Chelsea & Edward’s cozy, Druid, handfasting wedding

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The offbeat bride: Chelsea, GIS Analyst

Her offbeat partner: Edward, Retired Railroad Engineer (the guy who drives the train)

Location & date of wedding: CedarLight Grove, ADF (Pagan Church) in Baltimore, Maryland — December 5, 2009

What made our wedding offbeat: Our ceremony was a handfasting that followed the ADF Druid ceremony. The ceremony started by honoring the earth, the nature spirits, the ancestors and the gods of the folk (those in attendance).

The bride is pagan and the groom a non-practicing Christian. His family is born again, so we were mindful of this when writing the vows. We tried not to offend his family and keep it meaningful for the bride.

One thing that was important to us was the wording of the vows. We said, “I choose you to be my ….” because this is what we were doing — we were choosing one another to spend our lives together.

The groom had been married previously and would have preferred a courthouse ceremony; however, it was the bride’s first wedding, so we compromised on a small rite (thirty person guest list) held in the bride’s church.

It was casual and the bride’s dress was a discontinued formal dress from David’s Bridal, which was purchased for less than $50. What a deal!

The bride made the invitations, the wedding programs and all the floral arrangements. The photographers, chef and the musicians are all friends and their services were had for a reasonable price. The entire event cost less than $1500.

Lastly, there is a nineteen year age difference between the groom and bride.

Our biggest challenge: The biggest challenge was writing the wedding ceremony. The Reverand has officiated many “mixed” ceremonies and was able to offer several suggestions. One of them was that the bride and groom dress in more formal attire instead of the standard druidic robes that are worn for sacred rites.

We also were able to work out verbage and a brief meditation to honor the deities of the folk while being inclusive of everyone. So while no Gods were called by name, everyone had a moment of silence to ask their deity of choice, whether it was Frigga, Zeus or Jesus Christ, to give a blessing for the couple.

My favorite moment: Part of the ceremony was opened for any attendee to give a reading or speak a few words offering a blessing for the couple. The groom’s sister gave a lovely reading from Khalil Gilbran.

Her reading directly followed an Asatru blessing in which the guest asked the gods to bless us and finished with “Hail Chelsea and Ed”. Although this was something strange and different for the groom’s sister, she yelled, “Hail Ed and Chelsea” when she finished her reading. It made me happy that she was willing to go with the flow and be accepting of our very different and interesting ceremony.

My advice for offbeat brides: Have fun! Our wedding was low stress and fun not only for us, but for the guests.

Also, be true to your beliefs. I worked very hard to make the ceremony meaningful for me while providing a comfortable environment for those that do not practice my faith.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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