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.

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