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chelsy weisz

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Wedding Planning | Handfasting Ceremony 101

June 27, 2024

I'm the woman who transformed adversity into triumph: I left my economic development job, navigated through divorce, and built a business that realized my dreams. Blending support with strategy, I turn dreams into reality. My mission? To empower women to boldly chase their entrepreneurial ambitions every day!

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As an engagement and wedding photographer, I’ve witnessed countless beautiful ceremonies and unique wedding traditions. Now that I’m engaged and starting to plan my own wedding, I’m excited to explore and incorporate some of these special elements into our big day. One tradition we are seriously considering is a Handfasting Ceremony.

What is a Handfasting Ceremony?

Handfasting is an ancient Celtic tradition that dates back to medieval times. Originally, it was a form of betrothal or engagement in which the couple’s hands were tied together with a cord or ribbon, symbolizing their union and commitment to one another. Over time, it has evolved into a beautiful wedding ceremony ritual many couples include to signify their bond.

According to Brides, “Handfasting has its roots in ancient Celtic traditions, where it was originally a custom of trial marriage. The marriage became legal if the couple stayed together for a year and a day. In modern times, handfasting is often incorporated into wedding ceremonies as a symbolic gesture.”

How Handfasting Has Evolved

While the tradition began as a temporary union, it has become a permanent marriage symbol. Couples today often choose handfasting for its rich symbolism and the intimate, personal touch it adds to their ceremony. It’s a way to physically and visually express their vows as their hands are literally bound together, illustrating the joining of their lives.

How to Perform a Handfasting Ceremony

Performing a handfasting ceremony is quite simple and can be easily personalized. Here’s a basic outline of how it’s done:

  1. Preparation: Select a cord, ribbon, or piece of fabric. Traditionally, it’s about a yard long, but the length can vary depending on your preference.
  2. Positioning: The couple stands facing each other, holding hands.
  3. Tying the Knot: The officiant, or a chosen participant, wraps the cord around the couple’s hands, typically in a figure-eight pattern. Each loop symbolizes the infinity of their love.
  4. Vows: As the hands are bound, the couple recites their vows or special promises to each other.
  5. Sealing the Knot: The ceremony concludes with the final tying of the knot, sealing the couple’s commitment.

Personalizing Your Handfasting Ceremony

One of the beautiful aspects of handfasting is how easily it can be personalized to reflect the unique bond between the couple. You can choose different colors and types of ribbons or cords, each symbolizing different aspects of your relationship. You can also incorporate charms, flowers, or other meaningful tokens into the cord.

How We Are Personalizing Our Handfasting Ceremony

For our ceremony, we want to involve our children in the handfasting. Each child will have their own ribbon, adorned with charms and flowers that hold special meaning to our family. This not only symbolizes the union between my fiancé and me but also the blending of our families and the commitment we are making to each other’s children.

Including our kids in this way allows them to feel a part of the ceremony and signifies the importance of family unity in our marriage. Each ribbon will be a different color, representing different virtues and blessings we wish to bring into our new life together.

Why We Chose a Handfasting Ceremony

Choosing to include a handfasting ceremony in our wedding allows us to embrace a tradition that is both rich in history and deeply personal. It’s a beautiful way to visualize our commitment and involve our children in a meaningful part of the ceremony. The symbolism of our hands being bound together as we speak our vows resonates deeply with us, encapsulating the essence of our union and the merging of our families.


As we continue to plan our wedding, we are excited to explore and share more unique traditions and elements that we may incorporate into our special day. A handfasting ceremony is just the beginning of our journey to create a wedding that is truly reflective of our love and commitment. Stay tuned for more insights and updates on our wedding planning journey!

For those considering a handfasting ceremony, remember that it’s a beautiful tradition that can be customized to fit your unique story. Whether you choose to keep it simple or add personal touches, it’s a wonderful way to celebrate your love and the union of your lives.

Dreaming of capturing your wedding day with timeless elegance? Let’s make your vision a reality! Visit chelsyweisz.com/wedding to explore how we can create stunning, heartfelt memories together. Book your wedding photography with me today, and let’s start crafting those unforgettable moments!

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