"When Pagans Go Traditional" wedding

Updated Mar 10 2020

2967133033_c9ed1eeba6

The Offbeat Bride: Erin, Admin Assistant

Her Offbeat Partner: Tim, Theater student

Location & Date of wedding: First UU Church, Indiana, PA — August 2nd 2008

What made our wedding offbeat: We built our ceremony from the ground up. Tim wrote our vows, we chose readings that reflected us and our families. Likewise we did everything we could to keep it low cost and free of the faux-formality of a lot of weddings today.

2848079811_6f24098e01

That being said, both Tim and I love to dress up so we just had to go all out, Tim and his groomsmen (and groomswoman) in top hats and tuxedos with canes, myself in the most ridiculously poofy dress I could find. It was spontaneous, carefree, playful and at every moment completely and totally us.

And bride wore green Converse… and argyle socks!
And bride wore green Converse… and argyle socks!

Our biggest challenge: Balancing my desire to have a very pagan hand fasting with the need to maintain a certain family friendly normalcy.

If our wedding had only been about Tim and I we would've been calling the corners and casting circles but as it was, we didn't want to alienate our families on what was going to be one of the biggest days of our lives. So we toed the line, the reverend at the Indiana Unitarian Universalist church was spectacular, and even though we are not Unitarians ourselves, she was accommodating and helped us make the ceremony that fit us the best. And seeing the word "church" on the invitations set our extended families minds at ease.

2848901182_9067616970

Also by doing a number of traditional things — the bridesmaids matched, my Dad walked me down the aisle, I wore white, etc., it helped tone down our more offbeat aspects — we all wore converse, the entire bridal party had visible tattoos, the handfasting etc.

2786187106_27e86e2107

My favorite moment: Just after the ceremony as Tim and I jumped the broom then ran down the aisle. We were outside and it was the most spectacularly sunny, warm but not hot day. We were just laughing and bouncing all over the place, shouting "HOLY SHIT WE'RE MARRIED!" It was perfect.

2783466136_4740afe703

My advice for other offbeat brides: Be flexible. It's okay to do something because it works, even if it's not exactly what you want. Don't let yourself be bullied into changing things that are very important to you, but be aware of what you feel is necessary and what you can really life without. Ultimately most of the things (except the groom) at my wedding were all things that I compromised on, very little of my original vision went into the big day.

2786189962_17b9f1876f

2785354373_caa5e2519b

That said, it was completely perfect as it was, and I couldn't imagine being as happy as I am with how my wedding turned out if it had been any other way.

  1. I like this very much. Ultimately weddings are about joining two families, not just two couples. It's a tough balancing act to stay true to yourself, while not alienating those you love. Looks like you struck the balance!

    Congratulations!

  2. Um… jsyk the url behind the bottom picture, leading to the photostream, is broken. There's an extra "H" in front of the "http."

    AND I LOVE THIS WEDDING! But I'm biased, because I was in it.

  3. Oh, this makes my pagan heart leap for joy! 🙂 Everyone looks so happy and relaxed, and the sunflowers are beautiful. (I'm from Maryland, and it's our state flower, so yay.) We are performing a similar balancing act–I'm pagan, he's an extremely liberal Christian, and we both have slight Buddhist leanings. This is wonderfully encouraging. Blessings!

  4. Oh wow we're using that same reverend. We've met with her already and love her openness. I'm glad to see someone else had such a great experience! Gotta love the top hats too ;-).

  5. What a great approach to your wedding. Simply, a celebration of the joining of two lives, and two families. Wonderful, and inspiring. Thank you.

  6. I agree that a wedding is not *just* about the bride and groom! This wedding sounded like a great compromise 🙂

    My husband and I also used a Unitarian minister for our wedding (we are not Unitarians either) and she totally rocked! They are a great organization and very open and welcoming to all types of individuals.

  7. Love it! I'm totally with you on how important it is to make your family and friends feel included and comfortable. Way to make it happen!

  8. <<<<Unitarian here! I'm having my wedding at the UU church in Montclair, NJ- and its funny you said that the word 'church' on the invitations made your family feel better! Mine too! Even though to my Roman Catholic family, Unitarians are 'weirdos' too LOLOL!!!!I Love love the pics of you in the water!!! Great job to your photog!!

  9. I love this. We are doing something very similar. The interesting thing about the white "traditional dress" is that for me (and probably most of us here), wearing any shade of white is probably the most off-beat thing that I could personally ever do! Thanks for sharing!

  10. Oh God- You look amazing! This was so beautiful, and you two look SO in love.. I almost cried. Fantastic!!

  11. Oh thank you so much for sharing this! You look fantastic, and are a BEAUTIFUL bride! We are having a Pagan wedding with many traditional and non-traditional elements on the beach by our home, and you have inspired me to remember to be true to ourselves and our families. And I *love* the shoes!

  12. my fiancee is pagan and wants a handfasting and im really sorta between religions right now but would like to do the whole church wedding thing for the sake of my family too… we are tryin to find a way to incorporate the 2 before we even start the plannin… up until now we were thinkin we were goin to jus have 2 seperate cerimonies, one for the church and one for the handfasting… but i love the idea of joinin the 2 together like u did… any way u could give me some imput and suggestions? if so my email is jennilynnbaby69@hotmail.com it would be greatly greatly appreciated

  13. I'm getting married in September…we opted for a ceremony by an Episcopal minister (I was raised Episcopalian, my fiance was raised Roman Catholic), with pagan elements worked in (we're doing a handfasting–I have to finish weaving the cord! And we're jumping the broom).

    I love your pictures–how awesome!

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No-drama comment policy

Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.

Biz owners & wedding bloggers

Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. Our comments are not the place to pimp your website. If you want to promote your stuff on Offbeat Bride, join us as an advertiser instead.