” which is exactly what we’re looking for. We know she’ll be well-spoken and open to both of our opinions on the ceremony.
On top of that, my grandfather (her husband) died earlier this year. He was sick for a long time, and he was upset that he wouldn’t survive until the wedding. This is our way of involving both of my grandparents. Honoring ancestors is one of my values, after all.
Plus, There’s Little to No Information Online
If you try to research Pagan interfaith weddings, you won’t find much. There are plenty of articles about Pagan weddings--handfasting, jumping the broom, etc.--but few about combining your faith with your spouse’s.
The best sites I could find were couples’ wedding photos that they uploaded onto sites like Rock n Roll Bride. Seeing real couples’ weddings gave me ideas of what we could do. But many blogs lacked the information I needed. Many scheduled weddings as “here’s the Pagan part, and here’s the Christian part.” Again, that’s not what we want.
So Here Is What We’re Doing (So Far)
First, we decided on one spiritual ritual that we both want: the handfasting. This ritual is perfect because it combines my Wiccan faith with our ancestral histories. Handfastings date back to the 16th century (at least) in the British Isles. It is also the origin of the phrase “tie the knot.” Even for family members who aren’t Pagan, this ritual has some ancestral significance.
We’re going to remove the segments that are too “Wiccan-y,” for lack of a better term. For instance, we won’t cast a circle and call upon the four elements. That is a bit too explicitly Wiccan for our interfaith wedding. Instead, I can make four handfasting cords that represent the elements.
My grandmother/officiate recommended that she call upon “the Universe” in place of specific deities. We like this idea. It shortens the ceremony because she won’t have to list every deity that we worship. Plus, both my fiance and I believe in a higher power. Calling upon the Universe is enough to invoke that.
How We Incorporate the Christian Aspect
If you don’t know, traditional Catholic weddings basically do an entire mass before the ceremony even starts. There’s no way in hell that our ceremony will be that long. My parents did that, and they emphasized that we don’t have to.
Instead, I want to incorporate some Christian aspects into our spiritually vague wedding. Many handfasting cords have charms on the ends. I would like to include a cross or two on the cords.
I also want to erect a table for our ancestors who couldn’t make it to the wedding. Many of my family members died before this day. I would like to give them an open chair and table for them to be present. I may include a Christian candle and rosary on the table, too.
How I Sneak in the Pagan Aspect
Because I am one of the only Pagans at my wedding, I don’t want to shove the Wiccan aspect into peoples’ faces. So I prefer to incorporate my religious views into my jewelry, handfasting cords, and some decorations.
I bought a hair comb in the symbol of the Goddess. In Wicca, the Goddess rules over weddings because it represents the transition from maiden to womanhood. This beautiful design is from Etsy seller Ayreeworks.
I have already bought two necklaces from the Etsy jeweler Sheekydoodle who makes formal Pagan jewelry. I’ll see which ones work with my dress during the fitting. Representing my religion in my jewelry is very important to me.
Recently, I asked a Hellenic polytheist discord how I can sneak more Pagan aspects into my wedding. A few people brought up the bouquet. If the florist makes the bouquet green and purple, those colors signify Hera, the Goddess of marriage. I also want an artichoke in my bouquet. Oddly enough, artichokes are an aphrodisiac--Aphrodite, much?
Do you have any ideas for incorporating Pagan symbolism?
I considered naming the tables after deities, too. Perhaps there’s a way I can bring Hades into the ceremony too? If you have any ideas, please hit me up. We’re still planning the ceremony and could use more brainstorming.
Please comment below!