|Handfasting: Susan and Tom's wedding at Pomme at Radnor. Emily Wren Photography|
Historically, handfastings were used as people entered into relationships of all different lengths— “a year and day”, “a lifetime”, “for as long as love should last”, or ”for all of eternity”. Most of my couples have the intention for their bond to be one that lasts forever, or at least a lifetime, so I choose language to support more permanent hopes for the future.
Because it’s traditionally a ritual to support the declared intent of the couple entering into the marriage, usually (but not all the time) I place the handfasting in the ceremony right before the “I dos”. The “I do’s” in today’s modern ceremony is the part where the couple consents to the marital relationship understood by local civil laws. The couple would remain fasted together through this section and often up until they exchange rings.
Handfasting is quickly becoming the most requested element in the ceremonies I create with my couples. People are drawn to it, because it can and has been adapted by many cultures and faiths. And because of the universal nature of this ritual, and easy to understand symbolism, many couples delight in expressing their own individuality and style through handfasting.
How it works: The couple faces each other and holds hands so that their arms form a figure eight...“for all eternity”
Something of significance is wrapped around their clasped hands and tied into a knot.
|Bianca and Matt used an heirloom double rosary for their handfasting at the Scranton Hilton, Christina Zen Photography|
|Amanda and Tim promise each other "forever" at Philadelphia's Fairmount Park Horticultural Center. Peter Van Beever Photography|
|Tim and Amanda's beautiful and elegant handfasting garland was made as gift from the bride's sister, Caitlin. I was so impressed with this garland, I asked Caitlin if she would consider making handfasting garlands for other couples too. She's since created an online shop on Etsy etsy.com/shop/TieThatKnot Peter Van Beever Photography|
|Ying-Lee and Chad are bond together with ivy and beautiful gold ribbons. Ivy, the symbol of fidelity was just the perfect touch for this kismet couple. Terrain at Styers wedding at the Temple. Oleander Florals. We Laugh We Love Photography.|
|As each honored family member placed their braided handfasting ribbon cord over Branden and Carly's clasped hands, they said aloud the gift or skill that they wanted to bless the couple with. Heather Fowler Photography.|
|Moonstone Manor. Harper Parker Photography|
|Moonstone Manor, Harper Parker Photography.|
|Nikki and Sue were married on the North Shore of Maui, and in Hawaii the handfasting is done with a maile lei. Here's an example of a time where the handfasting was placed later in the ceremony. Kaua Photography|
|A bonus to placing a handfasting after the ring exchange (and toward the end of a ceremony) is that the regal green living garland (or lei) can be a part of the first kiss and recessional. Kaua Photography|