Handfasting rituals have been performed in many cultures for thousands of years.
There are many ways you can include this ancient tradition in a modern ceremony.
Here are some real life examples I've included in ceremonies over the past 9 years that may give you some inspiration:
Idea 1: Rodney and Emily
Rodney and Emily have chosen to include a hand fasting ritual in their ceremony today, as a symbol of their love. The hand fasting ceremony dates back to the time of the ancient Celts. It was used to acknowledge the beginning of a trial period of a year and a day, during which time a couple were literally bound together - hand fasted…….. It was however a temporary agreement, which could be made permanent after the trial period if both parties agreed! Nowadays, the hand fasting ceremony is only used symbolically, as marriage in Australia is a lifetime commitment.
I now invite our bride’s mother, Jessica, to come forward with the ribbon, and Emily and Rodney, please face one another hold your hands, right to right, left to left – hold each other at the wrist, so you can feel one another’s pulse.
[Bind hands LOOSLEY]
Rodney and Emily, these are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever.
These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future.
These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other.
These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind and that give you strength when you need it.
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 tenderly hold your children and to help you to hold your family as one
And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch….a touch with these hands.
Rodney and Emily …..are you willing now and always to make this lifelong commitment to each other?
Rodney and Emily: We are.
Will you stand side by side for the rest of your days together?
Rodney and Emily: We will.
And as the years pass and your hands become aged and wrinkled, will you reach out and be there for one another?
Rodney and Emily: We will.
This ribbon will be stored in a special place with the knot in place as a delightful reminder of the promise and commitment Rodney and Emily have made to each other.
[Slip off ribbon with KNOT in place]
Idea 2: Sarah and Andrew (several ribbons)
Sarah and Andrew have chosen to include a hand fasting ceremony today, as a symbol of their love. The hand fasting ceremony dates back to the time of the ancient Celts. It was used to acknowledge the beginning of a trial period of a year and a day, during which time a couple were literally bound together - hand fasted…….. It was however a temporary agreement, which could be made permanent after the trial period if both parties agreed! Thankfully these days, we just sign a piece of paper one month beforehand, and the hand fasting ceremony will be used to make promises.
Five family members will be showing their love and support by coming forward and tying a ribbon for each promise.
Firstly, I’d like to invite – Andrew’s sister, Louise to please come forward to tie the first ribbon for the first promise.
“Green is to represent luck and prosperity and a promise to stand by each other in good times and bad”
I now invite Joseph. “White is for truth and devotion and a promise to find time for each other every day.”
I’d now like to invite Emily to please come forward. “Pink is for happiness and romance, and a promise to love and cherish one another forever and always.”
I now invite Josie, “Grey is to represent balance and forgiveness and a promise to work together to create a harmonious life.”
I now invite Aaron to present the final ribbon for the final promise - “Blue is to represent safe journey and strength and a promise to care for each other when life isn’t always simple.”
Sarah and Andrew …..are you willing now and always to make this lifelong, infinite commitment to each other?
Sarah and Andrew: We are / Yes
[Aaron will loop the knot and Sarah and Andrew will be able to pull it tight!]
You have created your infinity knot, symbolizing your infinite love and commitment to each other.
Idea 3: Jen and Teegs (hand fasting with vows and rings)
It is now time for the official vows and today, you will be sealing your promises with your wedding rings.
You will also be celebrating your commitment with an ancient handfasting ritual. Over the past few years, you have been collecting crystals and stones which have been woven into this ribbon, representing different moments in your life that have taken you on your path to bring you here where you are both standing right now.
Portia, darling girl, can you please bring the rings up.
[Kim to wrap the ribbon over two times with Jen and Teegs holding each end. Portia to hand Jens ring to Teegs and Teegs ring to Jen]
JEN - says her vows
TEEGS - says her vows
[Put rings on].
Then Kim to read:
Pagan Apache Blessing
Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter for the other.
Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there will be no loneliness, for each of you will be companion to the other.
Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before you.
May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead and through all the years.
May happiness be your companion and your days together be good and long upon the earth."
Jen and Teegs to pull the knot and give each other their letters.
There is a great instructional video on how to perform a seamless hand fasting ritual here.