Image by Will O

Why you might want to include a handfasting in your wedding ceremony? 

 

Just a couple of quick thoughts to share. First, I believe everyone loves symbolism. A handfasting is a symbolic ritual, where afterward you will have a physical item as a keepsake of that moment. There are so many different, unique ways to create the wording of the “ceremony” to reflect your love. It can make your wedding more meaningful and personal. 

 

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 symbolism of two people joining together was reflected in the tying of their hands together. This simple act of tying two hands together communicates more than words sometimes can. However, a good officiant can bring it all together and have beautiful, meaningful words to recite during this ritual.

 

Check out a few different handfasting ceremony options below.

 

Handfasting Option 1

Uses 1 cord, simpler version placed right after the Ring Exchange

 

Another tradition ______ and ______  have chosen to represent their union is a handfasting. A handfasting is one of the world’s oldest wedding traditions and is found in cultures all over the world. 

Will the two you you please join your right hands.

In joining hands ______  and ______  symbolize how they freely offer their lives to one another. These are the hands that will love and cherish you through the years. These are the hands that will hold you tight as you struggle through difficult times and will give you support and encourage you to chase your dreams.

In fasting their hands together, (Drape cord on hands) the cord symbolizes how ______ and ______  leave this day with their lives bound together. After today, an idea of two stories come together and 2 sets of hopes and desires for the future are joined in commitment and intention.

______ and ______  as I fasten your hands together (Begin wrapping cord around hands) I invite you to reflect on the life moments and joy that awaits you. From today, being bound together in the commitment and intention of marriage means that each of you is a lifelong, safe place to love and be deeply loved by the other. 

(Finish prepping knot) 

Here we could have the “Vows”

______ ,  you may go first.

______ , it is now your turn.

Woven into this cord, are all the hopes of your friends, family, and of yourselves for your new life together. As your hands are bound by this cord so is your partnership held by the symbol of this knot. 

Two entwined in love, bound by commitment and fear, sadness and joy, hardship and victory. All of which brings strength to this union. Hold tight to one another through both the good times and bad and watch as your strength grows. 

Pull hands apart to create an infinity knot (Doesn’t have to be an infinity knot!)

As your hands are now bound together, so your lives are joined in marriage. The knot symbolizes the vows you have made. Like the stars, your love should be a constant source of light, and like the earth, a firm foundation from which to grow.

 

 

 

 

 

Handfasting Option 2

Uses 6 cords or bindings, this an earthy or more spiritual option.

This can replace the declaration of intent in traditional ceremonies.

Know now before you go further, that since your lives have crossed in this life you have formed ties between each other. As you seek to enter this state of matrimony you should strive to make real, the ideals which give meaning to both this ceremony and the institution of marriage.

With full awareness, know that within this circle you are not only declaring your intent to be handfasted before your friends and family, but you speak that intent also to your creative higher powers.

The promises made today and the ties that are bound here greatly strengthen your union; they will cross the years and lives of each soul’s growth.

 

Do you still seek to enter this ceremony?     Couple says, “Yes, We Seek to Enter.”

 

In times past it was believed that the human soul shared characteristics with all things divine. It is this belief which assigned virtues to the cardinal directions; East, South, West and North. It is in this tradition that a blessing is offered in support of this ceremony.

 

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the East. Communication of the heart, mind, and body Fresh beginnings with the rising of each Sun. The knowledge of the growth found in the sharing of silences.

 

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the South. Warmth of hearth and home The heat of the heart’s passion The light created by both To lighten the darkest of times.

 

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the West. The deep commitments of the lake The swift excitement of the river The refreshing cleansing of the rain The all encompassing passion of the sea.

 

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the North Firm foundation on which to build Fertility of the fields to enrich your lives A stable home to which you may always return.

 

Each of these blessings from the four cardinal directions emphasizes those things which will help you build a happy and successful union. Yet they are only tools. Tools which you must use together in order to create what you seek in this union.

 

I bid you look into each others eyes.

 

1st binding: 

______ , Will you cause (her/him/them) pain?    “I May.”   Is that your intent?   “No.”

______ , Will you cause (her/him/them) pain?     “I May.”   Is that your intent?   “No.”

Will you share each other’s pain and seek to ease it?      Couple says, “Yes.”

First cord is draped across the couples hands - And so the first binding is made. 

 

2nd binding:

______ , Will you share (his/her/their) laughter?    “Yes.”

______ , Will you share (his/her/their) laughter?    “Yes.”

*To Both* Will both of you look for the brightness in life and the positive in each other?   Couple says,  “Yes.”

Second cord is draped across the couples hands - And so the second binding is made.

 

3rd Binding

______ , Will you burden (her/him/them)?    “I May.”    Is that your intent?       “No.”

______ , Will you burden (her/him/them)?    “I May.”     Is that your intent?      “No.”

*To Both*  Will you share the burdens of each so that your spirits may grow in this union?    Couple says,  “Yes.”

Third cord is draped across the couples hands - And so the third binding is made.

 

4th Binding

______ , will you share  (his/her/their) dreams?       “Yes.”

______ , will you share  (his/her/their) dreams?        “Yes.”

*To Both*  Will you dream together to create new realities and hopes?  Couple says, “ Yes “

Fourth cord is draped across the couples hands  - And so the fourth binding is made.

 

5th Binding

______ , will you cause (her/him/them) anger?     “I May.”              Is that your intent?     “No.”

______ , will you cause (her/him/them) anger?     “I May.”             Is that your intent?   “No.”

*To Both* Will you take the heat of anger and use it to temper the strength of this union?  

Couple says, “We Will.”

Fifth cord is draped across the couples hands - And so the fifth binding is made.

 

6th Binding:

______ , Will you honor (her/him/them) ?     “I will.”

______ , Will you honor (her/him/them) ?    “I will”

Will you seek to never give cause to break that honor?   Couple says, “We shall never do so.”

Sixth cord is draped across the couples hands  -  And so the sixth binding is made.

 

The knots of this binding are not formed by these chords but instead by your vows. Either of you may drop the chords, for as always, you hold in your own hands the making of breaking of this union.

The cords are removed and placed on altar.

 

 

Handfasting Option 3

Uses 5 cords or bindings, this is a more celtic option.

This can replace the declaration of intent in traditional ceremonies

Know now before you go further, that since your lives have crossed in this life you have formed ties between each other.

As you seek to enter this state of matrimony you should strive to make real the ideals which give meaning to both this ceremony and the institution of marriage.

Do you still seek to enter this ceremony?  Couple says,  “We do.”

Blessing of the Hands

These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, for a lifetime of happiness.

These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes: tears of sorrow and tears of joy.

These are the hands that will comfort you in illness, and hold you when fear or grief racks your mind.

These are the hands that will hold you tight as you struggle through difficult times.

These are the hands that will give you support and encourage you to chase your dreams. Together, everything you wish for can be realized.

Prepare the cords

Back in earlier years, the hands would be bound with whatever was available – vines, colorful cords, or scarf. Today we will use these cords to symbolize the binding, or promises.

The first promise

______, Will you be ______,  faithful partner for life?      “I will.”

______, Will you be ______,  faithful partner for life?      “I will.”

Will you be each other’s constant friends and one true love?     Couple says, “We will.”

First cord is draped across the couples hands  -  And so the first binding is made.

 

The second promise

______,  do you promise to love ______,  without reservation?      “I will.”

______,  do you promise to love ______,  without reservation?         “I will.”

Will both of you stand by one another in sickness and in health, in plenty and in want?  Couple says,  “We will.”

Second  cord is draped across the couples hands   -  And so the second binding is made.

 

The third promise

______, will you stand together with ______,  your times of joy and sorrow?    “I will.”

______,  will you stand together with ______,  your times of joy and sorrow?    “I will.”

Will you share the burdens of each so that your spirits may grow in this union? Couple says,  “We will.”

Third  cord is draped across the couples hands    -  And so the third binding is made.

 

The forth promise

______,  will you always to be open and honest with ______,  for as long as you both shall live?   “I will.”

______,  will you always to be open and honest with ______,  for as long as you both shall live?  “I will.”

Will you dream together to create new realities and hopes for this marriage?  Couple says, “We will.”

Fourth cord is draped across the couples hands  -  And so the forth binding is made.

 

The fifth promise

______, Will you honor this (man/woman)?   “I will.”

______, Will you honor this (man/woman)?   “I will.”

Will you both seek to cherish and strengthen that honor?  Couple says,  “We will.”

Sixth  cord is draped across the couples hands  -  And so the fifth binding is made.

Binding of all promises

The knots of this binding are not formed by these chords but instead by your vows. Either of you may drop the chords, for as always, you hold in your own hands the making or breaking of this union.

The cords are removed and placed on altar

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