You or someone you love (who identifies as a Wiccan, a Witch, a Pagan or otherwise…) is getting married! After officiating several Witch weddings (Yes! I am a legal wedding officiant!) and while going through the process of planning my own, I realized there are quite a few questions and misconceptions out there about what to expect at a Witch wedding. Perhaps this shouldn’t have surprised me. But it did.
Watch this video. Replace all the references to pony-shows and YMCA with references to any kind of Witch stereotype you want to throw together and replace Gary with me and you’ll kinda get what I feel like:
Most Wiccan weddings will have strong semblances to mainstream weddings. Usually, the bride or brides will walk down the aisle to meet the groom. In one wedding I know, the betrothed were two grooms and I believe their parents walked them in, together!
Here are a few things you might expect at a Wiccan/Witch/or Pagan wedding (although not all Wiccans or Witches identify as Pagan or vice versa among any of these, I’m going to use the term Wiccan through the rest of the blog for the sake of ease and continuity) that may not be common to a standard wedding:
The bride(s) may not wear white. In Wiccan weddings, it’s all about what makes sense to the couple. The idea of “white=purity” or that purity even being a real thing isn’t part of Wiccan wedding lore. I’m wearing ivory on my wedding day because I happen to think a wedding dress in a shade of white is beautiful, but I know many Wiccan brides who wear green or even red. Green is a color of fertility and of the Earth. Red can stand for love. Don’t drop your cocktail in shock if the bride or brides march out in a brightly colored gown.
The couple will likely have written their own ceremony. Unlike many religious traditions, there is no standard Witch-wedding ceremony. There may be similarities between them (as they borrow from one another) but you can be assured that the ceremony will most likely be written by the couple, with perhaps some help from the officiant. Get ready for something unique that reflects the couple!
The ceremony may take place in a Circle While many couples don’t wish to forego the tradition of walking down an aisle, having a “ceremony in the round” would also be natural to a Witch wedding as so much of our spiritual work is done within a Circle. You might get to stand around with the lovely couple in the middle!
The prayers will be different At the opening of many ceremonies rooted in mainstream religions, a prayer to the faith’s Higher Power is offered. But instead of a prayer to “God,” the prayer will likely be to “Goddess” or a specific God or Goddess that you may not have heard of. In some cases, an offering to this Deity may be made, such as beer, wine, or food laid on the ground. Don’t cry over spilled beer. It’s all part of blessing the beautiful day!
The Explanation of Marriage May be Different While not every wedding does so, many traditional marriage ceremonies discuss the commitment in a rather antiquated format: the wife bears children for the husband, the husband protects the wife, etc. That’s fine and good if that’s how the couple at the altar sees the purpose of marriage. However, many Witch couples define their own ideas of marriage and what the officiant says will likely reflect that. When I officiate, I talk about the role of married persons to help each other remember their true selves, to celebrate in shared joys, and mourn together in grief–to be partners and friends and lovers for life.
The ceremony may include readings or prayers from the families’ religious traditions. I have attended and performed Wiccan weddings in which one or both of the families were Christian, Jewish, or otherwise. Wiccan couples like to include elements of their families’ faiths; to appease families in attendance but also to honor their Ancestors who likely practices those faiths. Wicca does not exclude the faiths of others. It is perfectly appropriate to include prayers from other faiths.
The couple will likely exchange rings, but they may enact different exchanges as well In a wedding I performed a few years ago, the couple exchanged ornate staffs as a sign of sharing beloved property. At the first ceremony I performed, the couple exchanged spears. At one ceremony that I performed in August, the couple placed five stones in a jar of sand, the stones representing Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit. At the ceremony I performed two weeks ago, the couple shared a goblet of wine. This too will be entirely unique to the couple and will be much about their shared interests and values.
The ceremony will probably include a Handfasting This is a ceremonial binding of the couple’s hands, which will symbolize their life together as a unit of two souls. When I perform the ceremonies, I frequently bless the unions with Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. This is done with ribbons, cords, or even a scarf.
The couple may jump a broom The act of jumping over a broom has roots both in North America and Europe. In North America, enslaved African people would jump a broom in place of a marriage ceremony as they were not allowed the rights or rites of legal marriage. In Europe, couples would jump a broom as a kind of non-legal marriage agreement. While not sealed by the Church, it still represented a pact that the couple would live as married. Today, it generally represents moving from the old world into the new and for some, the broom encourages fertility if the couple plans to have children.
Whatever the couple has in mind, expect it to be likely be at least a bit out of the ordinary, but certainly true to them.
Have fun and don’t forget to bring a present…or some cash!