Handfasting ceremony is a non religious ceremony often chosen by pagans and wiccans although it can be incorporated into any wedding ceremony. Traditionally a handfasting is held outdoors in a place that is special to the couple. It is not a legal binding ceremony in the usual sense, it is however a binding contract to the couple on a deeper spiritual level.
To make the wedding legal in the eyes of the law a couple would still have to hold a quick civil ceremony with a registrar. As a celebrant I would conduct the ritual and help with ideas and assist with wording, readings and poems to create the ceremony that fulfils your wishes to bind you to each other.
The ceremony usually begins with everyone gathering at a selected spot, the area is then cleansed, swept with a broom to get rid of any negativity and turned into a sacred space.
The 4 elements, Air, Fire, Water and Earth are called in, as well as the God and Goddess. Once this is done then the main ceremony begins.
The couple are led through their declaration of love and vows their hands are held together and bound loosely by a special set of Cords (usually Gold & Silver) however any colour is ok.
The couple then `jump the broom’ which is a symbol of hearth, home and fertility, as well as protection.This act symbolises leaving the past is behind as they jump over the broom in to the future together. During the celebrations other couples can get to jump the broom, which is held at knee height by specially designated people.
It is also traditional for the couple to bless the wedding cake & wine, meads, champagne etc, and all the family, friends & guests are invited to come forward and offer their own blessings.
How the rest of the ceremony then proceeds is really up to the couple.
The handfasting ceremony can be intimate and small with the couple and a few family & friends, or a big festive event just like any other wedding ceremony with lots of people, entertainment and dancing.
The venues can vary from a local park, woodland, forest, a hall, a home garden, by a stream, near a waterfall or on the beach.As pagans consider nature to be sacred usually they take place in woodlands or some natural setting.
The ceremony is usually an initiated by a High Priestess or someone involved in Wicca or other spiritual practices.We like family & friends of the couple to help out and get involved with some of the ceremony by doing readings & poems.
It is important that some of the tools for the ceremony, especially the rings, cords and the broom not forgetting an altar which is created and decorated for the event.
The couple may have a wedding theme or dress code for their guests, a colourful dress for bride and suitable attire for the groom.
The venue which can be decorated with ribbons and flowers, the entertainment can be traditional musicians, drummers, violin & harp players, or even Morris Dancers. There are no rules all you need is imagination.