Chelsea & Edward's cozy, Druid, handfasting wedding

The offbeat bride: Chelsea, GIS Analyst

Her offbeat partner: Edward, Retired Railroad Engineer (the guy who drives the train)

Location & date of wedding: CedarLight Grove, ADF (Pagan Church) in Baltimore, Maryland — December 5, 2009

What made our wedding offbeat: Our ceremony was a handfasting that followed the ADF Druid ceremony. The ceremony started by honoring the earth, the nature spirits, the ancestors and the gods of the folk (those in attendance).

The bride is pagan and the groom a non-practicing Christian. His family is born again, so we were mindful of this when writing the vows. We tried not to offend his family and keep it meaningful for the bride.

One thing that was important to us was the wording of the vows. We said, "I choose you to be my …." because this is what we were doing — we were choosing one another to spend our lives together.

The groom had been married previously and would have preferred a courthouse ceremony; however, it was the bride's first wedding, so we compromised on a small rite (thirty person guest list) held in the bride's church.

It was casual and the bride's dress was a discontinued formal dress from David's Bridal, which was purchased for less than $50. What a deal!

The bride made the invitations, the wedding programs and all the floral arrangements. The photographers, chef and the musicians are all friends and their services were had for a reasonable price. The entire event cost less than $1500.

Lastly, there is a nineteen year age difference between the groom and bride.

Our biggest challenge: The biggest challenge was writing the wedding ceremony. The Reverand has officiated many "mixed" ceremonies and was able to offer several suggestions. One of them was that the bride and groom dress in more formal attire instead of the standard druidic robes that are worn for sacred rites.

We also were able to work out verbage and a brief meditation to honor the deities of the folk while being inclusive of everyone. So while no Gods were called by name, everyone had a moment of silence to ask their deity of choice, whether it was Frigga, Zeus or Jesus Christ, to give a blessing for the couple.

My favorite moment: Part of the ceremony was opened for any attendee to give a reading or speak a few words offering a blessing for the couple. The groom's sister gave a lovely reading from Khalil Gilbran.

Her reading directly followed an Asatru blessing in which the guest asked the gods to bless us and finished with "Hail Chelsea and Ed". Although this was something strange and different for the groom's sister, she yelled, "Hail Ed and Chelsea" when she finished her reading. It made me happy that she was willing to go with the flow and be accepting of our very different and interesting ceremony.

My advice for offbeat brides: Have fun! Our wedding was low stress and fun not only for us, but for the guests.

Also, be true to your beliefs. I worked very hard to make the ceremony meaningful for me while providing a comfortable environment for those that do not practice my faith.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. would you mind sharing some examples of your meditation verbage wording? I am a practicing pagan, my fiancee is agnostic and we have a very christian family….we've tried to come up with a ceremony (for our MAy wedding) that people aren't too uncomfortable with but still has meaning for us. Your wedding sounds like it was truly lovely!

    3 agree
    • This is what was said for calling the Gods to be present for our service.

      Let us walk this Earth with love, for to do so honors The Holy Ones, those held sacred by the Peoples of all lands. We ask their blessings upon our rite. Let us honor all the Sacred Ones who've granted wisdom and strength to each one of us; who've guided and inspired any one of us; whose names are held sacred by all the races and peoples of the Earth now and from the beginning of all time be welcome here and honored.

      4 agree
    • Another suggestion would be "Bless this Marriage" by Fritz Hull.

      It is a really nice piece that we used as a call and response towards the end for the guests to participate. I believe you can find it in a book called "Life Prayers".

      3 agree
    • The entire time (3 months) that I was planning and writing; Eddie was involved. It was his service too and it was important to him for his sister to be comfortable at the service.

  2. This is so wonderful! ­čÖé DH and I had an interfaith wedding on Samhain this year, and we were able to mix together his Jewish and my Pagan traditions while not offending my Catholic family or other guests. It was beautiful, and I'm happy to see this was, too!

    Also, ::WAVES FROM ODENTON:: Hi, locals! Hope your day was amazing!!

    • It was and his sister even picked up a hand shaker to sing along with Ruby and the Hummingbirds.

  3. Yaaaaay for Offbeat Pagans and interfaith weddings! It's always so lovely to see these featured!

    Many congratulations and bright blessings. I hope your life together is wonderful!

    1 agrees
    • We have been together 10 years although only married one year. We are happy and having fun. Thanks for your thoughts and blessings.

      1 agrees
  4. I LOVE "I choose you…" I think it might find its way into my vows too!

    And I agree – the dress is SO beautiful on the bride. Her skin looked so radiant! Congrats to the couple!

    • What we repeated after the Reverand:

      I choose ed/chelsea to be my husband/wife , my friend, my faithful partner in life, I promise to you in the presence of the Gods, kindred and friends to stay by your side as your wife/husband in sickness and in health, in joy and in sorrow, through the good times as well as the bad.

  5. Dear Chelsea and Edward, congratulations.
    What a beautiful wedding.
    Thanks so much for sharing it with the world.
    Best wishes and bright blessings for your life together.

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