‘Tying the Knot’
A Handfasting Ceremony is a really moving Ancient Symbolic Wedding Ceremony which has become really popular with modern couples. Your hands are gently tied together with cords in a symbolic knot. This binding of the hands symbolises your unity and the binding of your lives together.
You’ve probably heard the well known phrased ‘tying the knot’.
How should the cords be tied?
There’s really no right or wrong way to tie a Handfasting. The core of the ceremony is the hands being gently tied in a symbolic knot. And as you can imagine there are many and varied ways to do this. Each person performing the handfasting will do it in their own way.
Both hands may be bound together or just the right hands, or opposite hands. Couples may be asked to stand face to face, or they may stand side-by-side.
There are many different ways to tie-the-knot, and yes, this is where this well-known phrase has it’s origins!
Who can create a handfasting
Realistically, anyone can create and perform a Handfasting Ceremony for you. Traditionally, Wiccans and Pagans embraced handfasting as a part of their wedding ceremony. But these days, it’s become very popular with wedding couples from many different beliefs and backgrounds. It really is a lovely way of personalising your Wedding Ceremony.
It’s usually performed by a Wedding Celebrant, who can include many special and interesting elements into your Wedding Ceremony which will make it unique to you.
What are the cords made of?
Your handfasting cords can be made of any material. Natural fibres are best and more ecological. Your handfasting ceremony will have more personal meaning to you both if the cords you choose have some meaning to you.
The colours of the cord can symbolise different things. Traditionally white symbolises purity, innocence and new beginnings. Red often symbolises passion, strength, fertility, courage, health, vigour and lust. Blue represents tranquillity, understanding, truth, sincerity, and loyalty. Orange can represent passion, fun energy and warmth.
How to make the cords
Handfasting cords can be braided / plaited or woven and ribbon is the ideal material to use for this as it’s soft and pliable and easy to tie. And it’s easy to buy many different colours and styles of ribbon. The plaiting symbolises the inter-twining of your lives, hearts and souls, and the endless love, loyalty. And your joint path as you go forward in life together.
It really is wonderful if you can make your own cords, but if you don’t have time or don’t feel confident enough to make your own cords you can easily have them tailor made to your own specifications.
In Pagan symbolism the numbers 3 and 9 have significance. You can literally weave this symbolism into the making of the cords if you’d like to.
The cords need to be at least 6 feet long (2 metres) when they are finished to allow for the knots to be made.
You could choose to have 3 ribbons plaited into one cord and make 3 of these. Using colours and materials that mean something to each of you.
Why not make one cord each and one cord together? It really is up to you!
Each Celebrant will use their own words but ‘The Blessing of the Hands’ is often a part of the ceremony.
“Love took me by the hand;
Love took me by surprise.
Love led me to you,
And love opened up my eyes.”
– Michelle Branch, “Drop in the Ocean”
‘These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow and forever.’
Why not have a Handfasting in combination with your own personal Wedding Vows written by you from your heart? It makes your Wedding Ceremony all about you and completely personal. Wouldn’t that be special? Your very own totally unique Wedding Ceremony.
Photo: Zara Davis Photography
Is it a legal ceremony?
These days Handfasting doesn’t have any legal status.
It’s a beautiful Symbolic Ceremony that’s a statement of intent between two people in love, symbolising their commitment for “as long as love shall last.”
The legalities can be done a week or two before your symbolic ceremony. All you need is two witnesses for the legal bit, which takes about 30 mins maximum and costs £60.
Your wonderful personalised Wedding Ceremony can include all the special elements of a Handfasting and also many other symbolic rituals that you can include to make your wedding ceremony unique to you.