Jana believes that the spice of life can be found in the exploration of other cultures, good food, and wine.
1. Is it Legal?
Nope. Thus far, the tantric wedding is not recognized under legal law. This doesn't bother couples, though. Nearly all of them get a legal marriage license before or after their special day shared with family and friends. Some decide to never get a license but prefer to go through with only the tantric ceremony, even if that means they would be considered unmarried in the conventional sense.
2. No Minister Required
The main way in which the tantric wedding differs (and also perhaps the reason why it escapes becoming legal), is that a couple doesn't require the presence of an official to declare them married. If they so choose, a priest or priestess can reside over the ceremony but it's not a necessity. Often, these marriages happen spontaneously. A man and woman could be sharing a deeply loving moment and decide to unite for life right there and then. It's been known to happen while having a good time with friends, a workshop or even just walking somewhere beautiful together. At its barest, the only people that need to show up for a tantric wedding to happen are the bride and groom.
3. Unique is Popular
All traditional weddings have their own unique moments but let's face it, most occur within the limits and molds of the couple's religion. Most Christian brides dream of the “white wedding” when they wear a white dress, get married by a church official followed by a beautiful reception. When invited to a tantric event, expect to walk into a deeply personal affair where anything can happen. Couples can have many rituals to celebrate the things that are special to them, guests are allowed to contribute poetry or performances and clothing is often exotic and not tied to a certain dress code. Rigidly following a program isn't likely to be a part of the day, either. Some ceremonies last days before the couple arrive at the point when they commit to each other. Spontaneous marriages doesn't always choose the location but when planned, it can take place anywhere since it's not confined to a religious building or court. Usually, the place have some kind of importance for the couple. There's no telling where it may happen. It can be a normal location such as somebody's home or as unusual as a mountain top.
The Beautiful Bare Bones
4. Symbols Play an Important Role
Despite that a tantric ceremony sounds like a free-for-all, it does adhere to symbolism. Once again, the bride and groom are free to choose the specific items they want to include in the décor, dishes and perhaps some music with symbolic value. However, one of the main themes used in nearly every wedding is the union of male and female energies. Sometimes, the concept is demonstrated as loving interactions between the man and woman; perhaps in the shape of a pose, dance or ritual.
5. Food and Music
Similar to any wedding, regardless of religion, the menu for a tantric ceremony can be highly flexible. Traditional weddings serve food as a grand meal, often as some kind of elaborate lunch or dinner. There may be starters, two or three kinds of meat, the main course and dessert. This formula can also show up during a tantric wedding but with a twist. All newlyweds want their guests to enjoy a tasty meal but tantric food is specifically chosen to delight the senses. Attention is given to aroma, how dishes present visually – think colour, texture, arrangement – and of course, to taste as wonderful as possible. As a show of love, the couple may exchange an edible treat. Guests also sometimes give each other fruit or chocolate to show respect and affection for each other.
Forget the latest chart hits. When it comes to tantric weddings, music is often created as original pieces and performed by live artists. These musicians, like most of the other guests, would also likely be tantra practitioners, and they put their heart and soul into a performance. Depending on the musician and the couple's preference, different instruments are used. However, one popular item is the drum. Once the mood strikes, drummers can beat a rhythm for hours.
6. The Role of Guests
Tantric weddings know the meaning of getting everyone involved. Unlike some traditional ceremonies, where guests wait in the pews and then go to the reception, things can get lively. Guests sometimes have access to musical instruments that anyone can play, including drums, bells and rattles. They are often asked to recite something or dance for the bride and groom. There is no such thing as a static guest when big rituals are performed. Everybody joins in a chant, a dance that highlight male and female or group activities following the days leading up to the wedding. It's not unusual for friends to join the happy couple at a spiritual retreat such as a sweat lodge.
7. Dedications and Vows
The emotional highlight of the union is usually when the couple exchange vows. These can include expressions of love, intentions of honouring their partner and responsibilities, as well as stating life-long pledges. In addition, the speaker can also ask for a partner's support and understanding that they (the speaker) also have bonds and responsibilities outside of the relationship. Needless to say, listening to a bride and groom authentically voice their feelings and plans is inspiring. Sometimes, guests join in, in good time, and renew vows and dedications with their own beloved ones. It's not unheard-of that the vows cross borders; the couple may address those present and make promises to them. In return, guests can also voice their intent to support and bless the happy pair. Speaking of renewal, usually a tantric couple won't marry just once. Considering that it can happen at any moment and the moment is good, there's no reason why a deeply personal commitment cannot be refreshed. It can be as simple as two people exchanging vows in the heat of the moment, or carefully plan an elaborate second or even third wedding ceremony.
Mixing Tantra and Traditional
Can Anyone Have a Tantric Wedding?
These days, couples of all creeds like to get hitched in a fun and memorable way. We have all heard about the bride and groom who married underwater, on horseback or while jumping out of an airplane. Naturally, among the thousands who wed every year, the question has popped up. Can non-tantric couples be allowed to have a tantric wedding without committing to the lifestyle? The answer is yes. The ancient art of tantra can be practiced in its entirety by dedicated followers or snippets can be applied to a person's life; somebody who appreciates the wisdom but has no desire to become a full-fledged practitioner. The art is not bound to any religion, thus opening it to anyone looking for loving and fun way to compliment a traditional marriage ceremony.
© 2018 Jana Louise Smit