Yule weddings are magical as Yule is a special time of the year, but not the traditional time for a wedding or a handfasting ceremony. Pagans usually choose to be handfasted at Beltane or Litha, some chose to have Yule wedding and handfasting ceremonies.
What is Yule?
Yule is the Pagan festival celebrating the winter solstice, the shortest day on 21st December. It is a time of great festivities, honouring, celebrating, eating, and drinking, key elements after weddings and ceremonies. Yule is celebrating by Pagans in slightly different ways, with some customs crossing between the various Pagan pantheons.
Yule or Jul is Odin’s festival, celebrating the wild hunt and much more. Yggdrasil the World Tree is honoured by the decorating of an evergreen tree with lights, candles and gifts to Yggdrasil hung on the branches.
Yuletide (the period that follows Yule) is associated with Christmas but the two are celebrated differently. Yule is the sabbat at the top of the Wheel of the Year. It is the winter solstice; the shortest day celebrating the end of darker evenings and the return of the sun with longer daylight hours. There are 12 celebrated days of Yule, 12 days between the winter solstice and the beginning of the next solar year.
Norse Yule Weddings and Handfasting Ceremonies
For those who follow Norse Paganism, Yule is the festival associated with Odin the Allfather, one of the principal Gods of the Norse pantheons, and Yule wasn’t the traditional time for weddings.
Weddings in Old Norse times were traditionally held on a Friday in homage to Frigg, Queen of the Norse Gods, the Goddess of marriage and the home. (Many believe Freya was the Goddess who gave her name to this day now known as Friday, and it was Freya who was the Goddess of marriage. Another discussion for a different time).
Your Yule Wedding
You can hold your wedding or handfasting ceremony at any time of the year you choose. Yule is a winter festival and winter weddings are a preferred choice than hot summer weddings for many people.
Traditionally a time of celebration, giving and receiving of gifts, what better gift is there to give and to receive than the gift of love and dedication to your partner?
Your Yule wedding can be indoors or outdoors or both. You can wear the traditional Yule colours of red, green, and gold or wear whatever colour you want to wear.
Red, green, gold, and white are colours associated with Yule. Evergreens such as conifers, pinecones, holly, ivy, red berries, and mistletoe are natural seasonal decorations, perfect for a Yule wedding or handfasting.
Candle lanterns can replace bouquets if you have Brides or Grooms maids. Pinecones make great wedding ring holders as do candy canes. The highly anticipated kiss can take place under mistletoe, mulled wine ceremony and toast, mince pies or a fruit ceremony perhaps?
Candlelight, trees decorated and lit, natural decorated venues, and ceremony areas, and a Yule log wedding cake are festive additions to a wedding day.
The burning of a Yule log is an old Pagan custom, and lighting candles within a Yule log can be including in any Yule ceremony making it into a candle ceremony with meaning. Each year afterwards the candle is relit to remember the ceremony and vows said, and to mark Yule.
Although cold, outdoor ceremonies around firepits can include the ceremonial burning of a smaller Yule log (Yule logs were meant to burn for the 12 days of Yule). If the ceremony takes place around a firepit, the element of fire is present. Perfect for handfasting ceremonies.
Handfasting at Yule
Handfasting at Yule doesn’t have to follow any Pagan beliefs or customs, it will be meaningful whenever it takes place. Handfasting cords can be made up of Yule colours and decorating with Yule symbols.
Green is the colour of rebirth and renewal.
Red is for passion and prosperity.
White symbolises light and purity.
Gold is associated with wealth and energy.
Brown represents the earth
Handfasting at Yule is acknowledging sometimes can be dark, but you will always be each other’s light to happier and brighter times. Bound together as one, you will guide and lead each other but always have each other to hand. (Fellow celebrants feel free to use these words).
Chocolate and Mead Ceremonies
Chocolate is eaten and gifted more at this time of year than at any other so why not incorporate it into your wedding ceremony?
The drinking of mead during a wedding is where honeymoon comes from and having mead at wedding has many thoughts behind it. Those who book me as there celebrant can choose from many ceremony rituals including chocolate, mead, ale and cake, rum, gin, honeymoon, or anniversary box rituals, jumping the broom and many more including custom created ceremony rituals.
Entertainment For Yule Weddings
A Yule custom is to tell stories and hiring a storyteller is an alternative to usual wedding entertainment. They can pick up where your ceremony left off and tell your story or stories of the season, and they are a way of keeping younger guests from being bored.
Caricature artists, magicians, or even fire performers will keep your guests entertained before and after your ceremony.
What to Gift Guests at a Yule Wedding
Ideas for guest gifts at Yule weddings and handfasting ceremonies include:
Baubles or tree decorations
Mulled wine spices
Hot chocolate powder
Straw animals such as a Yule goat or a boar which are traditionally made at Yule.
Yule is a time for celebration and for more information on Yule weddings, handfasting ceremonies, Norse Pagan ceremonies or to book me as your ceremonialist, please contact me.