Photo by Jenna Fahey-White

Handfasting… HUH?

Handfasting isn’t super common in Australia, so it’s not necessarily a term that everyone is familiar with.

Though… have you ever heard the saying ‘Tie the knot?’ Well, rumour has it that this comes from the ancient tradition of handfasting.

Handfasting is where ribbons, cords, twine, or any type of fabric, are used to bind the hands together of a couple. It’s an ancient Celtic ritual, which gained popularity within pagan and wicca ceremonies in the early 60s. However, some couples choose a handfasting purely because they like the symbolism of it, rather than there being a spiritual or historical connection.

What happens during a handfasting

The couple hold their hands together, whilst the ties are placed, either by guests or by myself, over their clasped hands. These are then loosely tied, either by myself or a guests. Whilst the tying takes place, some words are read (again… either by myself or a guest), explaining the tradition of handfasting, and why the couple have chosen to incorporate this into their ceremony.

The handfasting can take place at any point during the ceremony, but I usually place it after the exchange of rings. Once the handfasting has been completed, I ask the couple to slip their hands out of the cords, and place them on the signing table.

What types of TIES to use?

  • Coloured ribbons, either plaited or loose, and these can be chosen as the colours have meaning which resonate
  • Fabric taken from clothing such as a relatives wedding dress
  • Tartan fabric which reflects a family clan
  • Ropes, twine or string
  • Lace, knitted wool, crocheted fabric

What type of knot is used to tie?

Well, technically you can use whatever knot you would like.

I’m no sailor, plus I never went to Scouts, therefore my knotting skills are pretty limited. However, my favourite to use during a handfasting is the infinity knot (below).

Infinity Knot

It’s a reasonably basic knot, but can look pretty fancy as when the hands are released, you can frame the knot or keep it displayed somewhere in your home. Pretty neat, right?

Photo Ethereal Photography

Feel free to contact me if you’d like a Handfasting included in your ceremony.

Loves and rockets,