WOW! with a handfasting ritual.

Do you want some extra magic on your wedding day? How about enabling your guests to experience something they might never have seen before? Or creating the opportunity for your photographer to capture the ultimate WOW!-inducing moment? You can even ask your guests to participate in the ceremony. Yes, your friends, family and children can actually take part! This is the joy of a celebrant-led ceremony – you can enhance it with a handfasting ritual. Open to the idea? Let me talk you through it.

Handfasting rituals have become an increasingly popular addition to contemporary wedding ceremonies in recent years. But, no two handfasting rituals are the same nor is there a set point at which they happen. A couple is often handfasted while facing each other. Alternatively, they can stand side by side. There are numerous opportunities during the ceremony to carry out the ritual. You may wish to be bound to one another after the exchanging of the rings or you can even exchange rings after the cord is in place. It really is down to personal preference. Your family, children or friends can participate by bringing individual cords and placing them over your – the couples’ – hands.

Handfasting has its roots in many ancient cultures including Celtic traditions. A couple is bound together by colourful ribbons or a cord symbolising the bond they hold. The colour of the ribbons or cord you choose can serve two functions. Firstly, there is the symbolic element. You can choose colours which hold a particular association, for example, red symbolises love and strength, pink – unity and happiness, gold – prosperity and longevity, green – luck and nurturing. Or simply, you may wish to choose colours based on your colour scheme. You could even use a cord made from textiles that hold meaning – a piece of your granddad’s shirt; your mother’s wedding dress; nautical rope; anything can be transformed into a handfasting cord.

Symbolic rituals are present in traditions across the globe – weddings are no exception. Think of all of the rituals you already associate with weddings – the exchanging of rings, the vows and then there are the non-ceremonial elements such as cutting the cake, the first dance and tossing the bouquet. We all like the element of tradition in a wedding but if you are looking for something a little bit different, consider handfasting. Handfasting is just one of the many rituals you could choose to incorporate into your ceremony in order to add a truly magical touch to your day.

So why not wow your guests? They will be talking about it for the rest of the day and for the weeks to come!

A ribbon handfasting cord.
A Celtic-style handfasting cord.
Two different handfasting cords - the one on the left is a Celtic style cord in green and cream. The one of the right is made from ribbon.