While Samhain and Halloween are holidays that honour those that have passed, a time when the veils between the seen and unseen are thin, it is also, it seems, an increasingly popular time for some to get married. For some it’s just a laugh, something to break with the traditional expectations of marriage, for others it’s an extension of a lifelong love of spooky things. Getting married on Halloween may even be a long-held family tradition. But increasingly, it is a time for modern Pagans to tie the knot on one of their most sacred days. Such is the case of Dave Dominic and Maggie Venables, who were wed in Sherwood Forest by High Priestess Beccie Morris.
“Marrying in Sherwood Forest, they observed traditions which would have been a feature of Pagan weddings thousands of years ago – including stepping over a broomstick and having their hands tied together with ribbons. Pagans like Dave and Maggie call Halloween Samhain or Samhein, pronounced Sah-Ween … “It was very poignant to us. With us both being in our fifties we have lost a few people and it’s nice to be able to celebrate with our lost ones.” Maggie said: “It was magical and fantastic. Everybody had a wonderful time. It’s so appropriate and so real, and it feels so good.” Dave, 53, has been Pagan since he was a teenager, while Maggie, 52, has been moving towards Paganism over the last few years.”
While some might have qualms about getting married during Samhain, for Dave and Maggie it accentuated their faith and their connection to those who have passed, making for a poignant ceremony. While Dave and Maggie’s ceremony seemed rather solemn and understated, that didn’t seem to be the case of Daniel Shank and Christina Dorffner, a couple in Maryland who went all-out in merging Halloween and Samhain into their interfaith nuptials.
“But perhaps the wind was meant to blow when the auburn-haired bride made her entrance, veil flying, long silk gown glinting with 1,500 garnet and citrine jewels, escorted by her father and the otherworldly strains of the theme from “Edward Scissorhands.” The black-robed high priest and priestess presiding over this sacred rite would call forth the wind, along with water, earth and fire, to consecrate the vows exchanged Saturday by Christina Dorffner and Daniel Shank, one self-described Catholic witch and one pagan.”
The Catholic witch and Pagan were not only decked out in costumes, along with all the other guests, but were married by Pagan lottery winner Ellwood “Bunky” Bartlett (a friend of the couple who made the elaborate wedding fiscally possible) and were entertained at the reception by legendary horror-movie host Count Gore de Vol (aka Dick Dyszel). All of which makes me wonder if this is the start of some larger trend? Is Samhain for lovers? Considering the high-stakes world of weddings will anyone be able to top getting married by a Wiccan millionaire? I suppose we’ll have to see next year if this is truly a growing phenomenon, or if this was simply an unusually love-filled year.