Offbeat partner: Wren & Ash
Date and location of wedding: Carmichael, CA — 09/13/2019
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We got Married at sunset, on Friday the 13th, in our backyard. It was a pagan handfasting ceremony that was heavily influenced by our personal interests.
We are a polyamorous family, and the wedding was officiated by our existing spouses, Paul and Mars. In fact, Ash and Mars got married in November of 2018, and I officiated their wedding!
We followed very few typical wedding traditions but did follow a few old Norse traditions. Instead of a unity candle, we held a Water Sharing ritual, from Robert A. Heinlein's “Stranger in a Strange Land”.
The decorations were mostly origami, which I (Wren) made. I made all the flowers, including my bouquet. I'm disabled, so was this was a very slow process, but it was really important to me. I spent an entire year folding paper, in preparation for the wedding!
Our wedding favors were a collection of children's toys, that reflected our personal interests. Each box included gaming dice, toy dinosaurs, and temporary tattoos.
We are both gender-queer (Ash: demigirl, Wren: fem-boi) and ace, and I'm pansexual. We removed all gendered language/traditions from our ceremony. Nothing about our relationship reflects typical gender roles, so it didn't make sense to have any of that in the ceremony.
We both entered down the aisle, to enter the ritual space. That said, there was no “walking” down our aisle — everyone entered and left the ritual space either dancing, headbanging, or pretending they were on a catwalk in a fashion show!
The wedding music was very unorthodox. It was a combo of indie folk and metal. The wedding party entered the ceremony to “Wolf Like Me” by TV on the Radio. Ash walked down the aisle to “Lover Man” by Metallica. I walked down the aisle to “Me and the Bean” by Spoon. Oh, and there was no “walking” everyone entered and left the ritual space either dancing, head banging, or pretending they were on a catwalk in a fashion show. Instead of wedding cake, we served donuts.
At the end of the ceremony, the entire wedding party left ritual space to a heavy metal cover of “Bad Romance” (Lady Gaga's song, performed by Hailstorm.).
Tell us about the ceremony:
We did a pagan handfasting with a handfasting cord. Instead of bridesmaids and groomsmen, we had lived ones call in the four quarters (East/Air, South/Fire, West/Water, North/Earth).
The co-officiants acted as high priestess and priest. They called in Frigg and Odin, the matriarch and patriarch of the Norse pantheon. We did a water-sharing ritual, from Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert A. Heinlein. We jumped a broom and sword.
Note from the editor: we'll be sharing the full ceremony script in a few days!
And the ceremony was filled with quotes from our individual fandoms (Star Trek, Harry Potter, The Land Airbender, Dr Who, etc)
Tell us about the reception:
My wedding gift to Ash was Karaoke, which is one of Ash's favorite social activities. Fortunately, we have friends who are KJs, so I hired my friend Eric to facilitate the wedding music, and do karaoke for the reception. It was a huge hit, and took up the entire night. We ended up having to kick everyone out, at about 2:30AM.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
With the exception of my two sisters, not a single member of my family of origin was present at this wedding. I haven't seen them in several years.
When they found out I was queer, they started being incredibly verbally abusive, and every family event became a day of relentless verbal assault. They repeatedly told me my relationships weren't real, and told me I needed to stop talking about my life, because I was “a bad influence on the younger family members.” Every time one of my cousins came out as LGBTQ, the family matriarch blamed me. At the Thanksgiving table, she announced that I had infected her family with a horrible disease. It took me FAR too long to finally make the decision to leave and never go back.
I've built a new family, and focus on raising children who will never be afraid tell us who they really are. Our home is full of love and emotional support. It may not look like the family I tried so hard to please, but it's DEFINITELY the family I deserve.
We insisted on only doing things we wanted to do. We got married on our own property, so we didn't have to follow anyone's rules. It was honestly a wonderful experience. The only real challenge was that, when we scheduled the wedding, we were in process of remodeling our home, so we could all live together. We'd been promised the construction would be complete “at least six months” before the wedding. It was complete until about 6 weeks AFTER the wedding. So, we ended up getting married in a construction zone. I was initially devastated by the realization we weren't going to have the beautiful backdrop of newly finished home. What I learned was that the backdrop was irrelevant. Our wedding was an amazing party. One of the best days of my life, and everyone had a blast.
Pagan polyam gender-nonconforming wedding vendors
- Photos: D&R Photography
- Dress: Amazon (The company I bought the dress from has a system for taking measurements that was incredibly easy to follow. They added straps, to my specifications, and altered the dress to match my measurements. Their customer service and communication was good. They contacted me several times, to make sure they were getting the straps where I wanted them.)
- Rings: Super Silver in Sacramento, CA
- Bride's earrings & necklace: Fairy Stitch Factory
- Wings: ZAKIT
- Cloak: Knit by the bride
Pagan Polyamorous Gender-Nonconforming wedding gallery