Wedding Customs & Traditions Forum

Different religions..... How to honor both?

My fiance's family is very christian, and very conservative. While I was raised in a christian home I chose to follow a different spiritual path. I am a practicing Wiccan. My fiance is okay with doing a pagan handfasting ceremony, but I am having a hard time finding a way of doing it that isn't so in your face pagan, I want it to be subtle so that his family won't be offended or uncomfortable. Any suggestions?

Re: Different religions..... How to honor both?

  • I am planning a handfasting too!!! I would recommend this book: Handfasting and Wedding Rituals: Welcome Hera's Blessing....tons of infoI have tons of sites bookmarked as well...too many to list here...if you want the sites I have you can e-mail me [email protected]    We can trade planning ideas too :D
  • FI and I are Pagan, too.  We did a private Handfasting a year before our legal wedding.  Just google "Subtle Handfasting" and you'll get tons of ceremonies that don't throw it in their faces.  (Although I must admit, that I get quite frustrated when lots in this country is Christian-centric, but we're not supposed to offend them.) Are you, by chance, of Celtic descent?  A lot of brides couch their ceremonies by saying handfasting is an ancient Celtic custom, and so you can sometimes get away with it that way.  Just a thought. GL!
    image Don't mess with the old dogs; age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill! BS and brilliance only come with age and experience.
  • Dang. I forgot to mention the following book: "A Romantic Guide to Handfasting" which might help as a starting point, but you may have to forgo casting the circle and calling quarters.  Depends if you're going to do a full-on ceremony, or just have elements of your own path in the ceremony. Also, when we did our legal wedding, we didn't do the handfasting again, but incorporated subtle Pagan references, and we did Cakes and Ale.  If you want me to send you my ceremony, let me know. 
    image Don't mess with the old dogs; age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill! BS and brilliance only come with age and experience.
  • If you are getting married in a church you will have to approach the subject carefully as a lot of churches won't allow anything that even hints at paganism *grumble grumble* but if you aren't, there is always the watered down version which is called a "hand blessing".  It is very sad though that your faith is the one that has to be tweaked so as to not offend while the Christian traditions don't.  Just my 2 cents. 
  • This sounds like a repeat of DD's wedding last May. DD is my stepDD, but as far as I'm concerned they are all my DDs.  Her biomom and stepdad and their ginormous families are all very very conservative Christian - Pentecostal.  Nothing wrong with that, we should all worship as we choose. DD and her DH are Pagan and have kept it basically a secret.  I am also Christian and she tested the waters with me to see what kind of reaction she would get to having a more Pagan and very secular, non-Christian wedding.  Her dad and I love her, it's her choice how she chooses to practice a belief system and it didn't make any difference to us.  She was raised pretty strict Pentecostal by her biomom and has shunned that as an adult. Basically, her dad and I felt that it was the kids' business how they chose to conduct their wedding.  It was not our business to tell anyone how to believe.  They were married at a university chapel that is non-denominational and had a Pagan friend officiate.  I know her mom wasn't crazy about a "real" minister not doing the ceremony but the kids handled that with her.  They told her they had a very close friend who had officiated at many weddings and that is who they wanted.There was no prayer of any kind.  They had a chalice ceremony but I don't know anything about the significance of it.  They also had a handfasting.  They told her mom that it was an old Celtic tradition that they wanted to incorporate.Her mom isn't a bad person at all, so I don't want to sound mean when I say this - she is basically ditzy.  Most of the world goes over her head.Her mom had no idea what significance any of the things the kids incorporated had in the Pagan belief system.It was important to DD not to offend much of her huge family who is Christian, but to still have the ceremony they wanted.We did have a few people mention that the ceremony was rather unique and they had never seen anything like it before.  I think that was polite code for "what the heck was that anyway?".ditto Handfast on the googling.  You can incorporate this into your ceremony without announcing to everyone there that this is a Celtic/Pagan tradition.You are dealing with my DD's exact situation.  She handled everything very well, had the wedding she wanted and didn't do the "in your face Pagan" thing that she was so worried about.Best of luck to you.  I hope you can find a way to have the ceremony you and FI want.
  • Thanks for all the help everyone! Handfast4me: both my fiance and I are from celtic descent. Nefariousmoon: I will definately be emailing you!
  • Well, good deal!  If you need anything, give me a shout!
    image Don't mess with the old dogs; age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill! BS and brilliance only come with age and experience.
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