It's all magical fairy lights and love at Dawn & Shannon's pagan wedding

February 25 2015 | offbeatbride
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Photos by Lara and Susie Photography

The Offbeat Bride: Dawn, research assistant/laboratory technician

Her offbeat partner: Shannon, machinist

Date and location of wedding: Our dearest love, friend, and maid of honor, Beck's, back garden in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia — December 14, 2014

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We wanted a wedding with a touch of tradition, a moderate amount of ritual, a large amount of natural beauty and colour, and a massive amount of acceptance, love, and genuine laughter (and fairylights!). We also managed to have the wedding of our dreams on a budget that allowed us to go on a honeymoon.

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Our wedding was comprised of long-term married couples, single people, little children, grown children, straight, gay, pansexual, polyamorous, monogamous, kinky, not-so kinky, downright vanilla, christian, pagan, buddhist, and a couple of quirky photographers. All this variety wrapped up in 30 people sharing a beautiful back garden with one common interest, our wedding. We were blessed that we could choose a group of people we adore and trust so much to know that never an ill word would be spoken, never a faked smile to be seen, and never a moment we would doubt the genuine affection they had for each other and for us.

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Tell us about the ceremony:
We had a blended pagan ceremony. Several traditions were observed during the ritual and ceremony to reflect the beliefs of myself and our guests. We chose our bridesmaid daughter, Jorja, to be our guardian angel. She mixed brickdust with salt and scattered it around the ceremonial circle. The celebrant called the towers for protection of all those entering and remaining in the circle.

During the ceremony a cord was used to bind mine and Shannon's hands. It represented the bond we have and will have for as long as love shall last. Shannon and I also made a paste from the brickdust, salt, cinnamon oil, and spikenard oil. Our maid of honour, Beck, pricked our fingers so we could add our blood to the paste. Shannon and I both placed our hands in the paste and then onto each others' hearts (and we shared a kiss). This anointment was to symbolize protection, clarity, and wisdom.

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We also jumped the besom to symbolize entering our new life together. During the ceremony there is cake (made specifically for the ritual) and mead. After we take of the cake and mead, they get passed to each guest to be shared. A blessing was given by our bridesmaid, Ailish. It goes as follows:

Fairest Frigg, Fensalir's Lady Friend of families, matron of marriage, most gracious Goddess, her my hailing. I pray for Shannon and for Dawn with whom he is handfast. I pray for peace between their bonds. I pray for their love to last through the long years. And all the woes that the world can wish on them. I pray for patience on both their parts, that they may salve each others sight everytime they return to the haven of home. Yet most of all I ask for aid when anger burns and baleful words come forth to fire each others false suspicions. Help them to turn to trust and come with courtesy to the table, and talk, and find a fairer road to walk. O' Frigg who keeps their knotted cord, show them the shared road through the thorns. So Mote it Be.

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It wasn't a problem being fat, I just wanted to be certain I was fat and fabulous.

Our biggest challenge:
The biggest challenge was maintaining my stress levels. I was very blessed to have so many wonderful people setting up the wedding and reception, but nothing cut through the fear of putting that dress on after months of it hanging in the wardrobe. As beautiful as I may tell myself I am, that dress represented the fear of having gained weight on an already large body. It wasn't a problem being fat, I just wanted to be certain I was fat and fabulous. To my happy surprise, the dress still fit, the makeup never ran, and the hair didn't frizz. Hearing that zip go up on the dress gave me immediate relief and I allowed myself to feel as beautiful as I looked.

My favorite moment:
The moments that meant the most were the jumping of the besom, the sharing of the feast, and all the twinkling fairylights. Mother's and daughters, lovers, best friends, children and parents all joined in to jump into a new stage of life together. The besom was handmade by two beautiful pagan priestesses, and dearly loved friends in Western Australia. It was special to have that part of them here in Queensland.

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The feast was the crowning moment of the reception. The tables were laid with fruits, spreads, breads, meats, cheeses, wine, and candy. Everything was set in a way so everyone could mingle and move around and spend moments with one another interacting. It was a beautiful bounty of food, beverage, and laughter to represent the abundance we all should have in our lives and love.

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My funniest moment:
I hadn't seen Shannon for the 24 hours before the wedding. After I walked down the aisle, stood next to him, and had my bridesmaids remove my veil I decided to kiss him. He laughed and said we weren't allowed to kiss until after the ceremony to which I stated, "I will kiss you anytime I want!" He still laughs at me now about placing that kiss at the wrong time. However, I don't believe there could ever be a wrong time for a kiss.

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I looked at myself and loved every scar, every stretch mark, every bulge, because I was beautiful.

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
I learned just how uniting love is. The ceremony was to marry Shannon and I, but it summed up to so much more. I found how deeply my friends cared and how hard they worked to make the day beautiful for us. I saw our friends and family looking into the eyes of their lovers and children and feeling their heart bursting with pride and love. I saw Shannon smile in a way that no doubt could cross. I looked at myself and loved every scar, every stretch mark, every bulge, because I was beautiful ….because I AM beautiful. I am a reflection of all those beautiful people that celebrated a wedding day better than I could have imagined.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

  1. I love this whole post, especially the injection of amazing body positivity. I hope Dawn and Shannon have a long and happy marriage!

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  2. Beautiful. Thank you for giving use a look into your happiness and for the respect you showed for yourself. We all know brides in particular are often harassed about losing weight, as if only super thin women can look beautiful. (Sadly, the super thin ones are still pushed to lose weight and somehow get bigger boobs in the process!) Some medication I had been prescribed for my anxiety caused me to gain nearly 50 lbs. I cannot say that I am happy about the extra weight, yet I have always been a super curvy short woman with what I proudly call a giant butt, so I am not unused to the extra softness of my body. I like my body, even now. But I have a beautiful wedding dress hanging in my closet for my upcoming wedding that I may not fit. Your comments about how you felt about yourself at your wedding certainly put things in perspective.

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    • i didnt want my zipper to define me…but goodness knows I wanted that dress to fit so i could go see my groom! I hope you feel stunning and confident on your special day too πŸ™‚

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  3. Thank you for sharing this! I've been trying to find ways to incorporate pagan traditions into our ceremony as almost all of our guests will be Christian. This wedding was absolutely gorgeous!
    Blessed Be!

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  4. Congratulations! You look absolutely stunning and the fairy lights are just gorgeous. I wish you both a lifetime of love and happiness.

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  5. I love the Pagan traditions you included, and what a stunning bride you make, Dawn! Absolutely gorgeous. Thank you for sharing your beautiful wedding with us.

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  6. Even before I read your feelings about the dress and body issues, I was thinking "sexiest bride ever!" I loved everything about your look; hair, makeup, tattoo, feather details on the sleeves, fabulous for sure!

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  7. Oh I adore that thigh bearing shot of you and your gorgeous girls – you all look stunning! πŸ™‚ I think I will have to add that to my pile of "shots my mum really won't appreciate" LOL!

    This came at the best time. My wedding is less than six weeks away now and as a fellow curvaceous bride, I'm feeling the pressure. Its really scary actually with the last week's of time running out and realising that if too much weight goes on, I'm screwed. Well not screwed just buying another wedding dress last minute! I'm just going to try to relax about it and hope for the best. I think I will try my dress about a week before the wedding just in case anyway! πŸ˜‰

    Lovely gorgeous wedding. πŸ™‚

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    • congrats on your upcoming wedding!! and thank you for your kind words πŸ™‚ Keep in mind on that special day that its your beautiful smile that is going to outshine ANY thing else you are wearing. Wishing you the best on your special day πŸ™‚

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    • I am so glad I could share my happiness with so many lovely people, on my wedding day AND now through Offbeat Bride. When your beautiful day comes, the key to happiness is simply "BE happy". No matter rain, no matter small mistakes made during the ceremony, no matter the food being cold…no matter what…HAPPY will be present as long as you remember what you really are there for….and you already know you are there because you are in Love <3 Best wishes for you beautiful day x

  8. You are absolutely GORGEOUS! This wedding looked phenomenal and I only hope my wedding can be have as beautiful!

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    • have a look at the website Light in a Box! lots of plus sized options at super low prices if you are willing to buy online like I did πŸ™‚ Good luck finding your dream dress!

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