Handfasting: The Perfect Symbolic Ritual for Modern Couples
If you are looking to add a meaningful, yet visually beautiful element to your wedding ceremony, then handfasting might be just for you. This ancient symbolic ritual has been used by various cultures for centuries to unite couples in love and is where the well known phrase, “tying the knot” comes from.
Today, this elegant ritual has been given a modern glow-up with the use of personalised ribbons and ties, to add beautiful symbolism to couples’ wedding ceremonies. It also so happens to be my favourite of the symbolic rituals and let me tell you why…
But first things first – What is handfasting?
It’s a magical and delicate practice that involves tying a couple’s hands together with a cord or ribbon during their wedding ceremony. Derived from Celtic traditions, this tying of the knot (quite literally!) symbolises the couple’s commitment to each other and their union.
There are lots of different ways the ribbons can be tied, and different celebrants will have different methods of doing so. Either way, they will all result in a knot being tied and a huge cheer from your guests!
What can be used as a handfasting tie?
The possibilities are endless! You can choose from ribbons, lace, trimmings – whatever takes your fancy. Almost anything can be plaited together to make a handfasting tie. Meaning, they can be as simple, or as ornate as you please. You can also include as many colours as you like, or just choose ties to match the colour scheme of your wedding day.
Some couples will opt for ties that have sentimental meaning to them. Such as a family heirloom or a ribbon from their childhood. Climbing ropes have even been used by the adventurers out there too!
Many celebrants will be able to guide you as to where to buy ties. Some will even make their own or be able to source bespoke ones for you. Alternatively, you could ask a family member to make you one for that added level of sentiment.
So regardless of whether you like things bold and colourful, or clean and sophisticated. you can choose a tie that reflects your style perfectly.
Why is it so popular?
Not only is handfasting a unique and meaningful way to symbolise a couple’s commitment to each other, but it also allows them to involve family members in their ceremony too.
Couples can invite parents, friends, and loved ones to take part in the tying, by allowing them to tie knots or place the ribbons over the couple’s hands as a blessing. You can even have a family member or friend perform a reading or blessing whilst the ceremony is taking place.
Another reason is that it’s just so beautiful and really good fun! Who wouldn’t want to tie the knot with their soul mate? It also adds interest to your ceremony and is a real talking point after the wedding!
What do the different ribbon colours mean?
Each colour has its own meaning and symbolism, adding an additional layer of personalisation to the ceremony. Here are just a few examples:
Red: passion, love, strength, and fertility,
Blue: trust, loyalty, sincerity, and tranquillity.
Green: growth, abundance, fertility, and prosperity
Yellow: joy, happiness, optimism, and intelligence.
Orange: represents energy, creativity, success, and enthusiasm,
Purple: spirituality, intuition, wisdom, and nobility,
White: purity, clarity, innocence, and new beginnings
Black: protection, strength, and wisdom.
But you don’t have to choose colours based on these meanings! You might just have colours that you like, that mean something to you, or match the scheme of the day.
Why should we choose handfasting as a symbolic ritual?
Let’s not forget the most important part of handfasting – what it brings to the ceremony! Not only does it add a personal and spiritual touch, but it creates a moment of stillness and focus, allowing the couple to connect with each other and their guests. It’s a real wow moment that’s for sure! It’s also a completely personalisable ritual too. Whether you want something highly symbolic or you just want a pretty addition to your ceremony, it’s a mesmerising moment that will stay with you for a lifetime.
Why I love handfasting
As an avid fan of handfasting, I simply cannot recommend this beautiful symbolic ritual enough. It creates a captivating scene, that not only makes for stunning photos but also allows you to involve loved ones in your ceremony in a unique and meaningful way. But beyond that, there’s something truly special about the act of tying your hands together and making a commitment to your partner in front of your loved ones. It’s an intimate moment that will stay with you for the rest of your life, and I can’t help but feel a little bit enchanted every time I witness it.
Do you offer handfasting as part of your ceremonies?
I most certainly do! All of my couples have the option to include a handfasting ritual as part of their ceremony. You can choose to use sentimental ties of your own or we can work together to design a beautiful bespoke ribbon that you can keep forever! Either way, your handfasting will tell a story and wow your guests! If you have any questions about handfasting or would like to arrange a discovery call with me, please feel free to pop me a message, I would love to help.