Bettina & Tavish’s solstice viking and Victorian pagan wedding

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Victoria and Albert

The Offbeat Bride: Bettina, reiki master

Her offbeat partner: Tavish, cook

Date and location of wedding: Thompson's Apple Orchard field, New Gloucester, ME — June 21, 2014

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Our theme from the start was some kind of historical mash-up because of our love for certain eras. We chose an inexpensive outdoor venue, a field on a hilltop. We made sure the inside of the tent coordinated with the outside: bright, summery colors, and tree saplings for centerpieces that people took home after. The trees we chose are found in the Celtic Ogham alphabet.

Royal Family Portrait

My mother made my gown, a replica of Queen Victoria's 1840 wedding gown. One of the most “authentically ours” things about the day were the outfits. The men wore gorgeous kilt outfits rented from the Celtic Croft. My husband, Tavish, is Scottish and both our heritages, and spiritualities, are Celtic. To prepare for the potential heat, we girls chose an alternative dress option in case the Viking dresses were too warm to dance in. In the end, we had the Viking/Victorian theme with Celtic and Edwardian influences.

Kilted Groomsmen

All the food was homemade by the bridal party in the few days leading up to the wedding. It was a labor of love as we were up till 2:00 am the night before. My musical sister was our DJ and we made our own playlists. We were expecting children so we also prepared a basket of lawn toys (kites, balls, and bubbles) for them. My bouquet was plucked from my mom's garden the morning of. The 65-guest wedding, with rented tent and trimmings, cost less than $7,000.

Priestesses Entering

Tell us about the ceremony:
As we arrived, the Vikings formed a shield wall to hide me until we got to the aisle. We walked down the aisle to the British coronation anthem “Zadok the Priest.” As we entered, the two priestess maids led us as they drummed on bodhráns.

Anointed with mead

Our ceremony was unapologetically Pagan. One of our priestesses/maids is a Norse Pagan and she honored the gods and anointed us with mead and bestowed marital blessings on us. As part of this bit, Tavish offered me a set of (vintage) keys thereby giving me power of the household. Then he gave me his sword as a way of saying he would protect the household. Our second priestess/maid is a Witch. She led the handfasting aspect of the ceremony which had us tying our hands together with colorful cords we had made for our 2011 handfasting commitment ceremony. She also called the quarters which is like asking the gods to be present while talking about the symbolism behind each of the four elements.

Handfasting cord

We sealed the deal

Our biggest challenge:
With only a few months to go, Tavish broke his leg horribly in an accident. It put him out of work for two months, and with no chance at getting temporary disability, it killed any chances we had at saving any more for the wedding. Another worry was if he going to be able to walk unaided and comfortably at our wedding. We cut out a lot of fat, which sadly meant no honeymoon. But everything turned out fine and Tavish's leg healed perfectly.

We're ready for battle.

My favorite moment:
With one exception, the entire bridal party is from the same town. Tavish's groomsmen and best lady go way back as do my maids — almost twenty years back. We share everything including our Pagan faith. Some of us even lived together at one point. The fact that we essentially set up a mini-village at my parents' house that weekend and did everything by hand was really special.

Finally, Tavish's grandfather came up from Virginia and it made our day to see him. I have no grandparents living, so this was special that he was there with his wife.

Table settings

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
I'd had this in my mind throughout the planning process, but going through the wedding day really confirmed it. Fantasy weddings do not need to cost tens of thousands of dollars and be elaborate affairs. Everything we did or made was symbolic to us somehow, but there was no fluff or glitzy-glam for the sake of it or traditions that held no meaning with us. We were really glad we did it this way.

The Royal Family Portrait

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Comments on Bettina & Tavish’s solstice viking and Victorian pagan wedding

  1. I’m FLOORED by your dress. How stunning. You look like you had such a wonderful, fun wedding. Congratulations!

  2. I LOVE everything about this wedding! Also, men in kilts with swords (and a man bun)! There is a ton of win going on here.

  3. I’m having a Celtic/Norse wedding next year, and would love any information you can send me about the Norse/Celtic rituals of a wedding ceremony?? I’m having trouble finding info online, and don’t really know anyone who could help. Thank you so much!

    • Absolutely! I will gather some of my resources and send them to you. Anything specific?

    • The book my priestess maids used was “Handfasting and Wedding Rituals”. The Norse aspect came from ; )

  4. Bettina, your beautiful ceremony has left me with tears in my eyes! The Energy that was called up can be felt through the photos!

    Please, allow me to give you Blessings from the Ancient Ones of all the Lands.

    Brightest Blessings from a sister in faith.

  5. I too Loveeeee your wedding dress and was going to make a dress similar to what you wore but sadly I just did not have the time to make it, I ended up wearing something I got off of ebay. My anniversary is coming up and still will not have time to make another dress for our renewal sadly….. Great wedding pictures and looks like everyone had fun!!

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