Handfastingeverything you need to know
Prince William and Kate were Handfasted together in St. Pauls Cathedral.
What is Handfasting?
Glenda specialises in all forms, types and styles of Handfastings, with varying degrees of spirituality.
Handfasting signifies a couple coming together as ‘One’. Lovers are united as they “Tie the Knot” in the tradition of Celtic Handfasting.
Whatever it’s original intention it has now become a popular new tradition for today’s couples seeking a new and spiritual way to honour their love.
- A couple may merely seek to have their hands bound symbolically whilst saying vows in a Traditional English Wedding celebration. The Bride maybe dressed conventionally in a white bridal gown. I refer to this as a Handtying.
- The full Handfasting Ceremony may take place at dawn or sunset within an ancient stone circle. The Bride maybe dressed in flowing Celtic robes with a garland of flowers in her hair.
- The Handfasting may be a part of a LoveFest with a Festival type atmosphere, or indeed at a Festival. The Bride dressed in a ‘funky’ outfit, possibly wearing welly boots!
- Handfasting can be part of a traditional Wedding Ceremony, following the legal vows and exchange of rings, or at the start of the evening celebrations, when evening guests arrive. I refer to this as a Handtying.
- Alternatively it can be carried out at a later date when family and friends gather to further celebrate a couples union in marriage.
- Handfasting can be performed regardless of whether the couple are married or not as a ‘standalone’ ceremony to demonstrate their commitment to each other.
- Modern Handfastings can be performed for same-sex or opposite-sex couples.
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During a Handfasting a couple are symbolically bound together, to demonstrate their commitment to one another.
Not Pagan or Christian
Handfasting traditionally takes place at the engagement celebration or Wedding Ceremony, but can be performed at any time for any couple, married or not. The couple make poignant and meaningful pledges or vows to one another, following ancient traditions.
It is neither pagan nor Christian but has its roots in Celtic history. Handfasting precedes Christianity.
A Handfasting created by Glenda can/will offer a truly spiritual addition to your ceremony.
Glenda is a Spiritual Healer and works with Universal Energies. Her own knowledge of Handfastings has been predominantly self taught over the last decade.
She is known in celebrant circles as the Queen of Handfasting.
Glenda has run Handfasting workshops.
She does not give herself the title of priestess or goddess.
Glenda is comfortable and adaptable to all and any ideas a couple may have, or want to include in their ceremony. She will advise and guide a couple throughout their planning.
Once she has a clear understanding of a couples own levels of spirituality, Glenda will offer suggestions which they and their guests are comfortable with.
If a couple prefer to keep the elemental blessing to a minimum this is OK. They may also extend the blessings by walking the four cardinal points. They may want to have a ring blessing with oils or use the earths elements, air, fire, water, earth.
You could include a final blessing from the vicinity of your ceremony. Maybe the land of your ancestors, a nearby oak tree or waterfall.
Speak to Glenda
The History of Handfasting
The term Handfasting is taken from Old Norse “hand-festa” meaning “to strike a bargain by joining hands”.
Handfasting was commonly the way that couples were “officially” married in ancient Britain before the church became involved in wedding ceremonies and is mentioned in ancient Celtic legends.
It was originally practiced by the Greeks and Romans.
The Romans created a garland made of magnolia, elder and roses which was then wrapped around the couple’s wrists to signify love and fidelity.
Variations on the theme have since been used in other countries. Handfasting rituals in ancient Europe symbolised the betrothal of a couple (temporary or permanent) and involved the lightly tying together of the couple’s hands with a cord, ribbon or vine. Later in marriage, they were tied more tightly.
The ceremony was especially common in Ireland and Scotland. Handfasting has seen a modern day resurgence owing in part to the movie Braveheart, in which William Wallace and his girlfriend Murron are joined together with a Handfasting Ceremony.
Recognition of Handfasting in Marriage
Only a couple can seal the promise of a marriage to each other and only a couple can bind it. No power vested in a Celebrant or the church or registration office, can declare what is felt and known to be in the hearts of two people in love.
Only those two hearts can make that declaration, and only those two souls can bring substance to the pledges and vows made in a Handfasting ceremony.
Marriage demonstrates a commitment made in the hearts of two people, a declaration of true love.
So, when a couple are joined in a Handfasting ceremony (whether married or not) Glenda will announce the truths that are already written in their hearts and which have been witnessed in the presence of their family and friends!
In this way ALL will share in the couple’s joy and happiness.
The Legalities of Handfasting
The 1753 Marriage Act, ended the Handfasting custom in England, thus suppressing clandestine marriages with more stringent conditions for validity.
Handfasting has no legality in law in the UK, where proof of legal marriage is by the signing and witnessing of a Marriage Certificate.
As an Independent Celebrant, Glenda will Handfast anyone and does not require proof of legal marriage.
The Handfasting marriage vows taken may be for “a year and a day,” “a lifetime”, “for all of eternity” or “for as long as love shall last.”
The ceremony is NOT LEGAL. It is a private spiritual commitment between the couple, who may also choose to make it legal by also having a civil ceremony.
Working with a couple to create a heartfelt and personal ceremony advising and offering support and guidance is what I do. Hopefully they will never plan another wedding so the key is understanding that their ceremony is whatever they want to make of it, making it meaningful for them, their family and all their guests.
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