Post # 1
so i’ve seen a few posts and information about handfasting. it seems like an amazing element to a ceremony…many “scripts” that i’ve seen are just so lovely. my question about them though is it more considered to be a non-religious element? i plan to get married in a church but i wasn’t sure if this too far away from the church. information i’ve been able to find online is that it is mainly a pagan/wiccan thing to do.
disclaimer: i’m sorry if i am totally off the mark, i am merely looking for clarification : )
Post # 3
Here you go:
“Handfasting can be part of the religious or civil wedding ceremony. The hands of the bride and groom are joined as in the familiar scene as the person officiating the ceremony asks “Who gives this woman to be wed?” and then takes her hand from her father or whoever is giving away the bride and clasps it to the hand of the groom. In olden days the priest or minister would wrap the clasped hands in the end of his stole to symbolize the trinity of marriage; man and woman joined by God. With God’s grace in time another trinity would be manifest; mother, father and child. The Celts have always been good at seeing things in threes. This symbolic binding together in marriage evolved into a the practice of wrapping the clasped hands with a cord or an embroidered cloth, usually made especially for that purpose. Handfasting in this manner is a legitimate part of a legally valid marriage, rather than a substitute for it. More articles about Handfasting“
I have also seen this done at a Church of England service. The bride was not given away, but the minister wrapped his stole around the couple’s clasped hands whilst they knelt in prayer, in order to symbolise their union.
Post # 4
@luvbug080688: I think handfasting is commonly thought of as a neo-pagan/wiccan ritual, at least in the US. My husband and I had a handfasting at our wedding (we’re not pagan) and everyone seemed to enjoy it. I made the cord out of leftover ribbon I had used for invites/decor.
Post # 5
thanks so much for your replies! they help greatly : )
Post # 6
@luvbug080688: No probs! At the wedding I went to, the priest said that this was where the term “tying the knot” comes from, and that this use of the priest’s stole has been a tradition for hundreds of years.
Post # 7
I don’t think this a completley pagan ‘thing’ at all. I decided to add it as from a Celtic veiwpoint, but I know a lot of Pagans and Wiccans use a handfasting ceremony. We are also getting married in a chapel with a priest, my family is German/Irish Catholics and Baptists, his family is Hindu and from Fiji… I don’t think anyone is going to be offended at the handfasting lol. Actually I think it’s a much better memento from your wedding than the sand or unity candles 😉 Good luck!
Post # 8
I loved the hanfasting readings too… When we discussed with our officiant he had something very similar but it was a called a Hand Blessing… the wording is almost exactly the same (these are the hands of your best friend, young, strong, and full of love for you etc…or something like that) But there’s no cord binding, you just hold each other’s hand… the groom holds one of the bride’s hand palm up and the bride holds one of the grooms hand palm up.
Post # 9
I say go for it. Doesn’t seem wrong to me. Kinda beautiful actually.
Post # 10
I really would like to do a handfasting at my ceremony in place of the unity candle or unity sand. Go for it!
Post # 11
Nowadays it’s considered a Pagan thing, and it is the/a marriage ceremony of choice for most Wiccans, but it comes from Celtic tradition, so many people with Scottish and/or Irish heritage choose to incorporate a handfasting into their ceremony.
I think it’s a beautiful ceremony and you seem to, too, so if you want it I’d absolutely say go for it! Just make sure your church is okay with it (though I would leave out the word “Pagan” and explain to them that it was developed in medieval Scotland when two people loved each other too much to wait the months or years it could be before a clergyman stopped by their village to marry them, so they’d be handfasted until then. Later, with witnesses, it was actually a legal marriage method!).
Post # 12
My mom read this passage as we did our hand fasting ceremony – it was extremely emotional and spirtual. We were holding tears the whole time. So wonderful!
Blessing of the Hands
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.
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.
These are the hands that will help you to hold your family as one.
These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it.
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.