What is Handfasting?

Handfasting is a symbolic way of joining a couple who are pledging their vows or making a commitment to one another. A handfasting traditionally takes place in a circle. The couple hold hands and the celebrant wraps and ties their hands with coloured ribbon. Couples may choose the colours and different colours have different meanings. Two or more colours may be plaited together to form one braid. You can choose to have a handfasting:
  • As part of your wedding ceremony following your vows and exchanging rings. This can include spiritual elements or be adapted for a secular ceremony.
  • At a renewal of your vows – sometime after your wedding or on an anniversary.
  • As a standalone ceremony to pledge your commitment to one another. This can take place at your engagement but you don’t have to be getting married. Instead you can choose to make a heartfelt and beautiful commitment using this ritual at any time, married or not.
  • As a traditional Celtic, nature centered ceremony bringing in the four elements of earth, air, fire and water symbolically. This will take place in nature within a circle and brings in the sacredness of the earth. The circle symbolizes eternity and love that has no end.
You then choose whether to handfast for:
  • A year and a day
  • As long as love lasts
  • Forever / eternity

History of Handfasting

Handfasting is from the ancient Celtic tradition where couples were bound in betrothal or marriage using the hand fasting ritual. The exact history of handfasting is unclear but it preceded the days of the church, perhaps being thousands of years old. There is also evidence that it was practiced by the ancient Greeks and by the Romans. With the advent of the Christian Church in this country, ecclesiastical rules governed marriage. Until 1753, these were not mandatory rather directions and guidance. So couples were often still ‘legitimately’ hand-fasted. 1753 saw the introduction of the Marriage Act which pretty much suppressed handfasting and brought in more stringent rules which had to be fulfilled for the marriage to be recognised as ‘legitimate’.

Hand-fasting fees (standalone)

  • For a beautiful, personalized hand-fasting ceremony the price is £295.
  • For a standard, non-personalized hand-fasting – price is £195
  • Full personalization – add £100
  • For a rehearsal – add £100
Note: For more than 1 hour travel time, travel and if applicable, accommodation expenses may also apply. You will received a personalised quote following your initial 45 – 60 minute consultation. Your Celebrant: Sam will write a ceremony that reflects your values, beliefs and personalities. For those who want a spiritual ceremony, Sam has been trained to conduct sacred ceremony calling in the forces of nature.

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