Her offbeat partner: Taren, Mental Health Advocate
Location & date of wedding: North Park Lodge, Pittsburgh PA — 10/3/2009
What made our wedding offbeat: The groom and I are both members of Arn Draiocht Fein (or ADF for short), an international Neo-Pagan Druid Fellowship. Despite honoring many deities, the one consistent thing about ADF is its liturgical format. We based our ceremony on that format while still adding elements of our own.
We didn't have a traditional “bridal party,” but we did have twenty-two people involved in our ceremony! I was escorted by my friend Justin, who later spoke on why I make a worthy partner. The groom was escorted by his best man and we were led into the ceremony by the groom's two daughters. We had three fellow ADF members be our “trio of singers,” singing songs to call in our ancestors, deities and nature spirits.
Other parts included the three blessers who blessed our guests with land, sea and sky, three rune readers who read relevant runes while holding our rings to infuse blessings, a prayer to the Earth Mother, and the reading of a poem. Our dog even had a part, giving her paw to our officiant when asked for her consent to our union!
We were lucky enough to have talented friends! The best man's wife was our photographer, a friend of ours did my hair, and the best man made his own outfit along with my escort's outfit! Our friend officiated the ceremony. The groom is a talented artist and designed our invitations and our wedsite. We made our own mead too.
Our biggest challenge: With twenty-two people in the wedding, coordinating with everyone was sometimes overwhelming! A week before the wedding we were still shuffling people around or asking some of our other awesome friends to fill in. What we did was print all of the parts on scrolls before the wedding. That way it looked nicer than someone reading off a paper, and as a bonus made it easy to have someone take over with a part of the ceremony.
Also, the place where we held both the ceremony and the reception would not allow us to leave anything there overnight which killed our plan of setting up the night before and having our rehearsal! Instead, we decided to have a “rehearsal brunch” before the wedding. It turned out great – we had mimosas, croissant sandwiches and fruit and cheese. The wedding didn't start until 3pm so the brunch worked well for us.
Also, with a Pagan wedding we were concerned about people being a little lost. But, our officiant did a wonderful job of making sure everyone felt comfortable. He spent a little time explaining what would be happening and why before the ceremony got started.
My favorite moment: We both prepared vows for each other and after I finished saying my vows to my husband, I walked over to his two daughters and said my vows to them. I think everyone there cried! My husband and I both had close friends of ours speak on our behalf about why we would make a good partner for the other. We had no idea what they were going to say and it made for such a beautiful moment when we finally got to hear their words.
My offbeat advice: Realize early on that no matter how much you plan, things WILL go wrong! And that's ok! Go with the flow and be flexible and it will all turn out great.
REALLY think through your DIY projects. I found these really cute little wooden trinket boxes that I thought would make great favors. They did turn out great, but you don't want to know how many hours I put into painting each and every one of them! By the time I finished, I never wanted to look at another one of those boxes! On the other hand, the mead my husband made for the reception was a wonderful choice for a DIY project!
Also, open up a new bank account for wedding expenses. It helps you keep track of what you're spending and also lets you put money away just for the wedding.
Speaking of money, look for vendors just starting up their businesses. We got an awesome deal on the food that way.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Best Man's outfit: Rivervale Treasury
- Bride's Dress: Gallery Serpentine
- Groom's Outfit: T'ger Toggs
- Invitations: Wolfden Designs
- Catering: Our Secret Catering
- Cupcakes/Dessert: One Sweet Cookie
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn: