Digitize This, by Marlene Bruce



Rich and Izolda's Wedding (Adelphi, MD)

April 23, 2005
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This was the first Pagan wedding I've attended. While unfamiliar—or perhaps because of that unfamiliarity—the Handfasting Ceremony was much more engaging than Judeo-Christian traditions, the realm of my other experiences save one Discordian wedding (when Ginohn got married in a tree, what a blast!).

The ceremony was held outside, with guests standing in a large loose circle surrounding a central altar, the circle marked with single-colored flower petals in four areas. The Priestess waited within, instructing everyone to sing a long, single tone, while a procession of players entered the circle mostly in couples, taking position. These participants represented Air, Fire, Water, Earth, Above, Below, Within, Goddess, God, and the Full Moon, many in colors signifying their charge. (Included with the program was a description of the symbolism, but I won't go into that here.)

Rich and Izolda entered in their wedding finery, traveled the circumference twice, and then the Priestess guided the ceremony through a sequence of readings, song, candle-lighting, cup-filling, pouch-filling, memory and advice sharing, quotes on marriage, and finally the vows, the exchange of rings, and the handfasting (tying the hands with cloth). The ceremony was light-hearted, inclusive and loving.

The reception was really fun. It started with a buffet of some of the best Greek food I've ever had, and it was all vegetarian or vegan. Vegetarian Moussaka, yum! Then the "open mic" began upstairs, with music, dance and variety performances by numerous guests and the bride (a singer) and groom (a juggler/comedian). Finally there was ballroom and free-form dancing to recorded music. What a great party!

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