Handfasting

I have had a few requests for how to perform a handfasting ceremony. Below is the exact wording and actions that happened. If you have any questions, please post a comment!




Declaration of Intent. A Scottish Hand Fasting Ceremony

Officiant: Know now before you go further, that since your lives have crossed in this life, you have formed ties between each other. As you seek to enter this state of matrimony, you should strive to make this real, the ideas that give meaning to both this ceremony and the institution of marriage.

Do you still seek to enter this ceremony?

Groom and Bride: We do.

Officiant: Groom and Bride, I bid you look into each other’s eyes.

Groom, will you cause Bride pain?

Groom: Yes

Officiant: Is that your intent?

Groom: No.

Officiant: Bride, will you cause Groom pain?

Bride: Yes.

Officiant: Is that your intent?

Bride: No.

Officiant: Will you share each other’s pain, and seek to ease it?

Bride + Groom:: Yes

Officiant: And so the binding is made. Join your hands.

(Place first cord across couple’s hands)

Officiant: Bride, will you share Groom’s laughter?

Bride: Yes

Officiant: Groom, will you share Bride’s laughter?

Groom:Yes

Officiant: Will you look for the brightness in life and the positive in each other?

Groom and Bride: Yes

Officiant: And the binding is made.

(Place second cord across the couple’s hands)

Officiant: Groom, will you burden Bride?

Groom: Yes

Officiant: Is that your intent?

Groom: No

Officiant: Bride, will you burden Groom?

Bride: Yes.

Officiant: Is that your intent?

Bride: No.

Officiant: Will you share the burdens of each so that your spirits may grow in this union?

Groom and Bride: Yes

Officiant: And so the binding is made.

(Drape the third cord across the couple’s hands)

Officiant: Bride, will you share Groom’s dreams?

Bride: Yes,

Officiant: Groom, will you share Bride’s dreams?

Groom: Yes.

Officiant: Will you dream together to create new realities and hopes?

Groom and Bride: Yes

Officiant: And so the binding is made.

(Drape the fourth cord across couple’s hands.)

Officiant: Groom, will you cause Pam anger?

Groom: Yes

Officiant: Is that your intent?

Groom: No.

Officiant: Bride, will you cause Groom anger?

Bride: Yes.

Officiant: Is that your intent?

Bride: No.

Officiant: Will you take the heat of anger and use it to temper the strength of this union?

Groom and Bride: Yes.

Officiant: And so the binding is made.

(Drape the fifth cord across the couple’s hands.)

Officiant: Bride, will you honor Groom?

Bride: Yes.

Officiant: Groom, will you honor Bride?

Groom: Yes.

Officiant: Will you make every effort to keep that honor intact?

Groom and Bride: Yes

Officiant: And so the binding is made.

(Drape sixth cord across couple’s hands)

(Pick up the cords, tie them in a knot.)

Officiant: This binding ceremony reminds us how your lives are held together, not by these cords, but by your vows. For these cords may be dropped without real harm, but the making or breaking of your union depends on how you maintain the vows you have made with each other today. May you be blessed to do so.

M+D: Our Ceremony

For couples that are designing their ceremony, it can be really overwhelming as well as challenging. We spent a lot of time planning our ceremony. We opted to customize the entire ceremony to reflect us as a couple. Nothing reflected our personalities more than our ceremony. One of the ways we did that was through music.


Welcome

Since we are both big fans of street musicians, we had a saxophone player greet the guests as they arrived at the hotel. I found the musician, Mike, while I was picking up jewelry from Tiffany’s on Michigan Avenue. He was excellent!


Prelude

Since I love String Quartets, we splurged to have them play for a full half hour before the ceremony so that the guests could enjoy the musicians. As a wedding coordinator, I know that there are always those few guests that arrive early.


Our fabulous string quartet, Accolade Musicians

Just as I had anticipated, there were some early guests.



Bridal Party Processional

The first bridesmaid heads down the aisle. It was exactly as I had envisioned.


Bridal Processional

My song choice was absolutely perfect. I love this song even more when performed by a string quartet. I’m very happy with our decision to use non-traditional songs. Everytime I hear it on the radio, I think of walking down the aisle.


Welcome

The guests were greeted by our Officiant. Bridget is a friend of ours that we had ordained online.

Bride’s Reading

I chose “I Carry Your Heart” by ee cummings. It was read by my oldest neice, Ashlynn. When I was in the early stages of wedding planning, we sat in Border’s reading wedding magazines. I mentioned that it was my favorite poem, and she told me that it was hers too. I couldn’t have been more pleased that my once shy neice read our favorite poem.



Scottish Handfasting

As I have mentioned in a previous post, we opted to have a Scottish Handfasting during our ceremony. We included a detailed explanation in our programs.

Groom’s Reading

Love sonnet xvii by Pablo Neruda was chosen by Denton. Part of the reason that he chose the poem, other than enjoying it very much, was that we visit Pablo Neruda’s home in Santiago, Chile. It seemed fitting for the occasion. Denton chose his former roommate and fraternity brother as his reader.

Exchange of Wedding Vows

As I had mentioned in a previous post, we wrote our own vows. It was important for us to express how we really felt. My husband’s vows were so much better than mine!



Exchange of the Rings



Pronouncement of the Couple

It was the most romantic kiss.


Recessional


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I will follow up with the details tomorrow.

Tying the Knot – Scottish Handfasting

My FI and I wanted to incorporate traditions into our ceremony. Since he is Scottish, we have decided to do a handfasting during the ceremony.

Ever wondered where the term “Tie the Knot” came from? Handfasting!

History of Handfasting:

The very word Handfasting derived its origin from the wedding custom of tying or hitching the bride and groom’s hands or actually their wrists together, as a symbol to their clan, tribe or village of their decision to be bound together in family living. The traditional length of time was a year and a day, or 13 moon cycles. If the marriage proved to last over this period of time, then the vows would be renewed for a life time or they renewed them for “as long as love shall last”.

My fiance and I will agree to a set of commitments and then our hands will be fasted with the Cunningham tartan.

We considered the idea of having him wear a kilt. Instead, he is going to buy a tux. It seems much more practical to buy a piece of formal wear that he can rewear.

Has anyone ever seen a Scottish handfasting ceremony? I have not but am excited to participate in the tradition.