©2012 Holly Golightly
I have recently come out of the broom closet to my future wife. She was very supportive, but I think she might have a fit when I tell her I want to be married through my coven. How am I supposed to tell her?
— Frantic Fianceé in Philadelphia
This is a common problem in Pagan circles, either because of mixed marriages, or because the families insist on a conventional ceremony in spite of their children’s change of religion.
There are two usual approaches to the problem. The first is to simply have two ceremonies — one “traditional” (this usually means Christian) and one Pagan. In fact I know of one couple who had three ceremonies: a Pagan one, a Christian one and a Jewish one! (The florist must have been ecstatic.) In this sort of situation, the “traditional” ceremony is the one to which all the relatives are invited, and the Pagan ceremony is generally kept private, even secret if necessary.
If the families are not religious, then another solution is for the couple to write their own ceremony in a way which covers all the bases without frightening the uninitiated. A number of examples of such rituals are available; entire books have been written on the subject.
In any case, congratulations, and best of luck!
You have more of a problem than I think you know. Let’s start with the easy one first, though: if she’s set on watching you walk down the aisle surrounded by guys in ill-tailored pastel tuxedoes, you owe it to her to at least compromise.
If you’ve just told her that you’re Pagan, it’s likely she’s not ready to discuss this with her family yet. They may have their hearts set on a big, family extravaganza out of a Hollywood movie. (No, not American Wedding.)
Compromise requires creativity. You can either incorporate Pagan elements into a church or civic wedding, or have two ceremonies at different times. There are tons of examples of how to do this; try an Internet search on “handfasting.”
But you have a much bigger problem. If I understand you correctly, you say that you are getting married, but your relationship is so tenuous that you don’t know how to tell your girl you’d prefer a handfasting to a church wedding? That sounds like a really solid basis for a life together. NOT. What you really need to do is start over. How about, “Hi, what’s your name?” Learn to talk to each other, get to know each other.
If you don’t know this gal well enough to predict how she’ll respond, and if she doesn’t love you enough to listen without having a fit, you are NOT ready to say “I do.” No couple instantly achieves wedded bliss, but you’ve got to start with trusting each other, or it won’t matter two beans whether you jump over a broomstick or walk down that long church aisle together.
» Originally appeared in newWitch #04
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