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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Hall

What is a Handfasting?

Handfasting is fast becoming one of the most popular ceremony enhancements for Wedding ceremonies. As a Wedding Celebrant, I have used this ceremony enhancement many times during my ceremonies and it is always a beautiful addition.

Handfasting is an ancient Celtic Tradition that dates back thousands of years. It was originally used to symbolise a betrothal. The engagement would last a year and a day and at the end of that term the couple would decide to marry or go their separate ways. The hands, or wrists, are tied together using ribbons or cords. The practice gave way to the expression “tying the knot” which now means getting married.

Usually ribbon or cord is used but some couples choose to use fabric or lace which has some special meaning to them. Their hands are bound by the ribbons and once the binding has been completed the couple then keep the knotted fabric as a symbol or their commitment and their wedding day.

Bride and Groom have their hands bound by handfasting chords
Bride and Groom Handfasting

There are many different ways you can incorporate a Handfasting into your ceremony.

Some couples choose their coloured ribbons, and then I will braid them into a beautiful handfasting chord prior to the ceremony. During the ceremony, the braided chord is then placed over the couples bound hands, and tied into a knot.

Some couples choose to keep their ribbons/material/cords, loose and separated, then during the ceremony you can choose to either have me, your Wedding Celebrant, place the ribbons over your hand and bind them all together. Or, some couples love the opportunity to involve some friends or family members in their handfasting. You can do this by having them each place a ribbon over your hands. You could also choose to include your children if you have any.

The picture below is an example of a beautiful braided ribbon cord I made for one of my recent couples. They choose 4 colours, for them and their two children.

You could also choose to include a special item belonging to a loved one who may have passed away, a piece of material from a Mother's wedding dress, your grandfather's favourite a special way to honour them and include them in your special day.

Andrea x


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