Pagan Wedding Rituals

Pagan Wedding Rituals

“I do” can be said in various styles. The wedding, deemed the highlight of one’s life, isn’t limited to a single day. From family members gathering for merrymaking to husband and wife walking down the aisle together, it’s a spectacle altogether. In the Pagan world, weddings aren’t like any other religion, but there’s a common chord, surely, and that is the concept of union.

Pagan Wedding Rituals- Two hearts meet, two families nod to a new life, and a union is celebrated. Paganism doesn’t fall under Christianity but rather goes back to the time when Christianity didn’t come into form. Pagans usually follow polytheistic, non-Christian, or indigenous belief systems, and their way of worship encompasses spiritual offerings, meditations, and sacrifice.

A brief history of paganism

Paganism is a broad umbrella term. Neo-Paganism has awakened the sense of personal spiritual development among the Western European people. Whereas the Eastern European crowd is digging deep into history to form a harmony between nature and humans. The three tenets of modern Paganism are Wicca, Asatru, and Druidry, and the followers of each have their individual ways of living life.

Pagan Wedding Rituals

Though Paganism has always been in close contact with nature, in modern times, it has been impacted more by feminism and environmentalism. If you take an interest in the history of Pagans, this space would benefit you. In ancient times, the Pagan view was on the firmer side, which got gentler as the years went by. Now it’s all about freedom and tolerance of worship and a wider diversity.

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Pagan history incorporated in the weddings

Nature has a huge impact on Pagan weddings. Adherents of Celtic, Wicca, and Pagan traditions acknowledge and value the magnificence of the natural elements and the energies that are inherent in all living things. A loosely defined set of religious beliefs and varied traditions focus on the seasonal cycles, and nature mainly. So, if you want to explore the world of nontraditional weddings, which don’t necessarily fall under typical church practices, welcome to Pagan nuptials.

Pagan Wedding Rituals

Over the years, the ceremonies have been altered and while some decided to stick to the religious practices, some moved away from it. But the people, especially the couple, who take the vows, have more than one reason to choose ‘handfasting’ over church proceedings. Thankfully, the Pagans believe in openness and the newlyweds would be mindful of their guests’ comfort. Since ‘a personal touch’ is very prevalent nowadays, the couple would be happy to explain their nuptial rituals!

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Pre-wedding rituals

Unfortunately, there are no significant pre-wedding rituals in pagan weddings. However, the last few days before the main ceremony can be a time when the bride’s and groom’s families engage in high-spirited activities which encompass deciding a venue, preparing the guest list, and selecting attires. Since nature plays a crucial role in determining the sanctification of a pagan wedding, choosing the perfect season is also a monumental task for the to-be-married couples.

Pre Wedding

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The wedding ritual

Handfasting

When it comes to talking about the main ritual, ‘handfasting’ is the one we should address. If we break down the word, the meaning gets unveiled. A vow to love, honor, and respect each other in a marriage. A “unity ritual” which spans all types of ceremonies (Celtic, Druidic, Wiccans, and Pagans), is a symbolic act altogether. Without any hassles, the couples hold their hands to wrap a ribbon around the folded hands before the officiant.

This means that they’re tying their destinies (both physical and spiritual) together. Handfasting may be a part of a bigger ritual now, but there were days when this was the only ritual at a wedding.

Handfasting

Three colors of ribbons are common in Handfasting. If you see someone using blue, it means that they’re focusing on patience, understanding, loyalty, and health.

The red symbolizes courage, fertility, will, and strength, and the orange stands for attraction, kindness, and encouragement. The couple can ‘handfast’ for a ‘year-and-a-day’ until their love lasts or for eternity. The choice lies with them!

Pagan Wedding Rituals

Jumping off the besom broom

The ‘jumping of the besom broom’ follows as the next most endemic ritual. It is a ritual to celebrate the sexual union of the newlyweds and also break free from the limitations of their bachelorhood.

Back in ancient times in Africa, this ritual was a no-no among the slaves. But now, jumping over a broom solidifies the marital commencement, thus distinguishing it from a casual relationship.

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Other Pagan Wedding Rituals options

Sword Exchange

If you wish to dump the common ‘handfasting’, a sword exchange ceremony can be an alternative to ribbons and rings.

Sword exchange

Altar

Another unity ritual encompasses offering to an altar. Completely dependent on the couple, they can bring meaningful items to place in front of the altar to honor their love. Candles, flowers, and incense sticks are very common, though.

Alter

A circle with your kith and kin

Guests standing in a circle to take part in the ceremony is also a scene often noticed. This marks the diversity of neo-Paganism which allows people to customize according to their preferences.

Kith and Kin

Seeking the help of Mother Nature on your big day

If a couple wishes to be the closest to nature, they can opt for outdoor ceremonies. Being outdoors will be a healing spiritual experience and the beachside or in the middle of a forest can be a good option.

pagan wedding seeking help from mother NATURE

Bay leaf ritual

Bay leaf burning, a very important ritual of union, isn’t usual. But the thought behind it is astute. Burning bay leaves together means that the couple is releasing negative energy and manifesting desires. The act of saying ‘goodbye’ to the past life is as important as respecting each other. A crucial part of growing, the goodbye is bid in a ritualistic manner through bay leaf burning.

Bay Leaf Ritual

Seeking blessings from your close ones

Passing around the rings to the guests can also be nice, since every guest will have an opportunity to bless the couples with the rings in their hands. The guests can either speak out loud, or bless silently.

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Post-wedding rituals

Unfortunately, there is nothing significant as a post-wedding ritual. Since there is no such hard-and-fast rule in a pagan wedding ritual, the couples can choose to do their thing!

Pagan wedding food

The feast is inarguably an important part of the ceremony, since the Pagans don’t tend to do anything without a delectable platter. Potluck being the most common, the Pagan wedding food is communally cooked instead of being catered. There isn’t any particular cuisine in a Pagan wedding. The couple can cut the cake to make the beginning of a new life, or share anything sweet like cinnamon twirls to share with each other.

Pagan Wedding Food

The potluck should include foods which symbolize prosperity, good luck and prosperity. Sweet foods such as honey, chocolate, fruits,nuts, herbs like cinnamon, basil are widely known as part of the ritual.Sharing the first drink also marks the beginning of a nourishing life ahead, which can be done using a goblet, glass or the traditional Chalice.

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Pagan wedding attire

In ancient Celtic or medieval times, the Pagans usually dressed like the characters of Game of Thrones. Long-sleeved gowns, simple designs, velvets to name a few.

Bohemian style is more of an option for an outdoor ceremony. If the couple resonates more with free-flowing earthy tones, chiffon and lace clothes are their jam. These elements help form a unique connection with nature as well!

Wedding attire Pagan

Gothic, the perfect ebay to explore the darker side encompasses darker colors, mainly black. Dramatic eyes, bold lips and fairytale feel, everything you need if you’re a passionate goth.

Pagan Wedding Rituals

Modern Pagan weddings feature the bride in simple white dresses with Celtic knotwork. This is the best option for low-key and budget-friendly weddings. The couple also chooses their dresses according to the season, personal style, and ceremony location.

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Conclusion

Keeping everything in mind, a Pagan wedding invitation may feel a little intimidating after reading this. Pagans were previously known to practice black magic and partake in everything dark, but those were proven as misconceptions with time. So, feeling nervous but taking part in something out of your comfort zone is common, but the cultural difference will also be a new experience for you.

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