In just about 6 short months Chris and I will be married. Though we decided just two months into our relationship of this decision, Chris wanted to be a bit old fashioned. He wanted to have a ring in hand before asking my father for permission for my hand in marriage. This is why we didn’t announce our engagement until four months later, in early November.
I’ve already been in wedding planning mode for over a year as two of my best friends have also gotten engaged prior to ours and both planned to wed in 2013. I will be performing the wedding ceremony for one and am the maid of honor for the other. So shifting gears and planning my own wedding, to me, wasn’t so difficult. After having helped with a number of weddings over the years I’ve come to understand what is most important for me in regards to my own wedding: our loved ones present, the ceremony just as I want it, and good food. Priorities!
After we made our engagement official and jointly announced it on Facebook (seriously, we coordinated that one), we started to put some of our plans created over the last four months into action. First order of business after the announcement was to schedule a dinner for our parents to meet.
Hahaha! Yeah, right! Trying to sync up 6 different people’s schedules isn’t as easy as you want it to be. It only took a few weeks, but we finally managed to find a date that worked for all involved.
I had a good feeling about it all. Knowing his parents, my dad and his girlfriend, I figured they’d get along well enough. Once we all gathered and each were introduced, dinner went along just fine.
I wanted to utilize the time to update Chris’ parents on our wedding plans since I knew my father was up to date on everything already. This was the moment I was a tiny bit nervous about.
To my knowledge, Chris’ mother, whom I understand to be a church-going Christian, was yet unaware that I was pagan, much less to the extent of my involvement in paganism. She’s never even asked how we met, which was at my Pagan Meetup! I had absolutely no idea how she might take the news that our wedding ceremony would be pagan.
Just a few days after our engagement announcement my father’s girlfriend, Joan, called my house and we talked for 45 minutes on perhaps the most personal level we ever had in the 10+ years they’ve been dating.
Joan is a Four Square Pentecostal. I remember hearing from my father that when they began dating they’d attended a gathering with her church friends, and if asked he was to inform them they met at the local swimming pool where Joan swims daily for exercise. They actually met at ballroom dancing classes. But for some peculiar reason this was not acceptable. I don’t really understand. To be honest, the thought of my, then, 70 year old father picking up women at the community pool sounds much more racy than meeting while ballroom dancing. Apparently, the minister at her church disapproved of dancing all together. Ballroom dancing is the gateway activity to the devil?
On our phone conversation Joan was making the suggesting that Chris and I consider having the wedding ceremony in a public park to save money. I like the idea of a Spring wedding outside, but I have very specific ideas about our ceremony that involve live steel swords and alcoholic honey mead, both of which are unacceptable at most public parks in our area. I also don’t relish the idea of random yahoos wandering about my wedding and being inconsiderate morons as I have witnessed at other weddings held in public spaces.
Joan didn’t understand as she had no reference on which to picture the ceremony. So, I proceeded to explain pieces of the overall ceremony, cautiously spoon feeding her the information as to ensure the least amount of resistance to what I was explaining.
With regards to religion, people, especially when they are in unfamiliar territory, can put up walls and might not listen to what you’re endeavoring to explain. Hence the spoon feeding.
I chose a cultural route and bypassed the theological one, for now. I figured it was easiest. One of the aspects I want to incorporate into the overall ceremony is a Norse (you know, Vikings!) tradition where we exchange keys and a sword. Chris will give me a set of keys, as though to say, “What is mine is now ours”, and by accepting them I am accepting responsibility for our family and home. I will be giving him a sword as if to say he will be responsible for protecting us and keeping us safe. There’s more in there, but I distilled it down for her since she has little to no previously known exposure to paganism.
Joan seemed to appreciate not only the tradition, but also that I took time to explain it to her. This made me realize that I’ll need to write out a program for the ceremony for attendees since many of them are not pagan.
Meanwhile, back at the Black Angus for dinner… I tried dearly to get a word into the conversation so I could update his folks about our current set of plans. (His father likes to talk.) I explained that we planned to get legally married on May 13th (our anniversary) by my coven leader since she is ordained and will also be conducting the big ceremony when we have it. So, there it was… “COVEN”. If his mother was unsure of my religious leanings before she likely isn’t any longer. I just laid it out on the table for all to see.
She didn’t flinch. In fact she was smiling because we were talking about the wedding. I began to fully realize that she has two boys and no daughters, so discussion about the wedding might be of great interest to her as she won’t get to be the “mother of the bride”. Oh!
Chris and I plan to finance our own wedding and because of budgetary concerns we decided we’ll aim for a May date for our big ceremony/reception, but under our current circumstances we might need to wait a few more months. We did a head count and we were at 200 people for the wedding. Regardless of how frugal I can be, it’ll still cost a fair penny to put together. And as I’ve already explained, having our loved ones present is one of the 3 main priorities.
Joan, again trying to be helpful, wondered why we didn’t just have a medium sized ceremony in the summer instead of two. I had to explain that May 13 was our anniversary and therefore important for Chris and I to have as our wedding date. Also, we didn’t wish to cut the guest list as it was already cut.
Our guest list could have topped 400 easily if I didn’t show some restraint. For gosh sakes, I have 53 first cousins alone! We had both created an A and B list and mine were both HUGE. I further explained that between my adoptive and birth families, my large but close circle of friends, and my coven… there it was again! “My Coven”, but she didn’t budge. His dad seemed a tiny bit perplexed though. I think he actually stopped long enough to pay attention at that moment. Hehe!
Overall, my worry was for naught. Dinner was delicious and went along fairly smoothly. Thank the gods! *exhale*
And for no real reason I’ll add this Herb Alpert song here on the end… just because! 😉