Life Passages Marriage

A Romuva Wedding

Offering of Krupnikas is made to Gabija.

On a stormy day in June at the edge of a forest in a bed of ferns, Moriah Christoffersen and Dale Williams were wed in the first marriage ceremony celebrated by Romuva North America since its incorporation a year ago.  It had been raining heavily for days, and at the last minute, the groom and his men moved each boulder in the custom-built alka from a wide-open field to the protection of a canopy of trees. While Seniūnė Jūratė Rzeznik was setting up, she prayed to Perkūnas to halt the rain if only for the ceremony and he obliged. The rain stopped just as the procession began.

Bride walks barefoot

The barefoot bride complemented her Lithuanian great-grandmother’s wedding dress from 95 years’ prior with a floral crown of red roses and yellow daisies. The bridesmaids and groomsmen sported cowboy boots to better navigate the muddy path. The result was a true Lithuanian experience as our ancestors celebrated — under the watchful eyes and loving arms of our sacred trees.

Seniūnė offers salt to the fire

After cleansing their hands, the guests and the bridal party were welcomed into the ceremony and treated to a rye blessing, with Jūratė being careful to make sure each little one caught several grains for good luck. Offerings of grain, salt, and krupnikas were made to Gabija as the bridal jousta made its way around the guests for them to offer best wishes for the couple. The rings were blessed over the fire and exchanged, and the couple’s hands were bound in the unity of marriage.

Couple's hands are bound with juosta

While adhering to Romuva tradition, this wedding was decidedly different than those performed in Lithuania, as none of the celebrants spoke Lithuanian. The prayers and dainas were made in Lithuanian, but the rest of the ceremony was in English. The dainas were sung by one lone voice but were still heard and appreciated by our gods and goddesses.

A toast to the newly married couple

After the ceremony, the wedding party passed out custom wooden shot glasses filled with krupnikas and made just for the occasion. Each was engraved with “į sviekata” and everyone made their best attempt to say it before toasting the newly married couple.

Nuometas is placed on the bride for the first time.

Since the bride was intent on incorporating as many of the traditions as possible, the nuometavimas was performed as the last act before leaving the ceremonial space. The bride was beaming in her role as a newly married woman adorned in fresh white linen. This was an absolutely lovely ceremony for an absolutely lovely couple. We have no doubt the gods will look with favor upon their union. It is our fervent hope that this is just the first of many, many more weddings to come for Romuva North America!

Moriah and Dale kiss after being married

all photographs courtesy of Jess Klein