A handfasting ceremony, also known as a hand ceremony or a hand-tying ceremony, is a tradition that is polytheistic but still popular in modern ceremonies.
Here’s 10 reasons you might want to involve handfasting in your wedding ceremony.
- Simplicity: Before the 18th century most marriages were not officiated in churches, but in the local village or forest, in a simple ceremony where the two people came together, and the symbolic gesture of this two-become-one ceremony were their hands being tied together. The simple act of tying two hands together communicates more than words sometimes can.
- Intimacy: With your hands tied to your fiance’s your celebrant, or perhaps a friend, family member or faith filled acquaintance can lay a blessing on that symbolic union.
- A physical symbolic gesture: you can use vines, colourful cords, a scarf, string/s or rope.
- Something borrowed: a special piece of fabric could be the handfasting material, or perhaps a thread from a special cloth or a rope that holds family tradition.
- Rebellion: between 1753 and 1939 in Scotland handfasting ceremonies were banned because only the church could officiate weddings. Does the rebellious streak appeal to you?
- For faith: a handfasting ceremony represents everything that a Christian marriage is based on. The rope itself can even serve as a reference to Ecclesiastes 4:12 and your marriage to your fiancé also being a marriage involving God the father “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
- Involving more people: your celebrant does not have to be the one who ties the cords or ribbons, another person that you would like involved in the ceremony could tie your hands together. A quick practise run pre-ceremony might be a good idea, so that you find that even balance between not-tied and bondage.
- Multiple aspects to your relationship: each cord or string can represent a different aspect of your relationship. If you have children, or a sport or a professional theme that also ties your marriage together, each aspect could be represented as a cord or a ribbon.
- Recycling: After the wedding ceremony you will need to release your hands to sign the marriage certificate and go ahead with your day. Perhaps the ribbon or cord could then be tied around your marriage certificate, as a further symbolic gesture.
- Same sex handfasting: Many same sex couples are using a handfasting ceremony to symbolically celebrate their relationship outside of the church and church-inspired-laws that do not allow them to marry.