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I'm Christian (LDS), and I wouldn't find anything innately offensive in attending a Pagan wedding. I would not feel comfortable being asked to directly participate in any of the rituals (by word or action), but I don't think most weddings call on the guests to do more than just sit and watch.
If I was invited to a wedding for a Jewish couple I would expect a Jewish wedding. I wouldn't expect them to cater to Christian friends or family. Same thing goes for any other religion. I just can't imagine being offended at someone else getting married in a manner that's spiritually significant to them. I might feel a little confused but I'd actually welcome the opportunity to explore traditions of another faith. BTW - I'm LDS.
I'm so glad this got returned. So I suppose what I've gathered is that I should have some sort of an out for those who would be uncomfortable...and so I do basically need to clarify in an invitation. I would prefer not to because it seems awkward, and I know my fellow Christian friends wouldn't have to do something like that so it makes me slightly sad- but it is what it is and I certainly want no one to feel uncomfortable.
I don't understand the idea that just because the ceremony is from another tradition that someone cannot go. You're not being asked to convert, or even to practice that faith for so much as a minute. You're only there to share the couple's joy at getting married. I've been to Catholic, Protestant (I think it was a Methodist church), and mixed weddings for my family. I would have no more expected them to not follow their own beliefs than they expected me to not follow mine.
I hope it isn't uncouth for me to be resurrecting this thread But I'm actually planning a Pagan wedding for this Oct. I found this thread through google and then joined the board (cant believe I didn't happen upon it sooner!)
I'm actually the only Pagan I know. My family is a smattering of religions, my father and sister both eclectic jumblings of many. My mother and brother are christian as is most of moms family. My fiance is...well he's been baptized, schooled in a Lutheran church, been to mass....but hes closer to being a Pagan as well. We're implementing lot's of Pagan things but in a subtle way. The bridal party will subtly stand in a circle around me us, four of them will each hold a representation of one of the elements while I hold a representation of the Goddess, he holds one for the God. We're also adding a few "rituals" (like handfasting and maybe the marriage vessel and the rose).
I wouldn't send a note, only because words read can be misinterpreted, they can ask you about anything later. If you've had your wedding by now I'd be curious to know how it went :)
I'm agnostic with pagan leanings. I don't mind the wedding and funerals of other people's religions but I do draw the line at a bris. I won't go watch a baby be cut that way. That hurts me as a person.. not to mention the poor little fellow on the table.
To the Op, are you prepared to alienate your family? If not, you are going to have to stick with those ritual things that are more mainstream. I think you can get away with the unity candle and maybe the sips of wine or water. Not much else.
Whoops, I didn't realize this thread was so old...... maybe the Op will come back and tell us about her wedding!
I pretty much expect my protestant friends and family to be offended at my religious sacraments. my kids baptism was a nightmare. But I have come to a place of mutual respect and understanding. I invite them because I don't want them to feel left out. And they know I will not be offended if they do not come. I understand my faith makes some people uncomfortable. The Church used to make me very uncomfortable and the icons etc were highly offensive to me. If they will be offended by the religion aspect of it I would rather they celebrated with us only in the ways they were comfortable (be it coming to the reception or if that was not acceptable just sending us a card congratulating us or whatever, or just pretending nothing happened if that is the best they can do.) BUT I would not go out of my way to tell them what kind of wedding I was having or give them the idea they may be offended. I would hope they would know enough about me to know if this might be a holy moment for me that they would prefer to sit out on or arrive fashionably late to.
And honestly, I think most Christians would not recognize pagan elements unless you made a point of pointing them out. They would probably just pass it off as some new trend in weddings or whatever. So they may not be offended as you think.
Didn't make it through all the comments, but I'm going to break from most of the PP and say I wouldn't put a note in the invitation or anything explaining it as a pagan ceremony. I'm Catholic, if I got an invitation that explicit said that a wedding would be in X faith tradition it would make me way over think it. I'd be wondering how strange and uncomfortable the ceremony has the potential to be for there to be a need for a disclaimer up front. It would make it into way to much of a big, uncomfortable deal.
I like the idea of a PP to just have pagan symbolism or wording in the invitation if that is applicable. In my family I'd just make sure the family gossips know it will be a Pagan ceremony and the rest would take care of itself. Many people who are non-Catholic dislike attending a Catholic ceremony with a full mass. I verbally let a few Friends and family members know that it would be a full mass (as I married a non Catholic I could have opted for the shorter version, but chose not to). They passed it along to those who needed to know and everyone knew what they were in for before they came. The dove and the bible verse on the invitation hinted pretty hard that it was Christian, and the location made it pretty clear it was in a Catholic Church. So there are indicators in a Christian wedding that often let other know what to expect.
I do agree that it would be nice to have the invitation phrased in such a way that guests can be comfortable attending only the reception.
As a Catholic, I would attend and enjoy. I wouldn't participate, but more observe and wish you well.
But I don't think I'd find it that strange either. In my faith tradition God made the earth and all in it, so I would probably just perceive it as a ceremony that incorporates ways to honor what God has made.