Handfasting - The Sexy Must-Have Wedding Ritual

by Jennifer Cram - Brisbane Marriage Celebrant © (25/02/2022)
Categories:  |  Wedding Ceremony |  Wedding Rituals  |
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Jennifer Cram Marriage Celebrant carrying
                    out a HandfastingI'll make no bones about it. Handfasting is my absolutely favourite ritual to include in a wedding ceremony.  For so many reasons.

Photographers love it

What your photographer loves shouldn't be the main driver of your decisions about what to include in your ceremony. So why do I make the fact the photographers love a handfasting number one on the list of great reasons to include a handfasting in your wedding? For the simple reason that it delivers so many opportunities for great photos that you are sure to have some to-die-for images - to keep and to share and to help you relive the moment in the years to come.

Your handfasting cord/ribbon(s) makes a great addition to the details photos taken before the ceremony and to the signing table when placed (still tied) next to the bouquet while you are signing. Have someone carry them down the aisle in the processional. And one of you carry them back up the aisle as you walk out.

It is Sexy as

Yes. Sexy. What could be more romantic and more sexy than a couple physically giving themselves over to be tied together, in the presence of others, as a visible expression of their commitment?

But there are also many other reasons why I am such a fan. And why you absolutely should put it on the top of your list of possible inclusions for your wedding ceremony.

You can use anything you like for the binding

There are no rules about what you can use. Tartan bands, cords, and ribbons, either single or in multiples, plaited/woven/joined together (ask me about how to plait with four or more strands) or used separately, are what most people choose. But good old rope, a vine (real or artificial), a piece of cloth, or even a two-handed (holding hands) mitten (with drawstring), are all possibilities. As are ties and scarves (a lovely way to acknowledge a deceased loved one).

You can echo your overall theme and colour scheme

Whether your scheme is sophisticated black and white, rainbow bright, subtle pastel, or nude shades, there are ribbons, cords, and jacquard braids to match.
  • Boho bride? Choose an eclectic mix. Throw some lace in there. Or a pom-pom garland
  • Thrifty? Use leftover fabric from your dress.
  • Going tartan? There is always a long narrow offcut when a kilt is made. But you can also get both silk and polyester ribbons in the most popular tartans
  • Rustic? Hessian might be a bit scratchy, but it works.
  • Luxe wedding? Gold and silver ribbons are fabulous.
  • Country/Cowboy? Add gingham ribbon to the mix - goes beautifully with flannels. Or go all the way with leather. You can buy lengths of narrow leather laces or bands. Or hop down to the op shop and grab some jeans and make your handfasting bands by cutting on either side of the stitched seams.

You can add layers of symbolism

Just the act of tying your hands together is highly symbolic. But it doesn't have to stop there.
  • You can choose colours for their symbolic meanings.
  • You can add charms.
  • You can do as one of my lovely couples did, use a plain white band on which a dear friend hand painstakingly hand-embroidered one one end a thistle to represent the groom's Scots heritage, and on the other, a flower that represented both the bride's heritage and a reference to her name.
  • You can ask other people to create the band for you as a way of honouring them - a nana or two, or more who knits, crochets, embroiders, or sews, will love being asked to do that.

It adds an extra dimension to your vows

Saying your vows while your hands are tied together makes the moment so much more than talking heads with a chance of tears!

You can involve others

There is no rule that say your celebrant has to do the binding and tying and say the words when you incorporate handfasting as a ritual within your civil wedding ceremony.

So you can have as many people as you wish drape, wrap, and tie the bands around your joined hands. I love involving both mothers, or other close family members. Older children are a great choice too.

If you use ribbons, they can double as your guest book. Have guests sign the ribbons as they arrive at the ceremony so, when you are tied together you are bound with their love and good wishes as well as with your own love and commitment. Make sure you provide qood quality fabric pens (available from Patchwork & Quilting stores) so the signatures won't bleed and choose light to medium ribbon colours so they will show up.

It's fun, and it's different!

There is always a bit of interaction going on between the two of you and the people you involve in the ritual. And often some laughter. Best of all, though, is that even if your guests have been to a wedding where handfasting was included, it is highly likely that it was a pretty vanilla version. Following my advice will make sure that yours will be fresh and different.

You get to keep the tied cords/ribbons/band forever

Many couples frame it, so it is a constant reminder of their commitment.

More about handfasting

Thanks for reading!
Questions or comments?
                      Jenny Click to contact me
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