Right, it’s looking rather official and imminent – my lovely beardy man Bik and I are having a handfasting ceremony on 28 July!
We’ve wanted for some time to celebrate our relationship with our friends, but neither of us fancy the legal bit, or the lifetime vow bit, or the God bit, or the huge cost bit, or many of the other bits. These things do of course suit lots of people and we’re totally down with that, but they’re just not right for our relationship.
So, here’s the plan!
We will be having a Pagan ceremony, outside, with our lovely friends Mal the Bear & his Lady Twinkle officiating and a group of people we think are splendid there to witness and take part.
Today, we went through some of the ideas with them over lunch (in between our evil pet biting Mal – twice). Some of the traditions will be there, some will not. It feels so good to be able to choose, free of the expectations of family and society, what we want to do. It’s also been quite hard, as treading your own path often can be (let’s be honest, even a totally conventional wedding is challenging to plan!).
I’ll be honest, when I did the marriage thing it was slightly unconventional, but it was still subject to certain pressures I was too young and too unsure of myself to resist. It was a promise made for life, a promise I was unable to keep – not if I wanted to embrace my dreams, and I really, really did. It took courts, papers and men in suits to dissolve it. A horrid experience for both of us, however right the choice to part was. My estwhile spouse is now married to a very lovely woman, who in my opinion is closer to him in her dreams, ideals and life aspirations so that they’ll have a much, much better chance of sticking with it. Also, she and I get on like a house on fire and their son calls me ‘Aunty Jam Jam’ – which is pretty cool! So that story had a happy ending, after all.
Having had a marriage that ended (in my case) and serious relationships that didn’t work out (in Bik’s) we are being realistic in what we want to promise each other.
Something that particularly appealed to both Bik and I was the idea of making vows that last a year and a day. Not so we can escape after that short time, but so that we can renew and refresh our connection (not publicly each year, that would get rather tedious!).
Also, we feel that, much like a garden can’t be planted once and left, our relationship needs to be tended, renewed, cut back, reorganised and new seeds planted as the year turns. We also recognise that, at some point, two people may decide that their relationship may change back to just friendship, or whatever is required to honour the love between them. We liked the idea of promising each other that, if we do part, we’ll do it lovingly and peacefully. There’s a true freedom in that, which lends richness to what we have together.
Another typical part of a ceremony involves new beginnings, where in our case we wish to celebrate and bless what we already have. Also, we’ve avoided the ‘two become one’ image as we don’t see ourselves that way – we’re two cubed, as Bik puts it, together we are greater than the sum of our parts (also silliness cubed, but that’s another story!).
So, the dress is bought (it’s a simple, lovely dress that makes me feel great). Bik hasn’t sorted his outfit yet, but he can always wear the parrot cape. The ceremony rough draft is on it’s way to our Priest and Priestess, so they can craft it into a lovely ritual, which we know they will.
When it’s all done, I shall post again to tell you all about it in another blog post entitled ‘Jani Franck is not married’.
Now to send some e-invitations like the true high-tech-tree-huggers we are!