There are many definitions of the term ‘handfasting’ so it’s impossible to find one that everyone will agree with. I use it to describe a marriage rite between two people who wish to make a public commitment to each other in a way that is meaningful to them.
It’s important to note that no-one can be absolutely certain about the origins of handfasting because the keeping of official records is a relatively new concept in the history of humankind. I believe the term derives from the Old Norse words “hand-festa” meaning to “strike a bargain by joining hands”. This then morphed into the practice of ceremonially binding a bride and groom’s hands together (hence the expression ‘tying the knot’). Before the 16th century, formally
sanctioned marriages were for royalty and wealthy people – it was more concerned with merging the money, possessions, property and hereditary titles of powerful families and with producing their legitimate heirs than it was with ‘romantic love’. Historically, all that was required for the common masses to form an alliance was for a couple to make promises to each other – it wasn’t even necessary to do so publicly but witnesses came in handy if ever proof was needed.
Nowadays, many couples are shunning the traditional church or register office ceremonies because there’s very little focus on the couple themselves. If you want a ceremony that is personal to you and your religious beliefs (if you have any), then I can help you create a ritual teeming with significance so you truly have a day to remember.
The first handfastings were Pagan rituals but it has now been incorporated into the Church of England wedding service (as can be seen in the photo of Prince William and Kate Middleton at their wedding).
Handfasting is still very common within the Pagan community and I have conducted many such ceremonies over many years.
Couples with opposing/differing views on religion needn’t be condemned to a soulless civil wedding service when they could have a handfasting ceremony that is tailored to meet the needs of both of them. And many non-religious couples also want to demonstrate their dedication to each other with a significant ceremony.
If you are looking for a commitment ceremony full of meaning and symbolism; one that can be held in virtually any setting you choose (indoors or outdoors), please CONTACT me to discuss and I will be pleased to help. After an initial meeting to find out your requirements, I will compose and conduct the ceremony but I encourage friends and family to participate if they’re willing. To find out more about me, please click HERE. To read what others think of my services, please click HERE.