Hand Fasting

Handfasting is a beautiful, symbolic marriage ceremony or ritual. It’s widely accepted that it has an ancient Celtic origin, dating back thousands of years. It’s a feature of pagan and Wiccan ceremonies, bound up with our relationship to the natural world and highly spiritual.

Though now, many couples incorporate it as a lovely romantic addition to a more traditional wedding ceremony to symbolise their union of love.

personalising your day

Get in contact and we will ensure that the special day is just that…special.

Contact us
What does handfasting involve?

What does handfasting involve?

Think of the phrase ‘tying the knot’ which is said to derive from handfasting. You, as a couple, will join hands either face-to-face or side-by-side, and I’ll bind your hands together with coloured ribbon or cord, while speaking a few beautiful words that we have chosen together as an expression of your love for each other.

Historical handfasting

Historical handfasting

Rural couples in ancient times certainly couldn’t afford the gold rings favoured by landowners and aristocracy. Instead, they’d make a pledge of love and commitment, use torn fabric or cord and their hands would be tied until midnight and then, rumour has it, they were escorted to the marital bedchamber. (For your information, I have never been asked to carry out this part of the ritual!) If the relationship lasted for a year and a day after that, then the handfasting was recognised as a wedding.

Handfasting today

Handfasting today

Since such ceremonies appeared in the film Braveheart, and, more recently, the popular TV series, Game of Thrones and the British soap, Emmerdale, handfasting is more often requested as part of a couple’s wedding. Sometimes the ceremony is held at sacred sites like Stonehenge or Avebury, and often in natural settings, like woodlands and orchards—but it can be anywhere you choose. It’s lovely to perform ancient rituals with a contemporary twist. The wish to remain together as a happy couple doesn’t change over the centuries, after all.

Handfastings performed by me

Handfastings performed by me

I’ll talk to you about your spiritual beliefs and together we’ll determine exactly how you’d like the ceremony to go, and if you’d like commemorative keepsakes to immortalise such a wonderful moment, then we’ll talk about that too. Handfasting is such a loving symbolic gesture that it has to be one of my favourite elements in my work as a celebrant.

See other related Unity Services