Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Wiccan Wedding

For whatever reason, we don't talk about her much, but I have an aunt who is a Wiccan. Christelle, my father's youngest sister, converted to the practice of Wicca at some point after her first year of college. She didn't want to finish her education at BYU, so she transferred after her freshman year to a university in Massachusetts, where her parents had lived before she was born, but where she had never lived. She lived with an aunt and uncle there to keep costs low, and my parents paid her tuition, books, and other related costs.

During one of her years there, my aunt accidentally wandered into a meeting of the university's Wiccan Society. She liked what she saw, and gradually became increasingly involved. She met and fell in love with a man associated with the university's Wiccan Society. Soon after receiving her bacherlor's degree, she married the man in a Wiccan wedding.

Despite having a Wiccan aunt, I'm far from an expert on Wicca. I do know that it's related to pre-Christian Paganism practiced by Celtic populations, that it focuses heavily on nature, and that it is not associated with Satanism in any way. My parents had in their heads the idea that Wicca was just non-mainsteam enough that I might embrace the religion solely for its shock value, so they've never exposed me much either to my Aunt Christelle or to Wicca. Still, they didn't feel right sending their regrets when we were invited to the wedding of Christelle and her husband-to-be, Mendel. I was even asked to be the flower girl at the wedding.

My dad's and Christelle's parents didn't attend the wedding. My dad and my Uncle Michael were the only ones of his siblings to attend. My Uncle Steve would have attended, but his wife was great with child, and actually gave birth on the day of the wedding. My dad videotaped Uncle Steve's best wishes to the couple, which were projected onto a screen during the wedding.

The wedding itself took place in a rural wooded setting somewhere in central Massachusetts. I do remember we had a great deal of trouble finding the exact spot and very nearly missed the wedding. While my dad's parents and siblings were noticeably absent, by dad's aunts, uncles, and cousins on both sides of the family were present in full force. They may have been devoutly practicing Catholics, but they weren't about to miss out on this latest freak show from my grandparents' branch of the family.

The attire of most of the wedding party was slighly beyond the norm. The bride, groom, and attendnts wore white robes that were corded at the waist. I thought they looked like my angel costume from the last Christmas pageant I had been in. My dad thought they looked like LDS temple gowns, minus the headgear. The officiant, a friend of the couple's who obtained his ministerial cerdential online a week before the wedding so that the marriage would be considered legal, wore a red satin robe. I mentioned earlier that I was the flower girl. Aunt Christelle called my mom to get my measurements, which my mom painstakingly took and gave to her. my mom asked what I would be wearing. Aunt Christelle told her it was just a typical flower girl ensemble sort of thing. Then when we showed up for the wedding (there was no rehearsal, which would have impeded the spontaneity of the ceremony) my aunt handed me a very shiny pink leotard, shiny slippers to match, pink fairy wings, and a glittery and hollow battery-operated wand stuffed with flower petals that would blow out whenever I pressed a button. It was the coolest flower girl outfit I could ever have imagined. If my parents wouldn't absolutely kill me for doing so, I'd post a picture of myself in it. I wore the outfit for my next Halloween costume as well. Future Uncle Mendel told me not to merely walk through the aisle with people seated on either side, but to "float on air," dropping pedals as I floated by. He also told me not just to walk down the center aisle, but to walk between each horizontal row as well, dropping flower petals on everyone (mostly power-blowing the petals right into the astonished guests' faces), and taking my sweet time. My dad said I took my sweet time, all right; if I'd taken any longer, he would've had to sneak out behind a tree somewhere and take a leak. Everyone was freely imbibing before, during, and after the ceremony. I remember my mom holding her hand over her face as I did my flitting and floating act diredctly in front of her. I don't know if she was hiding her embarrassment of she was merely concerned that I might give her an extre-strong blsst with the magic want and mess up her carefully appliend makeup. For what it's worth, Uncel Mendel said I floated better than any flower girl he'd ever seen before or has ever seen since. It must've been my gymnastics training.

The officiant faced one direction and spoke about air. Then he turned and spoke about water. Then he turned again and spoke of fire. Then he turned again and spoke of the Earth. Then Aunt Christelle turned all four directions and spoke of all four elements. Then future Uncle Mendel did the same. Then Aunt Christelle told who she was - who she really was. The future Uncle Mendel told who he was -- who he really was. Then someone tied Future Uncle Mendle's right hand to Aunt Christelle's left hand, after which they told who they were -- who they really were -- as a couple. Then, tied together, they turned all four directions and addressed all four elements.

Then came the part my father had dreaded, and the reason he drank so freely before the wedding. My dad stood up as directed, walked to the front of the gathering, faced the audience, and announced in the most deadpan voice imaginable, "The Clan of Rousseau supports this union." His face was approximately equal in redness to the officiant's red satin robe.
(You know how some families have secret code words or phrases for use in the event that anyone who doesn't ordinarily pick up their children is asked to do so? Shortly after the wedding, we changed our secret passphrase to "The Clan of Rousseau supports this union" because we knew it was the one sentence none of us would ever forget.)

Then came the recessional. An oboist played "Flight of the Bumblebee" as the wedding party proceeded down the center aisle, followed by me, doing a series of jetes and temps levé sauté (again, thank God for gymnastics training, as the only dance instruction I had ever received was at the gym; I hate to even think of how disappointed Uncle Mendel would've been if I had just stared blankly at him when he told me to perform jetes and temps levé sauté in the recessional). It practically would have ruined the wedding for him.

Not only have I been to a Wiccan wedding; I've been in one. If you ever need advice on how Wiccan weddings are done, just contact me here. I'll be happy to share my expertise.


  1. That is so awesome. I'm jealous of your Wiccan aunt AND that you've been in a Wiccan wedding.
    My daughter has been asked to be a tiny bride at my husband's cousin's wedding. I have no idea what that is, but I'm hoping it's just a different name for flower girl. I doubt the costume will be anything like what you describe, although she'd probably prefer if it was. I made sure that they knew there would be a 95% chance she will do the exact opposite of what they want and they said that was fine. Should be interesting. Not as interesting as yours though. ;))

  2. Amelia,
    One of my cousins -- not of the LDS or Wiccan parts of the family --had, in addition to a flower girl and reng bearer, a miniature bride and groom. I believe the miniature groom was deressed indentically to the groom except for the size of the tux, shoes, etc. the minitture brinde was sressed in white in the same style as the bride, but not the idetnical-but-smaller dress, as the cost of such probably have been prohibitive. How old is your daughter?

  3. This sounds like an absolutely idyllic wedding.

  4. She's 2. They already have a son who is also 2, and I'm strongly hoping that he's not the tiny groom, even at that age I do not promote marriage within the family. ;)

  5. I had a wiccan/pagan wedding, at the Florida Renaissance Fair :) We had married legally first the year before and so it wasn't quite the shot gun wedding even though I was 7 months pregnant for the pagan one :) Didn't quite need to jump the broom at that moment!!

    It was lots of fun having it at the Ren Fair, we kept our numbers to 50 (we even paid for some of our friends/family to fly in), got free admittance for the day, had lunch with the King (which was a 5 course meal, drinks included and entertainment!) for about $3,000.

    We didn't do the flower/ring bearer stuff though. We did cast a circle, call the corners and then the ceremony. The King's Men were nice enough to salute us too :)

    Channel 10 filmed it, but I don't think it ever aired. It was a great experience :)