Tying the Knot – Handfasting

1. Handfasting


At Legalmarriageceremonies.ie couples often ask us for ideas which will make their ceremony more unique and more spiritual than religious.

We are more than happy to make some suggestions and we have found that this one is at the top of the list for a few reasons. First, it’s the origin of the phrase, “tying the knot”.

It’s also probably the most universal spiritual vs. religious wedding tradition, found in cultures all over the world. The word “handfasting” actually derives from the ancient Celtic practice of tying couples’ hands together with a number of ribbons during the ceremony to represent their bond.

It also represents that from that moment on your lives are bound together and that your lives are entwined

But you can also see this “binding” symbolism in other cultures. In Mexican ceremonies, a wedding lasso (“el lazo”) of flowers or beads is draped around the couples’ shoulders to represent their union, and Filipino couples are wrapped in a veil or shawl. And if you ever saw the movie, My Big, Fat Greek Wedding, you know that in that tradition, the bride and groom each wear crowns (a “Stefana”) that are connected by a ribbon.

In fact for all of you who are Mel Gibson fans in the film Braveheart where he marries his bride the ritual of Handfasting is carried out.


A nice bonus is that whatever you use to bind yourselves becomes a keepsake of your commitment since it’s imbued with all the loving intention from your wedding ceremony. Some couples have been very creative and used a braid made of their favorite coloured ribbons, or even a rope from their sailboat, whatever you choose it all adds to the fun on your wedding day. Enjoy