Neil & Amanda's Renaissance fire and glitter handfasting

Updated Oct 12 2015
 
Photos by: Amy Fender
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Photos by Amy Fender

The Offbeat Bride: Amanda, Leasing Agent

Her offbeat partner: Neil, Hospitality Manager

Date and location of wedding: Woodland Weddings, Columbus, Indiana — October 20, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Neil and I spent the majority of our lives attending conventions, Renaissance faires, and pretty much living the nerdy way of life.

We both knew that a traditional wedding was never in the cards for us.

Instead, we decided to throw a weekend-long Renaissance/fantasy celebration complete with a bonfire, live music, hog roast, fire spinners, and appropriately-themed alcohol.

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Tell us about the ceremony:
We decided that we wanted to do a handfasting, but because of how close our family and friends are, it was very important for us to have our wedding parties, family, and guests involved in the ritual. As we recited each line of our declaration to each other, each member of our wedding parties laid a cord (which I'd made specific for each of them) across our hands, creating a six part rope for the handfasting.

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Once the ritual was complete, we exchanged rings which were delivered to us on the wings of a Harris Hawk, and the officiant ended our ceremony with the following declaration of intent:

As these two are joined, so is our family united through them. It has been their decision to bind themselves by marriage, and their lives will be blessed and enriched by the support you give. Will all of you, present here and witnessing these vows, assist and support these two in their union?

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Our biggest challenge:
Our budget was a challenge. Originally we had assumed that we would be fine, but unexpected issues and bills made it very clear that we would need help. At that point, even though we had a very clear vision of what we wanted, we were confronted with the fact that some of the details we wanted would have to be cut back. Luckily we were blessed to be surrounded by very supportive friends and family who bent over backwards to help in any way they could. There was very little we had to go without because of that, and we will be forever grateful.

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My favorite moment:
There were so many memorable moments, from Neil's groomsmen lighting our pre-wedding party bonfire while singing "Misty Mountains Cold" from the Hobbit, to our fire-spinning friends from Sacred Circles creating an entire show around some of our favorite songs.

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However, nothing could have prepared me for how nervous I was walking up the aisle, even though Neil and I had lived together as a couple for the better part of five years. At that point we were so ready to be married, but when I saw his smiling face as he reached out to take my hand, it was a perfect moment.

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My funniest moment:
Neil's uncle was our officiant, and when he asked Neil, "might you ever cause her anger?" instead of answering with "I might" as scripted, Neil answered with "…probably." This initiated a cascade of giggles from the crowd and a "yeah, pretty much" expression from me.

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Then we tried not to laugh or open our eyes during our reception while my mother dumped several industrial-sized bottles of glitter on our heads for a few Legend-inspired portraits.

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
If a coordinator is in your budget, get one! If not, ask someone who is not a member of your family or wedding party to be in charge of setup/tear-down and making sure things happen on time.

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If you are having your outfit custom-made, make sure that the person you choose knows what your expectations are and set a firm deadline for when you want that dress in your hands. My initial experience was nothing less than devastating when we finally received our outfits only two days before the wedding, incomplete and completely wrong.

I honestly don't know what we would have done without the wonderful staff at Sofi's Stitches. Not only did they actually shut down their factory in order to create our back-up outfits in time for the wedding, but our matching costumes were AMAZING and we highly recommend them!

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. Your wedding caught my eye as I've written for quite a few Renaissance inspired weddings, even though I live in the UK. Gorgeous photographs and the whole ceremony and celebration looked fantastic. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. This is so freaking cool. I just love when a wedding is completely reflective of the bride and groom. PLUS YOU HAD A HAWK! AND FIRE!!!

  3. Your wedding looks amazing! And I agree that the people at Sofi's Stitches are beyond awesome! They made my wedding dress, and when there was an issue with it they bent over backwards to fix it for me. I am glad they were able to get you new attire in time!

    I wish I had thought of fire dancers for my Renaissance wedding 😉

    Congratulations!

  4. Wow! What an amazing wedding!! I love all the details and the colours..for a moment, I thought I was looking at a Hollywood movie..Great job and best wishes to the couple!

    • Awww, Thank you!
      And yea, I think typically it's 3 stands braided into one cord however, we wanted to incorporate all of our wedding party into the ceremony so I made a separate cord for each of them and attached different stones to each one. All the stones had different meanings for this that we wanted to bring into the marriage.
      We also decided on a Declaration of intent instead of normal vows, so the multiple cords worked out better; after each declaration a different cord was laid over our hands and then at the end all the cords were knotted together.

      Long story short…..my husband is all about deeper meanings and things of that nature. 🙂

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