Handfasting Ceremony?

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Jemma21 Posts : 443 Registered: 12/22/06
Handfasting Ceremony?
Posted: May 23, 2007 3:19 PM

Does anyone have a script of what is said during the handfasting ceremony?  Is anyone else doing this?   We are spiritual but not religious, so we want a non-demoninational ceremony.  But we also don't want it to be too bland and we want it to be romantic.  Our officiant happens to be Wiccan so she does this alot, but we're not Wiccan and most of our guests aren't either.   I don't want to get too elaborate with it, just maybe have her say a few words about what the ceremony is, since most of the people there probably never heard of it.  Would doing this along with a unity candle ceremony be redundant?

Any thoughts?


jojolina Posts : 897 Registered: 2/28/07
Re: Handfasting Ceremony?
Posted: May 23, 2007 3:27 PM Go to message in response to: Jemma21

how does your family feel about a wiccan ceremony?  i know mine just plain wouldn't come.

here is something i came across when i was searching for a rose ceremony


hope that helps.




Jemma21 Posts : 443 Registered: 12/22/06
Re: Handfasting Ceremony?
Posted: May 23, 2007 4:11 PM Go to message in response to: jojolina

Well they know I'm not an organized religion type of person, and neither is FH.  We have quite the mix going on.  He was raised by his Catholic mother but doesn't practice, and his father is Jewish but he doesn't follow that either. My family has been Lutheran through the years, but with my mom's generation they've kind of branched out to do their own thing. My immediate family is pretty open-minded, but I do have an uncle who is an ultra-conservative Southern Baptist minister...YIKES! But if anyone does have an issue, I don't think they'd be crude enough to bring it up at the wedding.   Like I said, we aren't Wiccan, but my spiritual feelings definitely lean to the New Agey side of things.  We found our officiant thru my stepmom.  This lady is a friend of hers and performed my half sister's wedding ceremony, in which I was a bridesmaid.  So I have seen her in action and she's fine by me. 

Oh, I should also mention that we're leaving out alot the stuff about the four elements, being performed by a priest of priestess, things that are blatantly Wiccan.  We want to say a little blurb about the history of it, that it was an ancient Celtic tradition...stuff like that. 

Message was edited by Jemma21 on May 23, 2007 4:12 PM

Re: Handfasting Ceremony?
Posted: May 23, 2007 4:43 PM Go to message in response to: Jemma21




Above are three different sites that should be able to help you. Handfasting ceremonies are a beautiful Pagan/Celtic tradition. Although most people associate Witchcraft and Wicca to the tradition that is not always the case. It has been a Celtic Tradition for quite sometime. 

And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. 


thebigcheese Posts : 155 Registered: 4/2/07
Re: Handfasting Ceremony?
Posted: May 24, 2007 9:54 AM Go to message in response to: jojolina

jojolina, it doesn't matter what her family thinks.  It's her wedding and she and her fiance need to do whatever is meaningful to them.

Anyway, you can go to kvetch.indiebride.com and do a search for handfasting- there are lots of sample ceremonies.

Re: Handfasting Ceremony?
Posted: Jun 8, 2007 12:58 PM Go to message in response to: Jemma21

Hi Jemma, congratulations!

Ok, well, I'm very Wiccan (not in the fluffybunny wearing crystals and walking in a cloud of incense way, but in the faith and study of clergy way) while my FH isn't all that religious.  Luckily for me, his mom is a Green Witch.  However, my family is pretty darned Christian and I come from a fairly conservative suburb, so I'm toning it down.  Actually, I want it toned down.  Weddings aren't all about ritual- it's about expressing your love and commitment in a way that's meaningful to you.

So, as a Priestess, here's my advice: ask your officiant for copies of handfastings she's done before (there is no set in stone handfasting ceremony, just as there's almost nothing se in stone about our religion). Then tweak, Tweak, TWEAK.  It's all about the two of you.  Personally, I'm doing a handfasting that is pretty close in format to the traditional weddings we see everyday.  If you don't want circle cast, don't. If you do, I really suggest that your officiant cast first (and if you want elements called, also do that, even before your guest arrive/are admitted) and that she then cut a doorway and let people in.  Then she's greeting too.  If this is too much Wicca-speak, my apologies.


Some beautiful things have been written over the past, oh, say, four millenia that can help express what your want said if your own words can't do it for you. One of the most beautiful passages about love ever written I think does in fact come from the old testament: "And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, and to return from following after thee, for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God; where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: God do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me."  From the Book of Ruth 1:16-17. Ruth means compassion in ancient Hebrew. This was actually said by Ruth to her mother-in-law, but it speaks so much of love and commitment. My FH will read this off a tattoo that I have, and we found wedding bands with the first part at my favorite jeweler's, James Avery (a Texas Institution in jewelry).

Any quote you use, please do a modicum of research.


Lastly, wow this is a long post, there was a great spread on programs in one of the major bridal mags a few months back that had lovely examples of "explanation sections" for various traditions including breaking the glass in a Jewish ceremony, and jumping the broom (which isn't just an African American custom, it was used in Wales and Scotland until the last century to signify a union too).  I'll try to find it when I get home and let you know the info.


Oh I almost forgot- If he's Irish or Scots, handfasting strips of his clans tartan are easy to find online.  If not, a yard or yard-and-a-half long strip of fabric in your wedding color palette would work beautifully and would look great embroidered with your date, or names, or what have you. Many couples hold their hands right-and-left or left-and-right for the fasting. Personally I recommend left-to-left; people wear their wedding bands on their left hand for a symbolic reason of being closer to the heart and so too can your fasting follow this. Also a personal preference of mine is actually to grasp each other's arm just above the wrist rather than hold hands as this gesture has a long standing meaning of the meeting of equals (When I told my FH about this he almost cried he thought it was so beautiful). This posture of left-left will make lovely photos for your recessional since he'll have to put his hand on your lover back to escort you down the aisle.  Teehee.


Ok, that was probably too much info.  Again, congrats! Please let me know if you have any questions.  Check out Handfasting & Wedding Rituals: Welcoming Hera's Blessing by Raven Kaldera and Tannin Schwartzstein and  Handfasted And Heartjoined: Rituals for Uniting a Couple's Hearts and Lives by Lady Maeve Rhea



Jemma21 Posts : 443 Registered: 12/22/06
Re: Handfasting Ceremony?
Posted: Jun 8, 2007 2:58 PM Go to message in response to: Guest

Wow...thanks for all that!  I am allllll about the tweaking!  I am very particular about the words in the ceremony.  I want a ceremony that is unique and meaningful to us in every way.  I have been looking at alot of vow sites and have cut and pasted this and that, to come up with a "script" that we both love.  I'm really big on there being no mention of "til death do us part", that's a big no-no for me.  We are having two readings-Shakepeare's Sonnet 116 and the Apache Wedding Blessing.  We are also going to do the unity candle with a brief explanation about what it is, then during the actual lighting we will be playing the song "In My Life" by the Beatles.  I have a preliminary copy of the ceremony...but it might be too long to post here. 

I would love to see that program spread you were talking about.  Thanks again!!!


xNikkiHeartsMikex Posts : 341 Registered: 2/19/07
Re: Handfasting Ceremony?
Posted: Jun 8, 2007 11:08 PM Go to message in response to: Jemma21

Handfastings are only recently associated with Wicca. In fact similar rituals go back to Druidic/Celtic times in Scotland, Ireland, and England. There are tons of similarities between a handfasting (the actual ritual of a couple binding their hands together) and a candle, rose, or sand ceremony that many couples also opt for. Either way it's a good spiritual metaphor.

So far as someone not going to one because they personally associate it with Wicca, screw them. Even if they disagree with Wicca at it's heart a handfasting is a symbolic metaphor for your love and future lifes together and is no more un-blessed or whatever than a unity candle.

Anyway, other people have given you better advice than I could on the actual ceremony itself. Hope it all goes okay. 



newsjunkie Posts : 3,417 Registered: 3/30/06
Re: Handfasting Ceremony?
Posted: Jun 13, 2007 11:43 PM Go to message in response to: Jemma21

I, personally, think handfastings are a lovely ceremony and was considering doing it for our wedding as DH and I are not religious and weren't really into unity candles, the sand thing, or rose ceremonies but wanted a ceremony that lasted longer than 2 minutes.  However, my mother pointed out that with our loud and lively guest list (on our side anyway) who still tease me about things I did when I was 10 (!) will be making bondage jokes FOREVER.  We decided to skip it (that wasn't the whole reason but it was a part of it) because we thought it would be next to impossible for our crowd to get it (in addition to the loud and livelies we had a number of VERY religious people who would definitely not get it and would probably be offended... silly, I know) and had a very nice ceremony anyway.  I'm not telling you not to do it, just want to make sure that if you do you explain it to your guests ahead of time!


Jemma21 Posts : 443 Registered: 12/22/06
Re: Handfasting Ceremony?
Posted: Jun 14, 2007 8:13 AM Go to message in response to: newsjunkie

I've been tweaking the wording for a handfasting ceremony and I think this will work.  It gives a brief backround without getting too far into depth.  FH and I are not big fans of organized religion, and we will have all faiths at our ceremony.  Alot of his co-workers are Hindu, and we will have Lutherans, Catholics, Wiccans, and a few Baptists.  My uncle is a Baptist minister and will probably have issues, but he wouldn't say anything at the wedding.  Frankly if someone is VERY religious to the point where they become close-minded to other things/cultures, if they don't like it they can leave. 

Well let me know what you think...I know it's long..sorry! 

Handfasting Ceremony  Jaime and Paul have chosen to incorporate the custom of Handfasting into their wedding ceremony today. Handfasting is an ancient Celtic custom, especially common in Ireland and Scotland, in which a man and woman came together at the start of their marriage relationship to declare of their own free will that they intended to marry. While facing each other, Jaime and Paul will place their right hands together and then their left hands together to form an infinity symbol while a cloth is tied around their hands in a knot. This is where the term “tie the knot” came from.

Jaime and Paul, know now before you go further,
that since your paths have crossed in this life,
you have formed eternal and sacred bonds.
As you seek to enter this state of matrimony you should strive to make real the ideals that to you, give meaning to this ceremony and to 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 and will cross the years and lives of each soul's growth.

Do you still seek to enter this ceremony? (Yes)

Jaime and Paul, I bid you look into each others eyes.Will you honor and respect one another, and seek to never break that honor?We will the first cord is draped over the couples' hands
And so the first binding is made.

Will you share each other's pain and seek to ease it?
We will Second cord is draped over the hands
And so the binding is made

Will you share the burdens of each so that your spirits may grow in this union?
We will third cord is draped over the couples' hands
And so the binding is made.

Will you share each other's laughter, and look for the brightness in life and the positive in each other?
We will. Fourth cord is draped over the couples' hands
And so the binding is made.
Tie cords together

Jaime and Paul, as your hands are bound together now,
so your lives and spirits are joined in a union of love and trust.
Above you are the stars and below you is the earth.
Like the stars, your love should be a constant source of light,
and like the earth, a firm foundation from which to grow. 

Re: Handfasting Ceremony?
Posted: Jun 15, 2007 12:27 AM Go to message in response to: Jemma21

Hi, we are having a handfasting, and before we even approached the priestess we talked about what we both wanted to express, what would make us uncomfortable (he didn't want to have to recite a lot, i'm not a fan of long and flowery ceremonies) and what was important to us.  Then we went to the priestess, told her what we wanted...and she gave us a binder full of handfasting rituals she had performed...we choose what felt right, and added a few things to personalize it, for example, we added the part about jumping the broom because it is important symbolism to me...we are actually making and decorating our own broom which is something i am excited to do...there are quite a few resources on-line as far as ceremonies, and its your wedding, you can take bits and pieces from rituals you like and add them to make something perfect!


carebearny1999 Posts : 1,253 Registered: 9/21/07
Re: Handfasting Ceremony?
Posted: Sep 22, 2007 10:12 PM Go to message in response to: Jemma21

None of my family know that it's a non-demoninational ceremony--I hope they don't notice!  We're doing a handfasting and our officiant is great--she talks about how it's where the phrase "tying the knot" came from and what the different colors mean...

http://home.rochester.rr.com/weddingminister/prod02.htm  is her site, to give you some ideas...


WaterySylph Posts : 208 Registered: 3/5/07
Re: Handfasting Ceremony?
Posted: Sep 26, 2007 2:10 PM Go to message in response to: carebearny1999

Ahhh man! I thought I had my Handfasting ceremony all figured out and you ladies have given me more ideas! NOOO! Kidding, kidding. OP thanks for making this thread. I feel better knowing that multiple people are doing a Handfasting ceremony. Especially since my family is super Christian(not sure how that's going to go over). But at least his family thinks it's awesome. :D




"If you live to be one hundred years old, I want to live to be one hundred minus a day, so I never have to live one day without you. - Pooh


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