Monday, July 18, 2011

Wedding Checklist: 9 to 11 months

9-11 months
  • Start looking for a High Priest and Priestess to perform the ceremony. Some of them will require marriage counselling, which can take several weeks at the least. You also want to be able to find someone you are compatible with.
  • Start planning the guest list. Have two lists, A and B. The A list is for everyone that you feel HAS to be there, the B list is for people who it would be nice to have there, but only if you have the extra space or invites. When making your lists, keep in mind that the people you invite will probably have to participate in the circle, so make sure that they are comfortable with this before hand.
  • Find a ceremony/reception site, if you are having both in the same place. Book as soon as possible. Be sure that they are they are comfortable with what will be going on in the space; renting a church basement wouldn't go over very well.
  • Start looking at rentals if it is an outdoor wedding – an event tent, chairs, tables, etc.
  • Choose the bridal party – who will stand with you, who will the flower girl/ring boy be if you are having such, who will take care of the guest book, the ushers if needed, who will help hold the broom for you to jump over.
  • Start shopping for dresses. Custom made dresses can sometimes take a long time to get in, so the earlier the better. Especially for Witchy wedding dresses.
  • Start looking for Djs or musicians. Ask for samples of their work. Decide whether you want specific musicians for the ceremony as opposed to the reception as well.
  • Look for a caterer. Make sure to have a tasting, and as soon as possible decide, sign the contract and send in a deposit. Plan your reception menu. Decide on price per head with the caterer. If you are planning by the wheel of the year, you may want to be sure that your caterer can include some meals with significance for you.
  • Shop around at different floral shops for prices. An attractive alternative for green witches? Grow your own flowers!
  • Plan out the ceremony with the High Priest and High Priestess. Be sure to mention passages you would like included or things of special significance to you.
  • Look for a photographer and/or videographer. When you find someone you like, book them! They book out quickly.
  • Decide on which colours, if you haven't already. Again, if you are planning by the wheel of the year this can be a great help in deciding colours. Green and Red for a Yule wedding, Orange and black for a Samhain wedding, Gold and Green for Litha.
  • Order your dress! At least send in the deposit and go for measurements.
  • Decide what kind of invitations you want, who you want to get them from, and sayings or quotes you want included. Be sure to let people know what to expect, most people have never been to a handfasting. A little information sheet written with what they can expect is usually well received.
  • Book your honeymoon, if you are planning on having one.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ceremony Choices

Your ceremony is the most important part of your wedding day, as it is the time that will transform you from single persons to a married couple.  It is when you will make your promises to each other, in front of gods and witnesses.  Obviously, it will take quite a bit of attention to plan.

For Pagans and Wiccans, one of the first steps to planning will be to determine what type of ceremony you prefer.  Are you looking for a legally binding ceremony, if so, you will need to verify what the legal requirements are in your area.  It varies wildly, so do your homework.  Will you need to apply for a marriage license?  What are the requirements?  Some places require blood tests, others documents as well as identification.  Is there a waiting period?  Where do you go to apply?  How much does it cost? What should you bring?  If don't care about legalities, you will still need to make some decisions.

Are you planning a highly ritualized ceremony in a circle?  Something more "traditional" or is something in between more your speed?  The answers to these questions is obviously dependent upon how "out of the broom closet" you are and the dynamics and acceptance levels of your friends and family.  Personally, my wedding was a blend.  It was legally binding in California, and symbolic enough to suit my religious views, but not so unusual that people were uncomfortable (my husband's family often pretends not to know about my Pagan beliefs, and he is an atheist himself).  We blended the traditional wedding ceremony with pagan symbolism and our own personalities. For details, see my About Me page.

A very religious handfasting ceremony will require it's own questions that are best addressed by your officiating Priest or Priestess.  Each specific group will have it's own version of a handfasting ceremony.  Will you include non-pagan guests?  How will you pass the word about circle etiquette?  What will you vow?

Your ceremony should reflect your relationship.  Your promises should be reasonable to the two of you who are making them, not other people.  Discuss what you both expect from your ceremony and go from there, speaking with your officiant, your families and your friends for support, guidance and suggestions.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Wedding Checklist: 12 months and earlier

Here is the first part of a wedding checklist, tweaked and edited for handfastings!  Most of these things are interchangeable with a more traditional wedding, but some are not.  I realize that it is a short list, but there isn't too much to do before then!

12+ Months

  • What do you want your handfasting to look like?  Now is the time to decide on a tentative theme.  Backyard, fancy, elegant, beach, etc.  Make sure there is room for a circle to be cast.
  • Decide on a budget and decide who will contribute what.  This is a good meeting to have with both of your families.
  • Decide on a date and time.  Keep in mind you may want to look at astrology books, or decide based on the wheel of the year.
  • If you are having a traditional white dress, start looking now.  If you are going with something more Witchy, you can find several websites that sell dresses.  You could also give some thought to hiring a seamstress.

The next portion of the checklist will be posted next week.  A big part of planning a wedding or handfasting is not to rush, regardless of how much time you have or don't.  Checklists always help!