Would you Like a Handfasting As Part of Your Wedding Ceremony?

  • Posted on November 16, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Handfasting is an old Pagan custom, dating back to the time of the ancient Celts.

Reportedly, the act of Handfasting was the precursor to today’s engagement. A Handfasting was originally an engagement period, where two people would declare a binding union between themselves for a year and a day. In essence, the original Handfasting was a trial marriage.

Handfasting beame a popular custom in the British Isles in rural areas. It could be weeks or even months before a clergyman happened to stop by a village, so couples learned to make allowances.

A Handfasting became the equivalent of today’s common-law marriage; a man and woman simply clasped hands and declared themselves married. Generally this was done in the presence of a witness or witnesses. The local custom also often involved binding the couple’s hands together, which is where the phrase ‘typing the knot’ comes from.

Today’s modern day Handfasting ceremony is a revival of sorts, of the Handfastings of yesteryear. After a bride and groom offer their vows to one another, their hands are clasped and fastened together with a cord or cords. The Handfasting is a symbolic representation of oneness between the couple.

Today, couple’s often design and create their own Handfasting cords. A range of items can be used: double-sided satin ribbons, tartan ribbon (representing each clan), drapery cords or silk cording.

In the Pagan tradition, a hand-fasting cord is 9 feet long. It is made up of three ribbons or cords, 3 times 3 feet long. If you will braid your cord, allow for 50% shrinkage. That means that, for a braided 9 foot cord, each strand should be 18 feet. Unbraided cords are tied with knots every 3 feet.

~ Your Vancouver Wedding Officiant ~ Roxanne Thornton ~ MarryUs 

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