Morgan & Ryan's woodland mythical handfasting wedding

December 15 |

You've seen this wedding teased here before including a satyr son and cringing planner, which caused us all to demand a profile. And thankfully, Morgan obliged. Enjoy!

Jumping the broom!
Photos by Jesse Schafer

The offbeat bride: Morgan, Massage Therapist (and Tribe member)

Her offbeat partner: Ryan, Bartender and Student

Date and location of wedding: Milo McIver State Park, Estacada, Oregon — September 4, 2011

What made our wedding offbeat: I wanted my wedding day to be exactly what my five-year-old self would have liked it to be. That was my driving inspiration. I was a super imaginative kid who lived in a total fantasy world where in an instant I could turn my room into a magical forest full of fairies and romance. Then as the years passed, I slowly lost that imaginative child in me. I grew cold and my dreaming came to an end. Meeting my husband changed all of that. He filled me up with such love and emotion it was magical. Every time I look at him I see my glowing prince who came to save me. He is my knight in shining armor and I am once again a dreamer.

Party Boy!

We had a fully costumed Pagan handfasting celebration. The Pagan influence was perfect for our theme and our love for Mother Earth! It also gave us the freedom to truly construct our own ceremony to the way we felt fit us. And since I collect gnomes, fairies, and mushrooms, I already had a lot of our wedding decor in our household! My mother-in-law is a wonderful seamstress and made our costumes, and my sister-in law is a pastry chef who did our cake.

Tell us about the ceremony: My bridesmaids were costumed as the five Pagan elements. We wanted to be surrounded by our friends and family, so instead of setting up a traditional aisle, we had our guests circle around us. We then opened our circle by calling the four winds. We picked four couples to represent each direction of wind. We walked around in a clockwise circle lighting a candle at each direction while each couple gave us a blessing.

Walking down the aisle!

Following the Calling, we lit our unity cauldron and said our vows. The handfasting was next followed by our kiss. We exited and jumped the broom to the song: "Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangster" by the Geto Boys.

Me and my maidens

Our biggest challenge: My biggest challenge was letting things go. I had the view of the "perfect" wedding in my head, and it was hard to let things go that were part of that vision. The day of the wedding, my BBQ sauce fountain broke down. That was something I was sooo psyched for, but when Ryan broke the news it was so hard to care. Once the day came, everything that needed to fell into place, and the things that didn't fell by the wayside.

Wedding Party

My favorite moment: I loved the pre-ceremony festivities. The morning of the wedding, everyone showed up to help set up, and it was such a fun time being with all of our loved ones. We had a "party" tent set up for those who wanted to smoke and relax together. It was such a fun and rare moment to have with our entire family and friends that set the mood for the whole day.

Writting my vows

Secondly, I loved writing my vows. I was standing in the woods, alone with just a pen and paper. I was really able to reflect on my relationship with Ryan and why I was committing myself to him. It was very emotional and beautiful moment to have to myself.

wedding ring tattoos

Last but sooo not the least, at the end of our ceremony when Ryan leaned in and said to me, "I will always come for you." And he will.

Moves like Jagger

My funniest moment: We did a dance competition to the song "Moves Like Jagger" by Maroon 5. It was so funny seeing all of our guests get into it! My husband was amazing and came in a close second to our wedding coordinator, Brent, who can dance the socks off anybody.

family photo

Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? I was very careful to go into the day with no expectations. I wanted to be open to the experiences and memories of whatever would come our way. The day of the wedding, timing got a little hectic and we were running out of time for photo taking. It was nearly impossible to get all our drunken family and friends rounded up for photos. I think the chaos helped make them even more fun.

My advice for offbeat brides: Fill your wedding with personal touches everywhere. Our guest favors were personalized steins the guests also used for our kegs (we are huge beer snobs). Our wedding cake was rainbow (for our support of marriage equality), and our guest greeter was a skeleton (since I am a massage therapist). It was so fun coming up with all the fun ideas and seeing the guests put together the significance!

wedding moccasins

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? I learned how important it is to take time in your wedding planning to focus and take care of YOU! Drop the wedding for an hour of two every night for some yoga and a bath. Keeping myself happy and healthy was key for keeping Bridezilla locked away! This wedding planning should be fun and if it is not, change what you are doing.

Kissing Elves

butt grab

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. This wedding looked so gorgeous and seems so special. I love the advice of adding personal touches everywhere. I am going to take that to heart in the coming months (7+ months to go to get our personal touches in there). Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Great wedding!! Love that style of wedding.. I wanted to do something like that but it did not work out that way. Great photos!! love the purple and green combo for the "wedding" dress! Congratulations!!

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  3. Yep, this wedding is Awesome! I love that they actually called the wind and had a true pagan wedding. and I love the rainbow wedding cake! And the bride's dress! and everything – the photos of the bridesmaids are awesome! Really cool :)

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  4. Wow. That's all I can think right now. WOW. This wedding looks perfect! It looks like it was beautiful and SO much fun! Congratulations!

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  5. LOVE this wedding celebration!
    from the satyr son to the rainbow cake, everything looks amazing – preparing in a fairy-forest bower is beautiful!
    the sentiments expressed are so SO romantic!
    any chance of finding out about those ring-tattoos?
    I definitely wish I had been invited to this one!!
    Congratulations, felicitations, wishing the happy couple a lifetime of fantasy!

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  6. I was interesting in having my wedding at a State or National Park, but I was wondering if you needed to get any special permits or permission?

    Gorgeous wedding, love love the Pagan theme :3

    • My understanding is that this is completely dependent on the specific park.

  7. Once again it was a blast working with ryan and morgan. I knew after doing their engagement photos and talking about their wedding plans that this wedding was really going to be something special. I'm sad that there were no pics from Alex's speech! Or the daddy dance! I nearly bawled, it was so awesome. Anyway. thanks again!

  8. This is the bride here! Thank you for the kind words everyone! I am glowing right now. As for our wedding bands, since I massage everyday and lose everything I touch, we decided tattoo was perfect for us. I practice Reiki and with the help of our tattoo artist and his love for sacred geometry, we were able to beautifully combine two Reiki symbols that mean (In super simple terms) love eternal.

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  9. I love everything about this wedding. That is all :).

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  10. This is easily one of the most incredible weddings I've ever seen on this site! The love between you two is palpable, wishing you many lifetimes of joy together :)

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  11. I am just totally in love with your wedding. I love everything about it. Ok, nuff said. ^_^

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  12. I really can see that little five year old girl's dreams in your wedding. I am touched with this theme, maybe because I see myself in it.. all this imagination turned into a fest of love.. That is really something.

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  13. I really hope our fairy forest wedding next summer will be anything close to as beautiful as this one.
    congratulations, it looks amazing!! Love the dress so much.

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  14. This is the wedding of my dreams! So inspired by this! thank you!

  15. The picture/concept of your bridemaids as the elements is SO, so beautiful. I can't get over it. Also, my fiance and I are doing pint glasses for our favors–and we too are huge beer snobs!

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  16. Your photos are just fantastic. The forest allows for some really dramatic backdrop. We are also planning a handfasting but it will be on a beach, with a cave featuring. Best wishes to you!

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  17. I love the dress I was wondering if the mother of the groom would be willing to create another dress similar to the green and purple one. I was thinking moss and white. Please contact me to let me know the decision.

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  18. Hey Shawna I don't have a way to contact you but I don't think that would be possible, I am so sorry. That dress was several patterns pieced together on my body so I don't think we could recreate it. As talented as she is, she does not have the man hours for this project again. It was a very successful experiment! If you would like I could try and find the patterns she used. The purple underskirt is a recycled find from Oregon Country Fair and the bustle was a total experiment so we have no directions on how to make either. Thanks for your sweet words! Sorry we could not be of a greater help!

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  19. this wedding looked wonderful. i am getting married in a few months and want to encorporate a handfasting ceremony into a slightly more traditional wedding. i have been trawling the internet for weeks looking for a few words to say when the cords are memoved but i really cant find anything, and i mean ANYTHING!!! i have been trying to write something myself but i cant get any further than this "Although the physical binding has been removed… .." which is nowhere really. Please can anyone help?

  20. To a fellow massage therapist and pagan, your wedding brought tears of happiness to my old eyes, to see that there's still people out there that will bring their dreams to reality. From the cake, to your bridesmaids to your beautiful dress and rings, I congratulate you and blessed be for ever in eternity and may your love never end.

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  21. I have to ask the name of the guy in the red cape. He looks like someone I know! And since I also live in Oregon, there's always the possibility that it IS the same guy lol

  22. This has inspired me. Trying to find my "perfect handfasting" is daunting, and I love the idea of music choices, drunk picture taking and the skeleton personal touch!
    May your lives together be filled with laughter!

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