Celtic Handfasting Wedding Ceremony

 

Handfasting originated among the Celtic people of what is today the United Kingdom. It was widely practiced throughout the Roman Empire for most of its existence, and as Christianity grew in popularity throughout Europe the ceremony was sometimes supplanted by the ceremony we are more familiar with today. (Ceremony can be included with Full-Service Classic Packages only. NOT offered for Elopement Packages)

 

Greeting / Welcoming Words

BRIDE and GROOM, 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 real, the ideals which give meaning to both this ceremony and the institution of marriage.

 

With full awareness, know that within this circle you are not only declaring your intent to be handfasted before your friends and family, but you speak that intent also to your creative higher powers. The promises made today and the ties that are bound here greatly strengthen your union; they will cross the years and lives of each soul’s growth.

 

Do you still seek to enter this ceremony? (Yes, we seek to enter)

 

In times past it was believed that the human soul shared characteristics with all things divine. It is this belief which assigned virtues to the cardinal directions; East, South, West and North. It is in this tradition that a blessing is offered in support of this ceremony.

 

Handfasting Chord

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the East. Communication of the heart, mind, and body. Fresh beginnings with the rising of each Sun. The knowledge of the growth found in the sharing of silences.

 

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the South. Warmth of hearth and home. The heat of the heart’s passion. The light created by both. To lighten the darkest of times.

 

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the West. The deep commitments of the lake. The swift excitement of the river. The refreshing cleansing of the rain. The all encompassing passion of the sea.

 

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the North. Firm foundation on which to build. Fertility of the fields to enrich your lives. A stable home to which you may always return.

 

Each of these blessings from the four cardinal directions emphasizes those things which will help you build a happy and successful union. Yet they are only tools. Tools which you must use together in order to create what you seek in this union.

 

I bid you look into each others eyes.

 

GROOM, will you cause her pain? (I may)

 

Is that your intent? (No)

 

BRIDE, will you cause him pain? (I may)

 

Is that your intent? (No)

 

BRIDE and GROOM, will you share each other’s pain and seek to ease it? (Yes)

 

And so the binding is made. Join your hands. (First cord is draped across the couple’s hands)

 

BRIDE, will you share his laughter? (Yes)

 

GROOM, will you share her laughter? (Yes)

 

BRIDE and GROOM, will both of you look for the brightness in life and the positive in each other? (Yes)

 

And so the binding is made. (Second cord is draped across the couple’s hands)

 

BRIDE, will you burden him? (I may)

 

Is that your intent? (No)

 

GROOM, will you burden her? (I may)

 

Is that your intent? (No)

 

BRIDE and GROOM, will you share the burdens of each so that your spirits may grow in this union? (Yes)

 

And so the binding is made. (Drape third cord across the couple’s hands)

 

BRIDE, will you share his dreams? (Yes)

 

GROOM, will you share her dreams? (Yes)

 

BRIDE and GROOM, will you dream together to create new realities and hopes? (Yes)

 

And so the binding is made. (Drape fourth cord across the couple’s hands)

 

GROOM, will you cause her anger? (I may)

 

Is that your intent? (No)

 

BRIDE, will you cause him anger? (I may)

 

Is that your intent? (No)

 

BRIDE and GROOM, will you take the heat of anger and use it to temper the strength of this union? (We will)

 

And so the binding is made. (Drape fifth cord across the couple’s hands)

 

BRIDE, will you honor him? (I will)

 

GROOM, will you honor her? (I will)

 

BRIDE and GROOM, will you seek to never give cause to break that honor? (We shall never do so)

 

And so the binding is made. (Drape sixth cord across the couple’s hands)

 

Tie cords together while saying: BRIDE and GROOM, the knots of this binding are not formed by these chords but instead by your vows. Either of you may drop the chords, for as always, you hold in your own hands the making or breaking of this union.

 

Chords are tied together, removed and placed on the altar.

 

Pronouncement as Husband and Wife

Before me stands a bride and groom who have joined their souls together in wedlock by tying the knot.

 

In doing so, they have chosen to provide companionship, love and support to each other during both the happy and difficult moments of life and marriage. They have declared their perpetual love to each other before the witnesses assembled here and before the Divine. They have also demonstrated their solemn love for each other by joining their hands and tying the knot as they prepare to walk through life together.

 

In witness of your love and the commitment you have made, and according to the laws of the State of California, it is now my pleasure to introduce you to those present here as husband and wife.

 

You may now kiss the Bride.

 

I am very happy to introduce, for the first time as a married couple, GROOM AND BRIDE, husband and wife!

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