The Offbeat Bride: Camille, Doula
Her offbeat partner: William, Shipper
Date and location of wedding: Grace Court Park, Winston Salem, North Carolina — September 30, 2018
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
The theme of the wedding was simply “love + intention”
I’m a witch, my husband is not. He knows now after being with me this long that I care a great deal about ritual, intention, and love. So, we set out to do everything by hand. We braided our own handfasting rope, we decorated our broom together, we brewed mead together, we painted and created our whole twelve (12!) invitations together. During anything we did, we lit a red candle, and we would hush to each other about love. We would declare our intent. We did this every time we did anything for the wedding, even my hair. The exception being for my husband, our friends who braided his hair used white candles to cleanse his energy and absolve him of weight from his past to help him bring only himself to the altar and no demons.
My crown was handcrafted with love and intention from one of my absolute best friends, (who shares sun signs with my son!) and even our decor was still flower wired and twine wrapped with our bare hands, our love, and our intentions.
Tell us about the ceremony:
We started the ceremony with song and dance to bring attention to the gods that a wedding was about to take place. We chose “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” for two reasons: Lion King gets brought into every pivotal moment in my own family’s life (my mom sang Lion King songs throughout my labor to protect me and get me through transition) and two: because everyone SHOULD know the song. It was an awesome experience, everyone had instruments, bongos, shakers, a xylophone, clappers. My high priestess started Milly rocking in the middle of the altar — it was fantastic.
My high priestess called for the inner circle and outer circle to cast a circle; she emphasized the importance of closing all gaps, and protecting us from the influence of outside distraction. I guess if you’re a witch, this is where it got traditional — very waxing poetic explanations of marriage and handfastings.
Where it got non-traditional was the fact that my bouquet was my baby. I not only couldn’t afford a bouquet, but my baby hadn’t slept. He was exhausted, mad, and by the time I got up there, HUNGRY. So the biggest stray from tradition here was that I nursed my baby at the altar in front of the divine spirit, my family, and friends. I’ve never felt more matriarchal in my life. I could feel the warmth, and the love, and the approval, and the respect from everyone in every direction. The energy from every single person bounces off of their adjacent. It was a handfasting for me.
Tell us about your reception:
Did I say we were poor already? I just want to reiterate, we were broke. My manager suggested a potluck, she said everyone would be honored and that I should try it. My first thought was everyone would think we were tacky and (one more time) POOR, but we really didn’t care.
The witch community in Winston Salem is surprisingly tight-knit. We mostly know each other or at least know of each other. Fellow friends Tyler and Michael, (engaged to marry exactly one year from our date) and Greg are a part of a community farm, along with the beautiful and talented Amy, who’s birthday is shared on September 30th as well! They were more than accommodating and open to hosting the bonfire reception for us.
We toasted with drinking horns full of mead, and everyone drank it along with us, completely unafraid of our having never brewed a homebrew before. Amy rolled ceremonial mugwort joints, there was a giant celestite wand, and of course, our cake, designed by my beautiful New Zealander queen and friend, Liz. Being out in nature by a fire loving on all my friends who were loving on my new family was an experience I can’t shake. I still feel like I remember it so vividly. The ribbons around the torches around the bonfire. The s’mores. The vibrant smiles on everyone’s faces. It was truly a celebration.
What was your most important lesson learned?
We ran into trouble with invitations. Because we only had a set amount of expendable cash, we made only a few and sent out just that. So for example, I didn’t invite 99% of my family! I had my beautiful mother, her boyfriend, and my brothers. THAT WAS IT! I just couldn’t afford a venue that wasn’t in nature, nor did I want a venue that wasn’t in nature. That. Ruffled. Feathers. But I had the wedding of my dreams with or without anyone’s permission and that is what mattered to both me and my husband. This to us was the one time we didn’t have to sit around and receive approval.
My advice to anyone planning their own wedding is to take it in stride. I was late to the altar (originally set for 4:44, I got there at like 5:30) I didn’t intend on having a cranky baby. Don’t let things like that break you. I would’ve had to cancel the whole wedding if I cared about a single thing that went awry. I just couldn’t be bothered. I still got married. That was my end goal after all.