Handfasting

Your wedding day should be as unique as your relationship. Whether you choose to have a traditional wedding service or something a bit left-of-centre, I offer a range of styles crafted as a bespoke ceremony to reflect you as a couple. This description focusses on the Handfasting which can incorporate either handfasting cords or the rare ‘hoop and wand’.

 

Handfasting is an historical term for a wedding or betrothal. With roots in ancient Celtic tradition, part of the ceremony involves the couple’s hands being bound with twine or ribbons. This is where the term ‘tying the knot’ is thought to originate, although knot or cnotte was used to describe marriage or ‘the bond of wedlock.’ Some form of binding the couple’s hands is practised today in religious church marriages.

Handfastings are becoming more popular as people seek fun, meaningful and more personalised ceremonies.

I'm one of the fortunate few to have trained with the Sacred Celebrant’s Academy on the Isle of Avalon. They observe the heart of the Celtic tradition - encompassing the full meaning and advanced practise with the hoop and wand. A lot of planning goes into the ceremony so that I can conduct the Handfasting unscripted; being fully present in the moment. However, I support the couple and their contributors to prepare their vows and readings in advance. More traditional services are entirely scripted if preferred.

Some of the special elements which make a Handfasting ceremony:

  • The Handfasting is based around the four elements: Air, Fire, Water and Earth. The ceremony space is created to beautiful effect, working with you and/or your wedding planner
     

  • An enchanting ceremony both indoors and out (an indoor option is advised as backup in case of inclement weather)
     

  • Depth of meaning with opportunities to express your unique personalities and special relationship
     

  • Family members and friends can be involved, whether they choose to read, perform or support you from their seats - everyone feels included

There are limitless ways to express your love for and commitment to one another. An authentic Handfasting ceremony is the perfect way to create a magical and memorable day for you and your guests.

In addition to your Big Day, there are beautiful rituals available in preparation. You may choose to share these with friends and family as a more gentle alternative to the Stag and Hen do (although of course these can be enjoyed too). Some options for preparatory rituals and additions on the day include:

  • Incense and/or Essential Oil Blending Ceremony - an intimate experience for the couple to prepare the incense blend used at their Handfasting. You can be anointed with the oil or have this as a gift for massage and bathing. I can prepare the blends for you if you prefer
     

  • Hoop & Wand - taking the ceremony further than binding the hands, the couple spend time finding their 'wand' and dressing their willow hoop during the time preceding their ceremony. A ready-made and decorated hoop and wand can be purchased, if preferred. There are lots of options for same-sex couples such as two hoops, two wands, an infinity symbol or heart woven from willow
     

  • Hoop Dressing Ritual - a lovely way to spend time with your family or friends to prepare the hoop. Alternatively this can be done in your own time
     

  • Jumping the Broom - the classic image of the happy couple leaping into their new life together over the threshold of the broom is a great way to conclude the ceremony with a literal knees up. As with everything, the format is flexible and accessible to all
     

  • Cake and Mead Blessing - like the contemporary toasts and wedding cake, everyone is involved. You can bake or order the cake of your choosing or a traditional fruit cake can be provided. Everything can be adapted - mulled cider or wine could be an alternative for people who prefer not to use honey-based Mead
     

  • Land and Threshold Blessings - a unifying procession for the couple (and guests) blessing the land where they will marry. A short house blessing celebrating living together as a married couple is also offered - remotely or at your home

All or any part of these rituals can be adapted for use at ceremonies such as Vow Renewal or other special occasions. All materials are sourced as locally and ethically as possible.

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I have officiated weddings as a Ceremonies Officer (Deputy Superintendent Registrar) for the Registration Service.
 

Outside of the Goddess Temple in Glastonbury - and Scotland where it was already a legal ceremony - the Handfasting ceremony is not legally-binding and you must contact your local Register Office if you wish to have your vows legitimised. This may be possible on the same day and location as your Handfasting.

 

Holding the vision for Handfastings to be legally recognised by the General Register Office in the near future...

We had the most amazing time thank you. Our wedding day was absolutely perfect and I cannot

thank you enough for being there!

It made it all the more special!