What is handfasting?

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handfasting, Bignor Park, Sussex wedding, same sex wedding
image courtesy of candyflossandbowties.com

Handfasting has been used in commitment and wedding services for many hundreds of years as a symbol of being joined together. Ever wanted to know the origin of the expression ‘tying the knot’? You guessed it, it’s to do with handfasting.

Many people associate this ritual with Paganism and indeed, it is pagan in origin, as it was being practiced in this country before Christianity arrived on our shores. However, most church weddings include an element of handfasting too, with the priest wrapping the couple’s hands together with his stole, saying ‘Those whom God has joined together, let no man put asunder’.

How might handfasting fit in your ceremony?

If you’d like to include handfasting in your wedding ceremony or vow renewal, it can be done in lots of ways, either as the centre of your service or as a lovely added ritual when you’re saying your vows.

Your cord or ribbon can be just one that matches your outfit or colour scheme, or you can go to town and get your friends or family to create a personalised one that they have woven together with meaning and love. For example, some hen parties centre around the cord making. You don’t have to stick with one cord or ribbon either – some couples choose several different colours, maybe each representing a certain quality they wish to have in their marriage. If you choose to have several ribbons, you could have friends or family members taking turns to tie each one.

handfasting at the Royal Wedding
Handfasting the Royals

If you think you’d like a handfasting ritual as part of your day, we can chat about the best way to incorporate it into your ceremony to match the tone of your celebrations. However you choose to do it, handfasting is a beautiful and symbolic ritual – and you get a rather lovely keepsake out of it too!

Fancy going for it? Let’s chat.