Handfasting: A Beautiful Unity Ceremony


When it comes to weddings, couples often seek unique and meaningful ways to celebrate their love and commitment. One such beautiful and ancient tradition is handfasting. Originating from Celtic roots, handfasting is a ritual that symbolizes unity and connection. In this guide, we’ll explore the history, significance, and how-to of handfasting ceremonies.

What is Handfasting?

Handfasting is a Celtic wedding ritual where a couple’s hands are bound together with cords or ribbons. The act of “tying the knot” represents their bond and commitment to each other. While it was originally an engagement ritual, today, it is commonly performed during weddings to symbolize love and unity.

The History Behind Handfasting

In ancient times, handfasting served as an engagement ceremony. When a couple decided to marry, they participated in a handfasting ritual with a priest. This signified their engagement, which typically lasted for one year. After that year, the couple returned to the priest to declare whether they would marry or separate. Over time, handfasting evolved into a wedding tradition, resonating with people of various backgrounds.

How Does a Handfasting Ceremony Work?

During a handfasting ceremony:

1. Explanation: The officiant begins by explaining the purpose of the ritual.

2. Joining Hands: The couple faces each other, joining hands. They can place their hands into each other’s, stack them, or intertwine them—whatever feels right to them.

3. Vows and Binding: As the officiant reads the vows, they wrap cords or ribbons around the couple’s hands. The physical act of binding symbolizes their commitment.

4. Symbolism: The officiant further explains the symbolism behind the binding.

5. Additional Vows: While bound together, the couple may exchange additional vows.

Personalizing Your Handfasting Ceremony –

Involving Loved Ones: Many couples choose to involve family members or friends. For example, you could give different people different cords or ribbons to tie, creatively including your loved ones.

Timing: The handfasting ceremony can take place at any point during the wedding, but it’s often done right before the ring exchange.


Handfasting is a beautiful way to celebrate love, commitment, and unity. Whether you’re drawn to its historical roots or simply appreciate the symbolism, consider incorporating this ancient tradition into your wedding day.

As you tie the knot—both literally and metaphorically—you’ll create a lasting memory that reflects the strength of your relationship.  Remember, love is not only about the destination but also about the journey—the intertwining of two souls, bound together by the threads of time and devotion.

Forever, Together have performed hundreds of handfastings over the years, and we invite you to include this popular and elegant tradition in your wedding ceremony at no additional charge.

“May your hands be forever joined, and your hearts forever entwined.”