A Handfasting Ceremony

There are many different symbolic gestures you can include in your Humanist marriage ceremony. A popular choice with couples is a handfasting.

The handfasting is where the expressions ‘Tying the knot’ and ‘Giving one’s hand in marriage’ come from.

Handfasting originates from an old pagan ritual. The bride and groom give each other their hands, and a ribbon or rope is used to bind their hands together. One end of the ribbon is given to their unbound hand and when they are asked to pull it the ribbons form a knot.

A Handfasting was still legally binding until 1939 when the new Marriage act of Scotland was passed.

Whilst no longer a legal bind, this hand fast symbolises a couple’s hopes and expectations that together they are greater than they are individually.

Handfasting Ceremony

Book Your Wedding CelebrantAt Fuze our wedding celebrants regularly use this symbolic gesture to reinforce a couples vows that, on their wedding day, they are making to each other.

For the handfasting gesture you will need ribbon, chord, lace or tartan that you can match to your colour scheme or theme.  The handfasting ribbons make a wonderful memento of your day.

Just one example of how this can be incorporated into the ceremony is where the celebrant wraps the ribbons or cords around a couple’s hands as they say their vows. When the couple are asked to step apart a knot is formed in the middle of the cords, binding their two lives together as one.

This is a great way to demonstrate your love and commitment to each other, giving you and your guests something visual and tactile to focus on. It is also a great keepsake to remind you of the best day of your life! The ribbons can be added into the brides’ bouquet or used to tie the Marriage Certificate in a scroll so it can be kept as a memento.

There are many different methods of handfasting, and each celebrant adds their individual twist.

Now I may be biased, but I would have to say that here at Fuze our celebrants are the very best of hand fasters, with their expert technique and heart-warming words; there won’t be a dry eye at your marriage ceremony!

Thank you so much to RPL Weddings for sharing this fantastic photo of Janis in action.

By Morag Webster

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