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Low-Key Witchy Wedding Rituals & Advice From ‘The Wedding Witch of Salem'

Published Friday, Feb. 16th, 2024

A close up image of a braided handfasting cord used during a wiccan wedding ceremony
Above: A couple's braided handfasting cord, during a wedding presided over by Officiant Tara (Photo, cropped, taken by Sasha Pedro - Wedding Photography, via @witchywomanweddings)

Witchy rituals & wedding advice from AMM Minister Tara McMullen-King, aka ‘The Wedding Witch of Salem’ 



Looking for low-key ways to add witchy rituals and traditions to your wedding ceremony? Want to weave spiritual practices and personal touches into your day in unique ways? Want to celebrate your marriage with magic and meaning, but need to fly your besom under the radar? 


You’re in the right place! 


AMM reached out to professional officiant Tara McMullen-King, aka ‘The Wedding Witch of Salem,’ for her advice on witchy wedding elements that won’t necessarily draw the attention of your conservative guests. 


But make no mistake, these traditions are still seriously witchy – with deep roots in Wicca and other Pagan practices. As an initiated Wiccan Priestess and practicing Eclectic Witch, Tara is sincere in her craft and blends her Wiccan tradition with modern aesthetics to work pure wedding magic on the big day.


Below, you’ll find a few of Tara’s favorite Wiccan wedding elements, along with sage advice for other officiants and couples.


Keep this in mind: Spirituality and ritual are not one-size-fits-all. The best ceremonies embody the couple, Tara emphasizes, and “the whole experience [should be] a reflection of them, their personality, what they vibe with, their personal beliefs, their spiritual practices.” 


As you read the suggestions below, think about how you can modify or tweak them to suit your personal style and faiths. Then, meet with your officiant and talk about how to make it happen! 


Need a wedding officiant? 
Ask a friend or relative to get ordained online with AMM to officiate. 




Besom with celtic heart symbol, wheat and herbs, and a green candle lit for fertility and abundance for a wiccan wedding ritual

Photo: CreativeFire / iStock



5 Low-Key Witchy Wedding Elements 
For Modern Wiccan, Pagan, & Interfaith Marriage Ceremonies 


1. Handfasting Ritual 


Handfasting has hit the mainstream, but it's been ‘having a moment’ for hundreds of years. This ancient unity ritual is rooted in Celtic Pagan wedding practices, as a physical symbol of the spiritual bonds of marriage. 


An officiant ties colorful ribbon(s) or cord(s) around a couple’s clasped hands, literally ‘tying the knot’ of their love. The type of ribbon or cord a couple chooses can have meaning as well. For example, the magical properties of the color or materials used, and of any herbs or flowers braided into the handfasting cord.   


Tara says, “Handfasting is something that appeals to [everyone], it's not just for witchy people… It's a low-key way of incorporating something that has some history in the [Pagan] community, in a way that guests who are not as familiar with, or maybe as comfortable with, [can appreciate].


 …It's something that [you can include] even with the normies or more vanilla people there, or like, your grandma who doesn't know that you're a witch — you can still incorporate something like that and have it be beautiful, with a beautiful meaning behind it.”



Learn More: How to Include a Handfasting in Your Wedding Ceremony or Vow Renewal


Browse: Ideas & Inspiration for Your Handfasting


What to Say: Handfasting Ceremony Scripts for Officiants




Close up photo of wedding officiant blessing the hands of a bride and groom after performing a handfasting ceremony

Color Magic: Choose the colors of your ribbons or cords to invite or bring in the right energy on the wedding day. Above, the marriers chose crimson red for health and passion; Blue for harmony and patience; Green for abundance, growth, connection to nature, health and fertility (they might want a large family!)



2. Add Crystals to Your Wedding Bouquet


Crystals are a low-key way to add magic throughout the ceremony space. Crystals are well-known in Pagan communities for their energetic attributes, such as the balancing powers of rose quartz or the protective energy of amethyst. 


And while we usually see crystals placed on an altar or along the edges of the ceremonial circle, marriers can also add crystals to their bouquets and boutonnieres, too! 


Tara says, “I have had two separate brides incorporate crystals in their bouquets, which I think is kind of fun. Different crystals have different properties. [For weddings,] rose quartz is a great example, [it’s] the ‘love stone,’ or red jasper, or smoky quartz.”


3. Braid Your Own Unity Cord or Wearable Charms


Couples can weave a little more magic into the handfasting ritual described above by braiding their ribbons or cords together as a couple before the ceremony. As each piece is woven together, the couple sets their intentions for married life and the future ahead.


This ritual can also be used to create wearable charms or symbols of unity on the wedding day: Braid two unity cords with your partner the night before. Then, wear them as discreet magical charm bracelets, belts, or head wreaths during the ceremony. Your witchy guests will notice, but the ‘normies’ you love will be none the wiser.


Tara says, “I recommend… braiding the cords themselves, together as partners. Focusing on the intention, focusing on the connection and the energy between them as they're braiding that cord, with colors that represent whatever they're trying to bring into that marriage or that new relationship that's being celebrated. 


I think that picking the colors, putting [in] the intention, crafting the cord themselves — [this] can be another way of amping it up, and making it even more personal.”


Related: Pagan Wedding Blessings for Every Season and Ceremony


4. Witchy Wedding Altar


Altars are an important part of most Pagan marriage rituals, and each spiritual practice (and practitioner) has their own thoughts about what makes it onto the altar. There’s no right or wrong way to construct your marriage altar! 


Modern Druids and Wiccans often include wands, an athame, hearth stones, crystals, and offerings like wine or honey. Norse Pagans, Heathens, and others might include carved runes and blessing stones. And nearly all Pagan wedding altars include candles, incense, and meaningful herbs, flowers, and botanicals.

To make your own altar, choose items that hold personal significance to you as a couple, and to your individual spiritual practices. 


Tara says, “[An altar] doesn’t have to be in your face, or right in the middle of the ceremony. But [I recommend] having an altar that represents the two of you. If there are particular deities or paths that you follow, have representations of those — like an Aphrodite [symbol], or Hera, or other goddesses, like Frigg. [And have] elements that represent you, like pictures, things that represent the two of you as individuals.” 


Take a Closer Look:  Pagan Wedding Altars : An Illustrated Look at a Year and a Day Altar


All About Offerings: Pagan Weddings: Ideas for Offerings to Gods and Ancestors


More About Runes: Norse Runes for Wedding Altars, Rings, and Invitations - The Full Elder Futhark Alphabet



Pagan altar set up for a wedding ceremony, with rings, family heirlooms, herbs, and other meaningful objects

Place meaningful objects on your wedding altar, including candles, herbs, crystal, a symbolic athame, family heirlooms, your wedding rings, or other objects with spiritual significance to you and your partner.  Your altar can be placed 'center stage' or out of the way for a low-key approach. 


5. Make a ‘Mojo’ Bag


In weddings, mojo bags can be worn under a dress or in the pocket of a suit to bring in the right energy — and keep the wrong energy out. After the ceremony, the bag is infused with all the positive energy and love of the day, making it a perfect keepsake. 


A Wiccan ‘mojo bag’ is a small spell bag filled with crystals, herbs, soil or spices, and other symbolic items. These elements are mixed as a type of spellwork, to honor a specific spirit or deity, for protection, medicine, or to welcome in positive energy or good luck. This type of magic goes by different names in different witchcraft traditions, including ‘mojo bag,’ amulet, talisman, charm bag, and gris gris (used in Modern Hoodoo and African Pagan traditions). 


Tara says, “I’ve helped brides craft what are called ‘mojo bags.’ We'll pull together a little bag that has crystals, or has herbs, or different things that represent love, or things that they're trying to bring [into the marriage]. And they’ll hide it either in a pocket, in their dress, or sometimes within their brassiere, or something like that. 


So that’s like a secret way of bringing [spiritual] stuff in. And then [that mojo bag], after the ceremony, it's infused with all that positive energy, and they can take it home and keep that.” 


Related: Magical Herbs for Your Wedding Ceremony, Handfasting, or Vow Renewal


Related: Flower Meanings and Symbolism : What Does Your Wedding Bouquet Say?


Wiccan mojo bag, laying on a wooden table with its contents laid out, several small stones and crystals, a bundle of herbs, and carved runes

Photo: Plateresca / iStock

Mojo bags are filled with stones, crystals, herbs, and other magical objects. and can be worn hidden under clothing or carried in a suit or dress pocket. 




About the Expert

Tara McMullen-King
aka The Wedding Witch of Salem, MA
Owner & Officiant, Witchy Woman Weddings



Officiant Tara McMullen-King has been planning and officiating weddings for over six years. She launched her officiant business, Witchy Woman Weddings, on Valentine’s Day in 2020, and became ordained with American Marriage Ministries in 2022.


Tara moved to the historic town of Salem, Massachusetts in 2015, after making friends with local residents while managing a psychic fair. She quickly fell in love with the area, and with her husband, coincidentally, who she met a week after arriving.


As a practicing Wiccan, she was drawn to the mystical energy that fills the city and the like-minded community she found there. She tells us that many of the couples she marries come to Salem to marry for similar reasons; they’re drawn to the Pagan path and are attracted to the city’s alternative witchy vibes. 


“Salem is a place that is very special,” she says. “It has a long, perhaps macabre and violent history, with witchcraft… but these days, it is a very welcoming, vibrant community. Many of the local folks who live here are magic practitioners or other Pagans, Wiccans — it's a very accepting place to be.”


Two photos. On the left, Officiant Tara stands between a bride and groom holding viking swords during a Pagan wedding ceremony; on the right: Tara stands with a bride and groom in a dark gothic style room, all are wearing romantic black outfits

Left: Tara officiates a unique Viking-inspired sword exchange during a nontraditional wedding ceremony / Right: Tara officiates a small elopement ceremony during 'spooky season,' October in 'Witch City' Salem, MA (Photos via the officiant @witchywomanweddings)



Each October, nearly one million people travel to Salem to take part in ‘Haunted Happenings,’ a month-long Halloween extravaganza. Along with parades, parties, walking tours, and local craft and museum exhibits, there are also dozens of seasonal weddings. 


“A lot of folks want to come and have their wedding, or their commitment ceremony, or their handfasting here in Salem. Especially during the fall, people want the spooky season. And they want all of the magic that comes with being in Salem around that time… It's [also] kind of a honeymoon, it's a vacation at the same time.”


As a former events planner, Tara is in a unique position to help couples who travel from out of town to wed. “Not only do I help them craft a magical, unique ceremony as a partner with them, but I also can help them plan their trip, and give them advice on what is what it's like to have a ceremony in Salem — advice on potential locations for a ceremony, flowers, DJs, and anything that they need.”


Sounds like a recipe for magic to us! 


Contact Tara for more information about Salem, MA Wiccan weddings, handfastings, and elopements here: 




Wedding Officiant Tara McMullen-King poses at a wedding altar with a head wreath of stars, holding a wedding ceremony script book. Photo by Light Witch

The Wedding Witch of Salem, Officiant Tara McMullen-King

Portrait by Courtney Brooke Hall, the Light Witch


Small icon illustration of a heart shaped wiccan wedding candle


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Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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