Sometimes the very best things don’t go at all as intended. Wolf and I had originally planned for a tiny wedding in the White Mountains of Arizona, with only a few of our closest friends and family members. But as is often the case with busy folks, we couldn’t make the schedule work and so we ended up cancelling. I was confounded by the logistics, and couldn’t quite figure out how to pull it off when so many of our friends live all over the country and world. Wolf had already had my wedding dress made, and I’d ordered his outfit all the way from Ukraine, with no way to have a wedding.
In a moment of desperation, or brilliance, depending on how you look at it, I suggested to Wolf that we just have the wedding at this year’s Good Medicine Confluence. After all, the conference is the one place our tribe regularly gathers to celebrate! And so it was decided, even if we had no time to plan out the details in the midst of all of the other last minute conference preparations and planning, right alongside morning sickness and pregancy plans! We chose to place the wedding in the midst of our yearly Fairies & Plants Masquerade Ball, making it even easier to wear our preferred elven style garb.
We’d initially assumed we’d buy wedding rings like anyone else, but after much thought about mutual sensory issues, conventional wedding ceremonies, and our personal aesthetics…. we decided against rings. Instead, we chose to exchange traditional Northern European style braided neck torcs. Of course we wanted something as handmade as possible, even with the time crunch we’d gotten ourselves into, and so I set to researching and contacting craftspeople in hopes of finding something exquisite, and yet within our insane time frame. We were lucky enough to find Danny and Sherry Hansen of Crafty Celts, who managed to create our torcs just in time! A sterling silver spiral torc for Wolf, and a bronze Ash leaf torc for me.
We only got as far into formal planning as selecting the music for the ceremony, and hoped the rest would fall into place while traveling, because it was clear there was simply no more time for anything besides packing. And when the engine blew in our vehicle three quarters of the way to the conference, all available brain cells were immediately reprioritized for figuring out last minute transportation and how to still make this event work while running late. Huge thanks to herbalist, teacher, and friend, Marija Helt, for swooping down to retrieve us, as well as generously allowing us to use her vehicle for the duration of the week!
Which is how it happened that on Friday night, a couple hours after teaching, and a very few minutes before the actual ceremony, I found myself in the Healer’s Market frantically (I mean serenely, right? Like all brides….) committing my vows to paper. Since this was something that I knew I’d be treasuring forever, I chose to write it in my beloved Green Woman Journal, custom made for me by Chris and Jinny of SkyRavenWolf of Wales and Wiltshire, England. There’s no doubt in my mind that the beauty and intricacy of the journal helped me find the right words to commit myself to my beloved.
Meanwhile, Betsy Costilo-Miller and Holly Torgerson had been out gathering flowers to weave into my wedding crown. I’m so blessed to have two friends who know me well enough to select the perfect plants, including some of the last Hawthorn blossoms in Durango, and create one of the highlights of my wedding.
My little sister, artist Melissa Du Bois, had traveled all the way from Clayton, North Carolina, to be at the conference, and helped me prepare for the ceremony. She and Betsy graciously did my fae inspired makeup, and attended me during the wedding, while Alanna Whitney shared her perfume, made me tea, generally kept me from losing my shit, and accompanied Wolf at the wedding. I’m certain we were an altogether unruly yet enchanted crew of otherworldly creatures!
From the moment I began to make my way up the stairs to the terrace balcony in the dark of that cool Colorado night on the 16th of June, I lost track of everything besides the stars above and the dim fairy lights of the terrace, and the waiting for the music to start. It’s good that I know every note of Fiona MacKenzie’s Ribhinn a Chuil Bhain’ by heart, so that I woke up enough from my reverie to step toward the stage.
Once there, I was more than a little grateful I’d thought to bring the journal with me, and to read from it, for I’d forgotten most of the words I know in at least three languages. Somehow I managed to say the words out loud, and to hold back my tears enough for Wolf and the crowd to understand me.
I promise to be your partner and helper in work, in play… in life.
I promise to support you through whatever rewards and challenges we face, and that we will face them together.
I promise to love you now, for this life, and forever.
I promise to give you my honesty, my commitment, and my fierce loyalty.
Dearest Wolfling, you are my friend, my mate, my love.
You have my heart, my whole self, now and forever.
At the end I managed to laugh a little as I said “with this torc I thee wed”, and the audience laughed with me…. until Wolf spoke his vows, and the tears began anew. I somehow didn’t expect so much magic to infuse itself in this wedding, but it did. I didn’t know how cared for and blessed I would feel, but there it is. Perhaps I should have known better, but like I said, sometimes the very best things don’t work out at all in the way we planned…. and it’s the mystery and wild grace that gives birth to all this beauty.
For those of you there to witness and celebrate with us, so much gratitude for your love and support! I can’t tell you how much it meant to Wolf and I to have our tribe there with us for this incredible event. For those of you who couldn’t make it, we felt you there and thank you for your sweet thoughts and love sent from afar, even from across oceans and continents and too many time zones to count.
*With special thanks to Stephany Hoffelt for taking care of last minute details, logistics, and issues, so that I could actually attend my own wedding!
© All wedding photos courtesy Cynthia Raiser Jeavons