Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Handfasting Ceremony

Filed under: Add-on Ceremonies,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 7:07 am

Handfasting is an ancient commitment ceremony. The term Handfasting is taken from Old Norse “hand-festa” meaning “to strike a bargain by joining hands.” It is the predecessor to the modern wedding ceremony. The ritual itself usually includes a loose binding together of the hands of the couple with a ritual cord of some kind, hence the name, which means “hand fastening.” It is also the origin of the slang phrase “to tie the knot.”

handfastingHandfasting is a symbolic ceremony to honor a couple’s desire for commitment to each other; to acknowledge that their lives and their fates are now bound together. it is the word used by the ancient Celts to describe their traditional trial-marriage ceremony, during which couples were literally bound together.

handfasting2In some cases, it may be simply ceremonial – a couple declaring their love for one another without the benefit of a state license or it can be part of a “Commitment” ceremony. For other couples, it can be tied in with a state marriage license issued usually at the local court house.

Many years ago a handfasting was not intended to be a legally binding ceremony and “traditionally” either member of the couple may choose to end the partnership at any time. The handfasting was a temporary agreement, that expired after a year and a day. However, it could be made permanent after that time, if both spouses agreed.

Originally this handfasting ceremony was part of a Wiccan or Pagan ceremony. Handfasting was also practiced by the Greeks and Romans. In centuries gone by, handfasting was also a popular custom in the British Isles. The actual term “handfasting” comes from the tradition of the bride and groom crossing arms and joining hands – basically, creating the infinity symbol (a figure-eight) with the hands. Dormant for so long, the idea of the handfasting ceremony has enjoyed a recent huge rise in popularity.

lassoToday, some couples are choosing to add the handfasting ceremony toward the end of their legal wedding ceremony.

For more information, including the Lasso Ceremony plus and an optional blessing to choose from, click here!

For other “add-on” ceremonies that make nice additions to any wedding ceremony, click here!

Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s “romantic” Wedding Ceremony. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 460 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

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  1. […] themed wedding can feature many add-on traditional ceremonies like the Loving Cup Ceremony, the Handfasting Ceremony, and more. Special blessing readings can be added. Dress up or […]


    Pingback by Have a Hauntingly Beautiful Hallowedding! | Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG — Saturday, October 4, 2014 @ 8:31 am | Reply

  2. […] the glass, blending of the sand, the rose ceremony, jumping of the broom, and Celtic and Pagan hand-fasting. Your wedding officiant should be knowledgeable of a wide variety of add-on ceremonies that will […]


    Pingback by Is There a Shortage of “Professional/Qualified” Wedding Officiants? | Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG — Tuesday, May 13, 2014 @ 3:52 pm | Reply

  3. […] your culture is another fun idea. Hispanics will often add the “Hand Fasting” or “The Lasso Ceremony” ceremony. Jewish couples like the “Breaking of the […]


    Pingback by It’s Your Wedding! You Can Do Anything You Want!! | Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG — Thursday, December 12, 2013 @ 8:17 am | Reply

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