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How to explain a handfasting? (To pagans/wiccans)

I am due to be handfasted September 20th. My question is, how do I explain that a handfasting is a REAL marriage? I have told my family about it, and they all keep asking, "You're going to get married 'for real'
then right? In a church?" Any tips on how to make them understand it is a real marriage, with vows and all?


Asked by Annabel1809Lee at 11:12 PM on May. 11, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 17 (3,872 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (10)
  • Do they realize that this is being performed in a different religion that isn't Christian? Perhaps you can contrast this with a Jewish wedding as having different religious requirements and therefore a different arrangement. Maybe stress that this handfasting is a legally binding ceremony and that the marriage license from the state is going to be completed by the Priestess as well, as she is in essence "the minister" officiating the event.

    I do wonder if your family might be in shell shock that you're not going to have a "traditional Church wedding" and is having difficulty in adjusting.

    Answer by isabellalecour at 11:37 PM on May. 11, 2009

  • Well, you can really get married in the courthouse. By real marriage you mean you went to the courthouse and got paperwork signed right? There should be no problem then.

    Answer by prettyrayray at 11:13 PM on May. 11, 2009

  • Handfasting is just an old term for marraige.

    Answer by SusieD250 at 11:16 PM on May. 11, 2009

  • We're getting a marriage license, and making sure our priestess can legally perform marriages in our state. It's no different than a marriage, besides what we say... but my family can't seem to grasp that.

    Answer by Annabel1809Lee at 11:20 PM on May. 11, 2009

  • Then to be honest I would just dummie down what you say. Don't call it your handsfasting, although it is. Call it your wedding. Legally it's a wedding, Spiritually it's a handsfasting... So, when you talk to them just use a different word. How much do they understand about your beliefs? They must know you aren't Christian right? And I am sure they understand that no all weddings take place in a church... So just tell them you are getting married in a park or at the hall or where ever you are having the handsfasting and don't use the word handsfasting, since it seems to confuse them.

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 11:37 PM on May. 11, 2009

  • There are actually some christian ministers out there who will work a handfasting in to their ceremonies. I remember reading about one when I was planning my wedding but he wasn't available. I got married in Scotland and, at the time, you had a choice of being married by a minister in a church or outdoors or having a civil ceremony in the registry office so it wasn't possible to have a legally binding non-christian ceremony in anything like a romantic setting.

    We would up having our legal ceremony in the office and then a couple of hours later having the religious ceremony outdoors with the vows being led by our friends; the best man tied us together.

    Answer by RhondaVeggie at 11:39 PM on May. 11, 2009

  • This may also be something you could send them too.. It speaks in very basic terms to explain what a handsfasting is and what happens there...

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 11:40 PM on May. 11, 2009

  • About the only major difference between a Christian marriage and a Pagan handfasting is the line "as long as you both shall live" is changed to "as long as love survives". If you want the relatives to feel better about it, incorporate as much of the Traditional Christian Wedding stuff as you can feel comfortable with. (My niece's father is a Christian pastor, and HE married her and her husband in a Pagan handfasting, thinking he was performing a Christian wedding! So you see it's not all that different) Most of the guests merely remarked that it was a lovely wedding and "so unique, my dears".

    Answer by pagan_mama at 12:49 AM on May. 12, 2009

  • Honestly, I would call it your marriage to them.  Especially if they have no concept of your beliefs.


    Answer by anetrnlov at 3:23 AM on May. 12, 2009

  • Thanks everyone! I guess that would just make it easier, it's a little non-traditonal but it's a wedding. They'll understand when they finally see it.

    Answer by Annabel1809Lee at 8:37 AM on May. 12, 2009