"Handfasting" is the joining of a couple's hands is an ancient symbol of union between two people. It is from this very old custom we get the expression "tying the knot". A handfasting can be performed as part of a traditional wedding ceremony. Or it can be the basis of a ritual based Pagan wedding ceremony.
For modern Pagans and other followers of earth-based religions, a handfasting is a ceremony for those who wish to commit themselves to a loving relationship. Handfastings are usually done outdoors, as Pagans feel that nature is the most appropriate place to celebrate a ritual of life, love and fertility. Pagan handfastings are most often conducted with guests and witnesses standing in a circle around the couple. The circle symbolises the womb of the Goddess, and this ritual area can be marked out ritually either by the couple or by the officiating priestess before or during the handfasting. It is also common for the spirits of the four directions (east, north, west and south) and the elements to be called upon to witness the rite. It is also usual to honour Divinity, and sometimes the Goddess and the God are represented by a priestess and a priest. The cost for two celebrants is additional, so often just a high priestess will suffice.
The couple's hands are then bound together with cord, symbolising their union. At this point, they speak their vows, and rings or other tokens may be exchanged.
Do you prefer to have a traditional Wiccan wedding or a Pagan Handfasting with a High Priestess who can also marry you legally?
Or perhaps you have another culture or religious traditions you want to incorporate into your wedding ceremony?
Pagan for almost 20 years, handfastings are my specialty