Information on handfasting ceremonies

Are you interested in having a handfasting ceremony?

Have you been to a ceremony which has included a handfasting?

Perhaps you are wondering what is a handfasting?

Now possibly the most requested ritual in celebrant wedding ceremonies, here is some information on handfasting ceremonies.


Handfasting and hand tying are both ceremony rituals offered by celebrants, but they are different. Hand tying is derived from handfasting, and some celebrants offer very simple hand tying ceremonies during weddings and at events and festivals

Handfasting is predominantly the Pagan marriage ritual which has been adapted and included into weddings, commitment, engagement, and anniversary ceremonies by celebrants for non-Pagans too.

For Pagans, it is a special, meaningful, and binding ceremony in the presence of the Goddess and the Gods they call upon to witness it. Pagans may or may not choose to legally marry as having a handfasting is what binds them together in this life and the next, for all eternity. Marriage is easy to undo, a handfasting is lasting (but can be reversed which isn’t a nice thing to do).


handfasting ceremony is a traditional marriage custom and attributed to be where the phrase ‘tying the knot comes from’. Many religions and spiritual beliefs have a form of handfasting. The traditions of the handfasting ceremony vary as do the beliefs behind the history of them.

One belief states the couple were to live together for a year and a day. After that time frame had passed, they either married or went their separate ways if they decided they couldn’t live together. Other sources claim handfasting was once an agreed union arranged by two families.

Many believe it started as a Celtic marriage custom, but old Norse is where we get the name ‘handfasting’ from. Meaning a pledge through binding.

For those having a traditional church wedding, handfasting can also be incorporated into their ceremony. Prince William and Kate Middleton had a small handfasting during their wedding ceremony with the church once again taking Pagan customs and using them in their ceremonies.

Where it came from and who started it is irrelevant, all that matters is the relevance of the ceremony and the significance of being bound together.


There aren’t any specific materials required to be use during a handfasting. Any materials such as ribbons, cords, lace, leather, custom made chains or many more can be used for handfasting. It is a personal choice for those involved. Some have used clothing from departed relatives or lace from a Grandmother’s wedding veil or a tie from a Father. This is a way to include family members who are physically unable to attend the ceremony into a special moment.


Handfasting cords or ribbons can also be themed if you have a specific requirement. Christmas or Yule colours, Halloween colours, autumnal colours, bright festival colours, pastels or metallics matching décor or a ceremony theme.

I have made many different requests to match a theme such as Goth, dark romance, Steampunk, peacock colours, Corpse Bride, Viking ones to match clothing and décor, Star Trek decorated, Egyptian and many more. No two sets of handfasting cords have been or will be the same (even if the same colours are used) just as no two sets of people are the same.

I make handfasting cords in whatever colour, material, style, and design required. Making your own handfasting bindings is something to be considered as this makes them unique to you. You wouldn’t ask your celebrant, registrar, or vicar to buy your wedding rings for you, so why not be involved in making your own handfasting cords? They can be as colourful, elaborate or as personal as you require.


There isn’t a specific way to perform a handfasting as there are different ways and celebrants have their personal ways of doing them.  There aren’t any certain styles of knots required to be tied either. Online videos, blogs, websites, and social media posts show celebrants tying specific knots. (Some show a couple pulling a piece of rope or material to form a knot. This is tying a knot not handfasting as handfasting involved the placement of a binding over joining hands).

When handfasting first started, unity knots, lovers knots, eternity knots or infinity knots (to name a few currently proclaimed by many celebrants as to what kinds of knots are tied) weren’t ‘a thing’. Handfasting has its origins in Norse and Celtic traditions and the idea of the of a ‘lovers knot’ being tied in a wedding during the Viking Age is questionable. Many celebrants however like the romantic notion of using these recent trend following knots within handfasting ceremonies. Celebrant should do things differently to be able to offer the personalised ceremonies we offer and to give those we create ceremonies for many choices.

During handfasting ceremonies, the hands of the people the ceremony is for are bound together signifying their desire to be bound solely to each other for eternity using coloured ribbons, cords, or materials of their choice.

Colours have symbolic attributes which are required for a happy and prosperous union.  The chosen bindings are wrapped or draped around the wrists and hands. Family or friends can take part in placing singular ribbons. Promises or vows can be said as this is happens, and the binding is made by tying a single or several knots. (This is different for Pagan ceremonies).

After the ceremony, the handfasting bindings can be kept in a special box, displayed in a frame, or hung above the marital bed.


After spending many years researching the origins and beliefs of handfasting, I have been specialising in handfasting ceremonies for many years and have been honoured to have created and performed hundreds of them.  

Handfasting ceremonies have evolved and has been adapted making them more accessible to all who want one. Whether you want a Pagan handfasting ceremony (I am a Priestess and can create and perform this for you), or a handfasting which binds you together without any spiritual beliefs, please get in touch. Together we can create a personalised, meaningful and memorable handfasting for you.