Handfasting - A Meaningful Wedding Ceremony Addition

Handfasting is a sweet and meaningful wedding ritual that is widely believed to be of Celtic origin  but actually has its roots in later Norse tradition. Binding your hands together with a cloth, ribbon or cord, is one of my favourite inclusions in a wedding because it is not only a visual feast, it is also a ritual of commitment and of complete equality between you. A handfasting can be a beautiful addition to the ceremony and a graceful way to acknowledge family ties.

There is no "authorised" way of doing a handfasting, however, three things remain constant
  • You join your hands (one hand or both)
  • Something is wrapped round your joined hands
  • Knots are tied

And those knots are never untied

I love creating and incorporating handfasting rituals. So much so that, for couples wanting a very simple legals only ceremony, I offer a Married in a MinuteTM ceremony with a simple Handfasting as an optional secular ritual add-on at no extra cost.

What is handfasting?

Handfasting, as carried out in the Scottish/Irish tradition - the way I do it - is a non-religion-specific symbolic ritual. A perfect addition to your vows, it expresses the reality of marriage.

Using your choice of binding, which can be anything you choose, your hands are bound together while I speak appropriate words. It can happen either before the vows or after the exchange of rings.

Whether the handfasting is the focus of the ceremony or a ritual within your marriage ceremony, I work with you to custom-create the ceremony to reflect your wishes, your needs, your situation, and your beliefs. The ritual can be secular or spiritual. Many different religious traditions include wrapping or binding of the hands as part of their marriage ceremony. Binding your hands together as a visual expression of your commitment references this tradition and, as there is no "set way" of doing the binding, we can adapt it any way you wish.

Is there an authorised way handfasting must be done?

In a word, no. while handfasting is mentioned in some earlier novels and accounts of customs in Scotland, particularly, no detail is given.

You are free, therefore
  • to use whatever you wish for the binding. Ribbons and cords are the most usual, but you can use anything that has symbolic meaning for you. A scarf or tie that belonged to a deceased loved one. A vine. Single or multiple cords or ribbons. A cord you have made by plaiting a number of ribbons or cords together. Anything you can imagine.
  • to include anyone you like in the ritual - it does not have to be the celebrant who binds your hands
  • to personalise the symbolic meaning of binding your hands

I will work with you to create a handfasting ritual that reflects your hopes and your wishes.

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