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February 14, 2023
The day you get married should be an opportunity to express yourself – and it should be a reflection of you as a couple! While the wedding industry has created a standard “mold” of what getting married should look like, the truth is that you deserve a day that truly feels like you. Whether you want to give a subtle nod to Pagan beliefs, or you want to incorporate traditional Wiccan ceremonies into your day, this guide has some Pagan wedding ideas that you can personalize when you tie the knot!
We’ll talk about what Paganism is, define Wicca, and give you some ideas for incorporating elements of witchcraft and Paganism into your wedding day.
Paganism has been around for centuries, and originally the word was used to define anyone who practiced polytheism or who subscribed to a religion outside of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Modern Paganism (neo-Paganism) is about celebrating the earth, nature, and all the creatures that inhabit it – some modern day Pagans do believe in more than one God, while others see it as a spiritual practice that does not include a deity.
Paganism is a broad umbrella term with many small movements within it, one of which is Wicca! Wicca is probably the most common, and the most recognized modern Pagan movement – it’s the traditional study of plant magic, earth-centered witchcraft, and the worship of nature. It’s all about protection and stewardship of the earth, and celebrating the seasons. Witchcraft is a practice that makes use of magick, and while some people who practice witchcraft do consider themselves Wiccan, many do not.
The first way to incorporate Paganism in your wedding is through your attire! You can lean into black wedding dresses or dark attire and opt for dark colors instead of the traditional white wedding gowns. Accessories like capes, crowns, jackets, and veils can further enhance your wedding day outfit.
You can also express yourself through your rings – there are many Gothic styles of wedding rings that are incredibly unique and will definitely stand out! Rubies and black sapphires are a popular replacement for diamonds, and you can even incorporate skulls, coffins, or astral elements in your bling.
If you want to incorporate some Pagan ceremonies into your wedding, here are some ideas!
Exchanging swords or daggers comes from Pagan and Viking traditions, and can be a super badass alternative to rings! Couples will get daggers or swords, and give them to each other during the ceremony. You can combine this with your rings, or use it as a replacement if jewelry isn’t your thing.
Handfasting has actually become a pretty common unity ceremony ritual for traditional weddings, but it originated with Paganism! Handfasting is done during the ceremony, and the couples hands are tied together with a cord (or a ribbon) that symbolizes strength and your unity. Many Pagans and Wiccans use three chords, because this symbolizes the mind-body-soul connection!
Making offerings to an altar is another Pagan unity ritual, where a couple puts meaningful items on an altar either as an offer to the gods or a symbolic ceremony signifying unity. These offerings can include candles, incense, or any meaningful items – make it your own!
Many couples use candles to decorate the altar, and candles are a great addition to any Pagan wedding ceremony, but be careful if you’re outdoors – don’t light candles in grassy or flammable areas, and avoid doing this during fire season.
For Pagan wedding ceremonies, guests will often gather (they can stand or sit) in a circle around the couple and the officiant, instead of a traditional wedding where couples stand at the front and guests sit in the “audience.”
Paganism and Wicca are all about connecting to nature and the earth, so ceremonies usually take place outdoors. Being deep in nature is a really healing spiritual experience, and a great way to incorporate paganism and your love for the outdoors – so choose a location for your ceremony that really speaks to you!
The burning of bay leaves (or bay laurel) has been used by practicing Pagans and Wiccans as a way to manifest desires and release negative energy. Officiant, Anna, of Ecstatic Ceremonies explains, “The bay leaf burn is a comforting ritual that allows folks to release fears, worries and anxieties, and to create fresh space for growth around them. These days, most couples getting married have been through a lot, both individually and together. The bay leaf burn can be a way to acknowledge and put to rest that which no longer serves you as a couple. What I love about the deep work of saying goodbye is that it allows us to more freely move into the next phase of our lives. It welcomes grief and pain, and honors our whole humanity as people. A lot of times when we get married, it can feel like there’s no room for sorrow or letting go, but this ritual honors the goodbyes that are an important part of growing.”
For step-by-step instructions on incorporating the bay leaf burning into your wedding ceremony you can check out Ecstatic Ceremonies’ article here.
Blessing the space refers to lighting incense or sage, or ringing bells, or tossing petals or herbs to create a spiritual circle around the physical space where you’re tying the knot. This is usually done by the officiant, but it can also be a guest, or the couple can do this themselves! This drives out negative energy, and creates a holy or blessed space for your ceremony.
One thing to note is that the sage traditionally used in sage smudging has deep cultural significance to many Indigenous tribes. I would only recommend this if you and/or your partner have Indigenous ancestry, or you can ensure that the sage you’re purchasing is directly supporting an indigenous person or tribe.
Another Pagan custom that you can use for your ceremony is to pass your rings around to your guests. Each guest holds the rings, and gives you their blessing. The blessings can be spoken out loud, or well wishes can be given mentally while the rings are “warmed up” before being handed back to the couple to exchange. This is also a great way to have all of your guests feel present and included in your ceremony.
Along with the ceremony, there are many more Pagan wedding ideas that you can incorporate throughout the day!
Tarot card reading is a tool to connect to yourself, the world, and the divine. It’s often practiced by Pagans, Wiccans, and witches, and cards are drawn and laid out for the reader to interpret. It’s important to have tarot card readings done by someone who is experienced and knows how to channel your energy into their interpretation of the cards!
In Paganism, the wheel of the year is an annual cycle of seasonal festivals that consists of solstices and equinoxes and the midpoints between each of them. Many Pagans and Wiccans observe this cycle of the seasons, so you can plan your wedding day around the celebration of one of them!
Couple Ragan & Max had this to say about choosing to get married on the summer solstice – “We knew that picking a date with significance to us was more important than a traditional Saturday wedding. In architecture school, we were taught early on the importance of designing for the sun – providing passive cooling by reacting to the sun’s angle with window and overhang placements. To test our designs, the most extreme days of the year were considered – summer/winter solstice, and spring/fall equinox. Choosing to celebrate our love on the longest day of the year with the sun at the highest point in the sky felt like the best way to solidify our new chapter together, along with having a tie to our beginnings back in school. We are also planning to travel to other countries on future anniversaries to celebrate the solstice as the locals do, learning more about other cultures.”
Whether you plan a tiny elopement or an intimate wedding ceremony with some loved ones, it’s important that your photographer supports and affirms the unique ways in which you want to express yourselves on the day you get married!
As a photographer, I’m all about genuine connection and creating a space where you feel empowered to have a personal and meaningful wedding day. And as someone who eloped in the forest of Oregon and has helped countless couples plan a one-of-a-kind adventure, I’m ready to document your deep connection with nature & with each other!
If you’re ready to plan a Pagan wedding, contact me!
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