As I mentioned in my last wedding post, our day was beautiful.  It was also a full Wiccan ritual handfasting before a group of Catholics, Lutherans, and other various and sundry people unfamiliar with our faith.  When we started planning our ceremony we put a lot of thought into how we would present the ritual and how much we wanted to show our guests.  The goal was to stay true to our spirituality while not alienating close friends and family.  Aside from losing our first several officiants, this was the biggest hurdle we faced.  It was imperative that our wedding reflect who we are, but were all of our guests ready for such a candid display?

While we are not a closeted family we are also not always obvious in certain company, so for some this would be the first taste of any of it, and for some time we worried about reaction.  Would people walk out of our ceremony?  Would there be scandal if I danced with my boyfriend or girlfriend?  Would there be concerned lectures about how  marriage should run or how our souls were troubled?  I’ve heard these lectures before, but I didn’t want them to stain my wedding day.

Therefore, we had two choices.  One, try to disguise our ceremony as something ecumenical, or, two, not care about the reaction.  Option one fared several failed attempts, but it the end it went down in a glorious flaming show of self-destruction.  There were just too many things we weren’t willing to compromise.  This is when we both realized it didn’t matter anymore what the reaction would be.  It was vital to us to be bound using our spiritual traditions and no one else’s, and there was no way we could honestly do that by trying to camouflage the parts that might make people feel uneasy.

At that point we set our charts to education rather than placation.  I put basic information on our wedding site, and we did our rehearsal in the comfort of our bridal suite with immediate family present.  We mitigated surprise wherever we could, even putting a  blurb in our program encouraging participation.  As we began to let go of our trepidation the ceremony began to write itself.  The final  result held all the facets that were meaningful to us with no ambiguity or shielding.  While still slightly nervous, I couldn’t imagine our ritual being any different, so we took a deep breath and stopped revising.

The morning of the wedding the magick really began.  As we set up the alters most of the people helping we at least mildly familiar with pagan symbolism and correlation, but I found that those who weren’t were observing.  Some even asked questions.  I felt a sense of pride and peace as I explained the qualities of each elemental alter to my dad, realizing he understood and accepted that part of me as he has with every new curveball I throw his way.  I started to feel we’d made the best decision by being true to ourselves.  If anyone was going to judge us it wouldn’t be anyone who mattered.  I had finally let go of that last shred of feeling like I had to be someone else in certain circles.  That day I was all me, and it felt good.  I mean ecstatic first breath of new life good.  If they couldn’t accept me the way I finally have in recent years I had no apologies.

It was with that thought that I joined my bridal party at the entrance to the garden where a hundred people were sitting, waiting for the celebration to begin.  I could feel Hubby and his men at the other end.  He felt it, too.  There was a buzz in the air, tangible to everyone.  When the music started all the rushing to get ready and worrying about what wasn’t done left me as I grounded and prepared to take the next step in my journey.

The ceremony was exactly what I wanted and more than I could have imagined.  A last-minute rain storm had turned the lawn originally planned for the ceremony into a swamp, so we arranged our guests around a fountain in an adjacent garden bordered by tall trees.  A good friend played an enchanting cello as Hubby entered to the Imperial March, which relieved whatever tension still lingered.  My ladies processed to “Kiss to Build a Dream On”, each one alternating her direction around the fountain.  Even the flower girl and ring bearer acted as if they were born for that very day.  All of this reaffirmed that we had done well.

I couldn’t help but beam as my dad took my arm and we walked.  I know every bride says this, but at that moment I felt beautiful.  I felt free, and loved, and nothing mattered but the man at the other end of the aisle.  Guests took pictures as the priest cast the circle.  They joined in singing our chants and passed the flame with which we lit our unity candle.  No one seemed offended or traumatized by the symbolic Great Rite, and aside from a few curious comments and the bride leaving her vows behind and having to improvise, everything ran smoothly.

It was a moving experience, full of acceptance and celebration of not only the love Hubby and I share but also who we are as a family.  Not only was our ceremony well received, but for weeks people remarked how beautiful it was and how our happiness and love made it memorable, and I was happy I had followed my heart and my spirit.  I had put together a wedding that resonated within me and stayed true to our path.  It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, going way beyond September 4th, as we joined two families and laid the foundation for a future where we can raise a family and live openly in our faith, in our way, with no regrets or apologies.

I feel blessed, relieved, and loved to have such an amazing group of family and friends.  While they may not always understand or agree with our lifestyle, I am not confident we will always find love and acceptance when it matters the most.  That’s what it means to be family.

Go now, be yourself.