An Evening Handfasting Ceremony

A handfasting ceremony to welcome your evening guests - A Wedding Celebrant's Perspective
Somerset Celebrant -  An evening handfasting ceremony
The Somerset Celebrant - Evening Handfasting Ceremony
The Somerset Celebrant - HandfastingCeremony

An evening handfasting ceremony.

An evening handfasting ceremony is a great idea, for many different reasons.

It could be that you like the romance of tying the knot just as the sun is going down over the horizon, lighting the sky in red and gold as it slowly slips away. 

It may be that you and your partner have different wants for your wedding day, and so have opted to have a church wedding in the morning, followed by a handfasting ceremony in the evening. This way your wedding day  ‘marries’ both of your beliefs and values in a harmonic way.

Read on to see why one of my couples, Carla and Darren chose to have an evening handfasting ceremony.


But firstly – What is a Handfasting Ceremony?

It is widely believed that the tradition of Handfasting was first practised by the ancient Celts and dates back as far as 7,000BC. In this ancient ritual, hands are tied together to symbolise the binding of two lives.

Phrases like ‘tying the knot’ and ‘asking for your hand in marriage’ probably originate from handfasting ceremonies. (Maybe even, ‘tied to the kitchen sink!’)

Whilst handfastings are often included in Wiccan or Pagan ceremonies, they have become more mainstream.

Today, the tradition can be incorporated into the wedding ceremony, or be the main event.

In addition to the binding of hands, vows are usually exchanged.

There are many different ways to ‘tie the knot’ and each handfasting is unique to the couple.



Different types of Handfasting Ceremonies

Carla and Darren wanted to include other people in their evening handfasting ceremony, both their mums and two of their friends.  We used four ribbons to allow for this.

You can have as many ribbons as you want. The most I have bound in a handfasting ceremony is fourteen. The couple both had children from previous relationships, and their children had given them grandchildren.  Each child and grandchild  had a ribbon which they wrapped around the couple’s hands. The tying of the unity cord, bound all the ribbons together tightly, in a symbolic unity ceremony.

Some couples do not want to include others in their handfasting ceremony. For these handfastings, I plait the ribbons together, into a single unity cord. 

How to choose your colours?

There are a myriad of ways.

Some couples choose colours to match their wedding colours. 

Other couples choose colours to signify their cultural heritage, for example, Campbell tartan or Flower of Scotland tartan, for their Scottish roots.

Many couples use colour symbolism to decide on their handfasting colours. They choose colours which represent the values on which they base their marriage. An example is yellow representing the importance of happiness in their relationship.




Carla and Darren’s Evening Handfasting Ceremony

Carla and Darren chose to have an evening handfasting ceremony to welcome their afternoon guests. They had had held their legal marriage service earlier in the day.

Carla and Darren’s evening handfasting ceremony enabled them to share a beautiful wedding ceremony with their wider friendship group, as well as closest family and friends, who had been part of their marriage ceremony.

Carla and Darren held their beautiful evening handfasting at huntstileorganicfarm

It was Carla’s brilliant idea to have their wedding in the morning, followed by an evening handfasting to welcome their new guests with a  ceremony.


 Somerset Celebrant - Handfasting Ceremony

The One
When the one whose hand you’re holding
Is the one who holds your heart
When the one whose eyes you gaze into
Gives your hopes and dreams their start,
When the one you think of first and last
Is the one who holds you tight,
And the things you plan together
Make the whole world seem just right,
When the one whom you believe in
puts their faith and trust in you,
You’ve found the one and only love
You’ll share your whole life through.

Somerset Wedding Celebrant -  Handfasting Ceremonying
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Somerset Wedding Celebrant -  Confetti

The Evening Handfasting

Carla and Darren walked up the aisle together, hand in hand, to the cheering and clapping of their friends and family, it was a lovely entrance

The ceremony opened with some sage advice for all of us, from Carla’s mum.

Darren and Carla  ‘tied the knot’ with a very colourful four ribbon handfasting.

Each of the colours, yellow, orange, deep purple and green, represented values that were important to them in their marriage.

The binding of the hands, and the tying of ribbons, symbolically represented their combined strength and unity through their shared values.

Their mums and two close friends took part in the binding of the ribbons. As each ribbon was bound, Darren and Carla made their promises to one another.

I then secured the ribbons with the unity cord.

The unity cord was a Kumihimo braid I made, using four cords of similar colours to the ribbons.

Once their hands were bound, they slipped them from the bindings, and each pulled an end of the unity cord and ‘tied the knot,’ to the joy and delight of their family and friends

We hadn’t met up beforehand to practise it, we just went for it on the day, and it was perfect!

Many thanks

I’d like to thank Carla and Darren for their kindness in allowing me to share their wonderful ceremony. It really was a a joy for me to be part in such an amazing wedding.

I’d like to give a special thank you to Julie from Lollipop Photography Uk for the amazing pics.

Further Reading

More ideas can be found in the links below.

The Elements series:

A Ring Warming Ceremony

A Parchment Signing Ceremony

A Unity Sand Ceremony

An Arras Money Ceremony

A Unity Candle Ceremony

A Jumping The Broom Ceremony

 A Wine Box Ceremony




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