Handfasting Ceremony

What is Handfasting?

Handfasting as an ancient symbolic ritual traditionally used in Celtic and other cultures to express marriage. It is non-religion-specific, meaning it can be used by people of all faiths to show their commitment. Handfasting is said to have originated with the ancient Celtic culture. With the peasant class, a Handfasting was often used because the couple was not wealthy enough to require a wedding. Nor did they need a wedding as there usually was no dowry to arrange for.

The custom is that while facing each other, the couple placed their right hands together and then their left hands together to form an infinity symbol while a cord is tied around their hands in a knot. Another custom is that the man and woman place their right hands only together while a cord is used to tie a knot around their wrists. This custom is thought to be the origin of the term “tying the knot”


Red - will, love, strength, fertility, courage, health, vigor, passion

Orange - encouragement, adaptability, stimulation, attraction, plenty, kindness.

Yellow - attraction, charm, confidence, balance, harmony

Green - fertility, luck, prosperity, nurturing, beauty, health, love

Dark Blue -for a safe journey, longevity & strength

Light Blue - tranquility, understanding, patience, health

Purple - healing, health, strength, power, progress

Black - strength, empowerment, wisdom/vision, success, pure love

White - spiritual purity, truth, peace, serenity and devotion

Pink - love, unity, honor, truth, romance, happiness

Copper - for healing , skills & talent, nurturing, home & hearth, the earth.

Silver - for creativity, inspiration & vision, and protection.

Gold - for unity, longevity, prosperity, strength.


The cord is typically left tied after the ceremony and then displayed in the home. It's sure to be a beautiful item.



How to make handfasting cords


There is no right or wrong way to make handfasting cords, and they can be as elaborate or simple as you want them to be. It really comes down to what you want to represent yourselves, or what is easiest for you.


The only time the cords are to be dismantled/unknotted is in the case of a hand parting, so please remember that anything you use to decorate your cord is to remain with it for as long as you are bound to each other.


Your cord should be long enough to loop over both wrists as well as being able to make the knots.


We've read that if you are using a single cord, that a generic rule of length is ideally no less than 6 feet.

Again, it's up to you.


Pick out your ribbons separately,  You can chose to use three ribbons for your cords, or you can use how many you feel is right for you. Here we will use doubled-sided satin ribbons that were purchased at Michael's. You could also use drapery cording, silk cording, decorative ribbon and even parts of a couple's wedding attire. You can embroider them, print/paint them, etc.


I had some O rings lying about in my tool caddy. (I tend to buy in excess a variety of 'things' when working on projects. It saves me from having to run on multiple errands or paying for multiple packages to be shipped. Eventually I find something that will work.)


Tie the ends of the ribbons to the O rings, slipped it over a hook and attached it to something stable. Braid the cord to each of the lengths. When you  get to the end of each cord, tie it off with enough length left to attach the tassels.




I purchased new beads and incorporated a couple that were in my bead box. The copper wire and beads represent  love for building the Tiger's Eye is for protection and the others have their special purpose.


Make a largish loop at the top and then begin to slide the beads/what-nots until the desired length is reached. You can add charms at the end and loop the wire, and wrapped the end around a few times before cutting.  Attach the tassels to the extra length at each end of the cords.




We chose two sterling charms each for our cords. There are several sites where you can buy the charms (ArtBeads.com, BlueMud.com, FireMountainGems.com) or (you can purchase them at Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Target, Wal Mart  or any jewelry store}.


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