Handfasting Ceremony: A Beautiful Wedding Tradition

Handfasting Ceremony

A wedding ceremony in any part of the world is full of traditions and meaning rituals. These rituals symbolize the love, affection, and respect of couples for each other. Some rituals also entail the unity and togetherness of the couple for the rest of their lives.

The unity ceremonies add such a meaningful touch to the whole wedding. The Handfasting Ceremony is one of the unity rituals that couples perform to bind themselves together forever.

Are you planning a wedding and looking to add a meaningful touch to your wedding ceremony? The Handfasting ceremony will light up your wedding day.

While considering to perform this ceremony a lot of questions will arise in your mind like what it is, where does it come from, how to perform this ritual, what to do, so on and so forth.

Well, you might also have many questions about the Handfasting ceremony if you just watched Game Of Thrones!

No Worries! Whether you have a wedding coming up or you just landed up here after watching Game Of Thrones, this blog is custom-made to answer all of your questions about the Handfasting Ceremony.

1. What is the meaning of Handfasting Ceremony?

The Handfasting Ceremony is an ancient ritual where the hands of the couple are tied together to symbolize their union for eternity. The hands are tied using a handfasting cord made of different materials like satin ribbon, vines, strings, etc.

The couples utter the words of commitment while tying the knot and promise togetherness to each other. This wedding custom is very spiritual and symbolizes pure lobe and union of two souls.

2. How did the Handfasting Ceremony become a tradition?

Handfasting is an ancient Celtic wedding custom that started way back in 7000 B.C. This was a ritual in the pagans. The people in ancient Ireland and Scotland performed this ceremony for engagement. The engagement would last about one year after which the couple could get married by declaring their wish to the priest.

This ceremony can be seen in many different cultures. It is performed slightly differently in cultures like Vedic Hinduism and Greek Orthodox. This ceremony was performed to declare the union of couples and show their intent to get married. Later, people started performing this ceremony right before the wedding ceremony.

In modern times, many people widely started including this ceremony in their wedding rituals and it became an event in itself. It has also been modernized by including other steps in the ritual like the exchange of vows, including family members in the cord tying, and so on.

A Handfasting ceremony, as the name suggests, involves tying the hands with cords. This gave rise to the phrase “tying the knot” which means getting married.

3. Where can you see people performing this Handfasting Ceremony?

The handfasting ceremony is seen in Ireland and Scotland since ancient times. Even other British couples around the UK perform this ceremony. Not just limited to this, many Christian weddings across the globe include this ceremony.

4. Who else can participate in the Handfasting Ceremony?

Participate in the Handfasting Ceremony

Earlier, the priest would tie the handfasting cord and bind the couple in a union. But today, family and friends also participate in this ceremony and tie the cords on the hands of the couple. This makes the whole ceremony engaging and fun.

5. How to have a Handfasting Ceremony?

The handfasting ceremony is very simple to perform. You can perform it at your engagement ceremony or your wedding ceremony. On your wedding day, follow the following steps to perform the ceremony.

Step 1: The officiant will gather everyone for the ceremony

Step 2: The officiant will explain the purpose of the ceremony and the significance it entails

Step 3: The couples will unite and join their hands in their chosen position

Step 4: The officiant starts reading the vows and ties the cord. The family and friends are also welcome to tie the cords.

Step 5: The couples exchange their promises and commitments

Step 6: The ceremony is over now the bride and groom can exchange their rings and bind in the forever bond. The cord can either be kept tied or removed then.

6. What is a HandFasting Cord?

HandFasting Cord


A handfasting cord is a piece of cloth or string used to tie the hands of the couple for the handfasting ceremony. Today, the cord is not only limited to these materials. Cords can be used in different materials, colors and sizes. The couple is free to choose the handfasting cord as fashionably as they want. The cord can be chosen such that it matches the whole wedding theme.

7. What can be used as a Handfasting Cord?

Normally a cord or ribbon is used. You can use cloth, ribbon, vines, strings, etc. as the handfasting cord. It can also be made charming by hanging feathers, shells, beads, or any sentimental item at the end.

You would find many people using a cord fully decorated with the couple’s favorite flowers. In short, the cord can get as elegant as you want it to be.

Personalize it, it’s your big day after all!

8. What should be the color of a Handfasting Cord?

The ceremony is all about the values it entails. It adds sentiment to the wedding ceremony. It might interest you that even the colors have their significance. Different colors suggest different emotions and values. Here are some examples:

White: purity, peace, soulfulness

Red: Love, attraction, fertility

Green: Health, Wealth, Prosperity

Blue: affection, patience, joy

You can also choose the color of the handfasting cord according to your wish. You can even use the color that goes with your wedding theme.

Also See: How to Live Stream Your Wedding Ceremony

9. How many cords should be tied?

You can tie as many cords as you want. Ideally, at least three cords should be used to tie the hands properly so that it stays like that longer. The length of the cord should be long enough to tie all the cords together.

10. How to tie the hands?

How to tie the hands


There is no rule for tying the hands in a particular way. You can tie one hand each by standing side by side or in facing each other. Another way to tie the hands is to tie both hands while facing each other.

The best thing is to decide by keeping comfort in mind as this ceremony could take a while. Oh! And also keeping in mind how you want your photographs to look…

11. How long should the hands be kept tied?

The ancient tradition suggests that the hands should be tied till midnight. But today, the traditions and ceremonies have evolved. Couples freely personalize their ceremonies. So you can keep your hands tied till the end of the ceremony or wedding or till the reception. When you remove the cord make sure that it is removed as it is and you do not untie it.

The Handfasting ceremony is a beautiful tradition that brings emotions and joy to the wedding. It leaves a mark on the hearts of the couple and the cords become very precious for them. Many couples also take the tied cord as a keepsake and preserve it for years.