The question of how to tailor our ceremony to be “authentically us” yet not alienate some of the very Christian guests and family was definitely a point of discussion when we were planning our Pagan wedding ceremony.
We ended up using a rather long quote from The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk to both cast our circle and open the ceremony — it acknowledges religion and belief, with a bent towards the elements, without hitting anyone over the head with it. My Catholic sister tied our handfasting cord, and I think a general acknowledgment of belief, rather than religion, really helped grease the wheels.
That being said, there was some drama. Apparently, our ceremony was “stealth pagan” enough that one ceremony participant didn't realize it was a pagan ceremony, and stepped out literally moments before the ceremony started due to religious conflicts!
That said, I thought I would share the reading we included from our supposedly stealth-Pagan wedding. If you're walking the line with conservative guests at your pagan wedding, this reading may be great for you, too:
Pagan wedding reading: Excerpt from Starhawk's “Fifth Sacred Thing”
The earth is a living, conscious being. In company with cultures of many different times and places, we name these things as sacred: air, fire, water, and earth.
Whether we see them as the breath, energy, blood, and body of the Mother, or as the blessed gifts of a Creator, or as symbols of the interconnected systems that sustain life, we know that nothing can live without them.
To call these things sacred is to say that they have a value beyond their usefulness for human ends, that they themselves become the standards by which our acts, our economics, our laws and our purposes must be judged. No one has the right to appropriate them or profit from them at the expense of others. Any government that fails to protect them forfeits its legitimacy.
All people, all living things, are part of the earth life, and so are sacred. No one of us stands higher or lower than any other. Only justice can assure balance: only ecological balance can sustain freedom. Only in freedom can that fifth sacred thing we call spirti flourish in its full diversity.
To honor the sacred is to create conditions in which nourishment, sustenance, habitat, knowledge, freedom, and beauty can thrive. To honor the sacred is to make love possible.
To this we dedicate our curiosity, our will, our courage, our silences, and our voices. To this we dedicate our lives