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Handfasting Ritual


You may have heard of a handfasting ceremony, you may even be considering one for your wedding day.

‘Unity ceremonies’ have become a common part of modern wedding traditions. These are ceremonies that physically represent the bonds of marriage using things like sand, water, flower, or candles. These types of ceremonies can be tracked back for a really long time, but can all be traced back to the original handfasting ceremony.

In a handfasting ceremony, couples face each other while a rope, ribbon, cord, or other binding material is used to tie their hands together. This symbolizes the union between the two people and a classic reference of “tying the knot.”

Handfasting is a symbolic ceremony to honour 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. The handfasting was a temporary agreement that expired after a year and a day. However, it could be made permanent after at that time, if both spouses agreed. Today some couples are choosing to have it be a part of their wedding ceremony.

Handfasting ceremonies can be dated back to ancient Ireland, but we saw a rise in western culture in the early 2000’s. Handfasting ceremonies have remained fairly popular given they are easy, versatile and relatively inexpensive.

Some reasons you may consider a handfasting ceremony:

  1. They add perspective and symbolism to weddings
  2. They are easy to make your own and can be tailored to each ceremony and couple
  3. Cost efficient and minimal prep work

To include a handfasting ceremony in your wedding day, you simply need yourselves, your celebrant and the material for the handfasting! This means including handfasting in your ceremony can be a great option whilst still being achievable and special!

If you’re looking for a celebrant for your special day, look no further than a Celebrants Aotearoa celebrant. With over 1,000 celebrants nationwide, our celebrants are experienced and professional and ready to make your day special.


For more information or to find your celebrant, click here.