Viking Wedding Magic
(photo courtesy Sylvie Neumann )
As a professional celebrant, I have had the privilege of officiating many fantastic weddings over the past few years. Last Saturday I had the honour of conducting a wedding celebration ceremony that was truly unforgettable. Sarah Roger and Zach White's Viking-themed wedding was a celebration of love and devotion, steeped in ancient traditions and rich symbolism.
The wedding took place at the Red Brick Barn, Sutton Hall in Rochford in Essex, a delightful rustic venue that provided the perfect backdrop for the occasion. As I arrived, I was struck by the atmosphere of anticipation and excitement that hung in the air. Everywhere I looked, I could see Sarah and Zach’s friends and family members starting to arrive, all dressed in their finest Viking garb and eagerly awaiting the ceremony.
Sarah and Zach had chosen to incorporate several traditional Viking rituals into their wedding, including a handfasting ceremony. Handfasting is an ancient pagan custom in which the couple's hands are bound together with ribbons or cords, symbolising their commitment to each other. In fact it's where the saying 'tying the knot' originates.
Zach’s entrance in full Viking armour was breathtaking, accompanied by the hugely evocative music of Morbid Angel. As I began the ceremony, I invited the couple to step forward and take each other's hands.
"Sarah and Zach," I said, looking out at the guests, "Today we shall weave elements of the ancient world into Zach and Sarah’s ceremony. As in Viking times, community is at the heart of all challenges and celebrations. Together we will take part in sacred rituals, share love, food, drink and enjoyment.
A Viking wedding is both the joining of Zach and Sarah and the uniting of their families to fortify their strength and allegiances. I invite you to participate fully with your hearts and minds and to be present with Zach and Sarah, as they embark on a lifetime of love and adventure together. "
As we approached the hand-fasting part of the ceremony I invited Zach and Sarah’s mothers to bring up the green and red cords made by Sarah. They placed these and I placed a black one over Zach and Sarah’s joined hands. As I spoke, I began to wind the cords around their hands, creating a knot that would hold them together for the duration of the ceremony. The guests watched in rapt attention, as I continued to speak.
"As you stand here today, hand in hand, you pledge to be true to each other in all things. You promise to honour each other's hopes and dreams, to support each other through life's joys and sorrows, and to love each other with all your hearts, always."
With the hand-fasting complete, we moved on to the next part of the ceremony: the exchange of rings. In true Viking style the rings had been placed on the hilt of the sword. As Sarah and Zach slipped the rings onto each other's fingers, I couldn't help but be moved by the depth of emotion that filled the room. It was clear that these two were meant to be together, and that their love was something truly special.
As I led the guests in these rituals, I could feel the power of centuries-old traditions infusing the ceremony with a sense of magic and wonder.
When the ceremony was over, and Sarah and Zach had been pronounced husband and wife, the guests erupted into cheers and applause. It was a joyous moment, one that will stay with me forever.
As I drove home that evening, I couldn't help but reflect on the beauty and power of the ceremony I had just witnessed. Sarah and Zach's wedding was a testament to the enduring nature of love, and to the ways in which ancient traditions can bring meaning and depth to our modern lives. I felt honoured to have been a part of it, and grateful for the reminder that, even in our fast-paced world, there are still moments of magic and wonder waiting to be discovered.