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Planning a Handfasting Ceremony (With Helpful Resources!)

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If you’d like to include a Handfasting Ceremony in your wedding ceremony, check out this helpful guide featuring resources from American Marriage Ministries!

Planning a Handfasting Ceremony (With Helpful Resources!)

Want to incorporate a Handfasting Ceremony into your wedding rituals? Read this guide and check out the incredible resources to help you plan this unique piece of your day.

If there’s one thing we love, it’s putting the focus on the part of the wedding day that actually matters: your ceremony! After all, the whole purpose of planning a wedding is to unite you and your partner as spouses for life. And let’s be real– the ceremony is the main event!

Planning a meaningful wedding ceremony requires identifying the traditions, rituals, readings, and customs that resonate with you and your partner. One unique way to create more meaning during your wedding ceremony is to incorporate a unity ritual such as handfasting.

What is handfasting?

If you’re not familiar with this ancient Celtic ritual, allow us to explain. Handfasting is a beautiful, symbolic ritual where both partners’ hands are tied together as a symbol of joining your lives. Historically, the ritual of Handfasting is most well-known for being included in Wiccan or Pagan ceremonies, but in recent years it’s increased in popularity. The handfasting ritual is becoming more mainstream as modern couples choose to incorporate it in both religious and secular ceremonies.

Some think that the ritual is increasing in popularity because it was included in the popular HBO show Game of Thrones. It also incorporates the symbolism of “tying the knot” as it relates to a wedding.

The hand-fasting ritual can happen as part of the vows, or after the rings are placed on each of the couple’s fingers. With each wrap of the cord or ribbon, the commitment between the couple deepens. It includes a vow to respect and support one another, to grow with each other, and to offer unwavering support throughout your journey together.

How to Plan a Handfasting Ceremony

Handfasting ceremonies are a way to further personalize your overall wedding ceremony and infuse the ritual with symbolism. Here is a guide to help you begin the process of planning a traditional wedding ceremony!

Step 1: The first thing you’ll need to do is make the decision that you want to include a handfasting ceremony within your overall wedding ceremony.

Step 2: Decide who will officiate the handfasting ritual. Your wedding officiant is the obvious choice, of course. You could also incorporate a family member or beloved friend to do the honors.

Step 3: Choose any readings or a handfasting ceremony script you’d like to be shared during the ritual. The words you choose have meaning and will narrate the handfasting portion of your ceremony.

Step 4: Select a rope, ribbon, or twine to utilize to bind your hands together during the ritual.

Step 5: Include the Handfasting Ceremony in your wedding ceremony program.

Step 6: Perform the ancient Celtic Tradition during your marriage ceremony.

What Happens during the Handfasting ritual?

  1. The officiant will begin by explaining the purpose and symbolism of the ritual. They may also share a bit about the origins of the Celtic tradition.
  2. The couple joins their hands together. Couples can stand facing one another or side by side, depending on their preference. They may join the palms of their right hand together like they are shaking hands. Alternatively, they might hold hands if they are standing next to each other.
  3. The officiant will read or recite vows as part of the script. At the same time, they will wrap the couple’s hands with cord, ribbon, ties, or twine.
  4. After the binding is complete, the officiant will share a blessing of the hands. They may make an affirmation about the strength of this union or recite a prayer.
  5. The couple may exchange further vows after the hand-fasting ceremony is complete.

Handfasting Ceremony Planning Kit

The wedding ceremony experts over at American Marriage Ministries have released a unique and easy-to-use handfasting product! The new Handfasting Wedding Officiant Package will help you create this special moment (and also makes a great officiant gift!)

The Handfasting Wedding Officiant package is a curated bundle of items to help you plan all the details of your handfasting ceremony. The package includes:

Handfasting: From Ancient Rituals to Modern Ceremonies

Written and illustrated by AMM’s own Jessica Levey, this ‘how-to’ guide offers modern-day advice on performing and planning this ancient ritual. Inspired by love stories that reach far back into the misty origins of human history, and filled with whimsical illustrations, this book includes detailed sample scripts of what to say and do in a handfasting ceremony – along with an up-close look at the history, mythology, and present-day influences surrounding this Pagan rite. It also includes clear instructions on how to set up an altar, tie the ribbon, and invoke the mood (and spirits!) of the day, so that anyone can plan their very own handfasting celebration!

Navigating Your Wedding Ceremony book

With years of experience as an officiant, Officiant Amber knows exactly what goes into creating exceptional wedding ceremonies that honor couples’ unique love stories. Navigating Your Wedding Ceremony covers everything from wedding day logistics, writing your own wedding vows, various unity rituals, to how and where to meet the right wedding vendors – and more. And with its complete Wedding Day Emergency Kit Checklist, How to Change Your Name guide, and Wedding Vendor Questions guide, couples can gather and refer to vendor and budget details all in one place. Whether you’re planning your own one-of-a-kind wedding, or simply learning more about weddings and ceremony planning, this book will empower you to envision and plan a meaningful and unique celebration.

Rustic Handfasting Cord

The AMM Rustic Handfasting Cord is woven from natural hemp fiber twine in a brightly colored chevron pattern. The design celebrates the colorful history and tradition of handfasting.

The kit also includes a fragrant sprig of dried lavender to add a special touch to the ritual.

AMM Enamel Pin

This package is perfect for engaged couples looking to create a meaningful wedding ceremony as well as wedding officiants! You can purchase the package at American Marriage Ministries, along with their other products.

Does the Handfasting Ritual resonate with you?

Would you like to incorporate this ritual into your wedding ceremony to symbolize joining together in your new life? Check out the handfasting ceremony kit from American Marriage Ministries!

Buy the Kit!

Get your own handfasting ceremony kit from AMM for only $49! Makes a great gift for your wedding officiant.

About AMM

American Marriage Ministries (AMM) is a Seattle-based 501(c)3 nonprofit church and online ordination provider. AMM is dedicated to protecting marriage equality and access for all people. Through their website (theamm.org) they provide guidance, support, and resources to ensure that everyone – regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion – has access to a wedding officiant who shares their worldviews, beliefs, and values.


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