June 8, 2010


Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 4:43 pm by Amy

I can finally say that we’re officially unofficially engaged!

Okay, so it sounds odd, but we’ve started planning our handfasting – got (most) of our crew in order and working on the invites. The only thing that keeps it from being “official” (and this is in the eyes of tradition) is that Garry hasn’t “formally” proposed with a ring and all that silliness.

Two years ago I said that I didn’t want an engagement ring. I didn’t want it to come across as being “bought” ala “Here’s this shiny bauble, so marry me” kind of deal. I know that’s not how it is in the mainstream, but for me it kind of felt like that.

We hemmed and hawed over the idea for a while. We figured that it would be at least another year or so before we had a handfasting so there was time to figure that portion of it out.

For some reason unbeknownst to me, I was compelled to the point of madness to start planning our handfasting and wedding.

A handfasting – for those of you out there that are new to Paganism and/or Wicca – is a pagan wedding ceremony that lasts for one year and one day. However – it can be performed in a variety of ways.

Option 1: You have a handfasting ceremony every year and a day to renew your vows.

Typically with this option is not for people who want to marry, but not with the paperwork and what not. This is a not a legally binding ceremony recognized by the state, however that doesn’t mean it’s not binding in the spiritual sense. These ceremonies also tend to be more low-key (can you imagine planning a HUGE to-do every year?!). After the year and a day the couple chooses whether or not to re-new their vows or they can part their separate ways.

Option 2: You have a handfasting ceremony as your legal wedding.

The beauty of a handfasting is that there is no prescribed structure to them. Couples can be really creative with what they want to do so that things that are important and meaningful to them will be included. This type of ceremony is legally binding (providing proper paperwork and the person officiating the ceremony is legally able to do so by your state of residence) and recognized by the state (as the law allows… but that’s another post topic for another day).

Option 3: Have a handfasting and then one year and one day later have a legal ceremony.

This is the option that Garry and I chose and that a lot of people in the Pagan community we belong to have chosen. There are two ceremonies where the first ritual is like option 1 where it is not legally recognized by the state and the second ceremony, held a year and a day later is like option 2 where there is legal documentation and the priest/priestess is someone legally recognized by your state of residence to perform marriages.

Garry and I see the handfasting (in our case) as being an engagement ceremony. We are bound together, but not to the point of a legal marriage. This serves as a “trial period” almost before we actually “tie the knot” and make it legal (more on “tying the knot” in another post). The vows and ritual we are putting together for the handfasting will be used again during the legal ceremony with some minor tweaks in verbage to show that this is a much more binding ceremony.

Of course these aren’t the only ways that a handfasting can be performed – this is just what I’ve seen in our community and have found through years of study.

After finding the stone (more on that in the next post) for my engagement ring, it became even more of an obsession. I don’t use that phrase lightly either – it came to a point where I would lose sleep or have panic attacks over color combinations and centerpieces. My friends and family suggested “Why don’t you have your handfasting this year instead of next year and have your legal wedding next year?”

At first I protested – I was under the impression that I needed a solid year to plan our handfasting. Why? I’m not entirely sure. And (on top of that) I needed a good two years to plan our wedding. Maybe because I’m (more than) a little neurotic when it comes to these kinds of things, or maybe just because when we’re married and it’s all over with – then I won’t have anything to plan for a few years until we buy a house. 

My mother said it best “You’re going to drive yourself, and frankly, the rest of us crazy with planning for something that’s not for 2 years.” One day that notion just sank in. Maybe we should just do it this year… I asked Garry and he was more than a little surprised that I suggested it – knowing full well how much of an obsessive, detail-oriented planner I am – and that I’m being rather spontaneous for something that is rather big and important. I thought at first he’d be hesitant, but instead was thrilled with the idea (agreeing with my mother) and we set a date:

September 4, 2010 for our handfasting

September 3, 2011 for our wedding


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