What is a Handfasting?
This ritual is a beautiful, magical rite of passage found in many cultures. It is sometimes described as an ancient Celtic custom where a couple made a binding union for a year and a day. It was like a betrothal ceremony or a trial marriage which gave the couple the chance to see if they could make a partnership. After a year and a day the couple could either split as if they had never been married or could decide to enter permanently into marriage.
You may choose to include a handfasting as a part of your wedding ceremony or to have a full Celtic handfasting ceremony making a commitment for "as long as love shall last." Each handfasting ceremony is tailor-made to suit the couple so you can have it just as you please!
There are many variations of the traditional handfasting but all include the bride and groom declaring their intent to enter into this union and then their hands are joined and fastened together with a cord. They 'tie the knot' and then make their vows. The wrapping of the cord forms an infinity symbol representing oneness between the couple.
The handfasting ritual can be incorporated into any wedding ceremony, just as can the ring exchange. It is not a legal ceremony so if you want to be married in the eyes of the law you still need to go to the Registry Office for completing the paperwork.
Usually you would do this before the handfasting or a year and a day later!
You can decide on the number and type strands for your handfasting cords using different colours and textures to suit you. You can make your own or I can make them for you. Traditionally handfasting cords are made of 3 cords: white for purity (or a "clean slate"), blue for fidelity, and red for passion. However, you may choose other colours that you feel match your intent. For instance you may love pink and be using it as one of your wedding colours. It would be perfect to use in the cords too as pink symbolizes love. Or you can use a green cord which symbolises fertility and growth. You may prefer purple which symbolises spiritual strength.
At last same-sex marriage has become legal and I am really happy to celebrate these unions and civil partnerships too. I am happy to conduct Celtic handfastings in any venue or anywhere out of doors including in stone circles, off-the-beaten track and less well-known places.
Getting married is one of the biggest changes in life you can make. And it’s not something you plan on ever doing again! You're marrying for the future and that’s what makes your wedding such a significant event.You want your wedding or civil partnership ceremony to be as special and unique as you are. My role is to make sure that happens!
You probably want a more personal ceremony than is offered by Registry Office and prefer not to use the Church. As a professional celebrant I can create a more personal event which includes whatever religion or spiritual content you require - or none at all! I can work with you to write an individual, bespoke ceremony tailored totally for you to celebrate your relationship and your love.
We can meet as soon as you like to start preparing the Ceremony so that I can get to know you and your desires for the day as well as your beliefs and values. Your Wedding Ceremony will reflect your desires without the restriction of registry office or church.
Each Wedding ceremony script is written from scratch, with elements and ideas drawn from you, as well as any symbolism you’d like to include. For example – a hand-fasting or the lighting of a unity candle. As I am independent, I am free to include religious prayer, hymns or other symbolic aspects that may be important in your life. The script develops over time and is not finalised until you are totally happy.
To be legally married in England and Wales, you still have to complete the basic legal requirements of marriage in front of a Registrar at a suitably licensed venue. This legal Marriage Registration part of the wedding takes place separately, probably a few days before the wedding day. This is just like registering a birth followed by a christening. Once the necessary legalities are completed, a Wedding Celebration can be held anywhere - you’re not tied to licensed venues - and at any time.
You can use traditional vows or write your own. You can pick your own words for when you exchange rings and choose your own readings, poems and music rather then being given a list to choose from. The whole structure and content of your wedding will be designed around the two of you. So you’ll have a ceremony that perfectly fits you as a couple - that’s how personal it is
You have the same options if you choose to renew your vows. You may have a precious anniversary coming up. You may not have had the wedding of your dreams first time around. Or you might simply be a romantic at heart!
You might have married overseas and want to have a ceremony locally so that all your friends and family can share the day with you.
There are many beautiful wedding venues from stately homes or grand hotels to simple guest houses and family homes. You can use any venue (whether it has a civil licence or not) for a Celebrant-led Wedding.
Recently there has been a trend towards weddings held completely outdoors, either in private gardens, meadows or woodland. Weddings hosted in marquees, yurts and tepees are becoming very popular and are the perfect solution for a relaxed atmosphere.
I am happy to fit in with whatever style of wedding you envisage – whether this is outdoors under an oak tree, or in the grand surroundings of a stately home – all my ceremonies are unique, meaningful and above all, personal.