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We have all sat through tedious wedding ceremonies, where the content is – well, tired and a bit jaded. We seem to spend more time deciding on the flavour of cake or colour of a chair sash than we do on the ceremony itself. Yet it is the ceremony – and especially the vows that are contained within it – which will endure the longest.
You can personalise your ceremony and add interest and meaning by looking at incorporating Wedding Traditions. A civil celebrant will have been trained in all the ancient traditions, and will explain and suggest them all to you.
The ritual of handfasting dates back centuries. Indeed, it is one of the oldest marriage unity rituals. Right up until the Marriage Act of 1939, handfastings were legally recognised in Scotland.
We often hear phrases such as ‘tying the knot’ or ‘the bonds of matrimony’ when we talk about weddings, but we don’t really think about where these phrases originated. Hundreds of years ago, when priests had to cover many churches, moving from parish to parish on horseback, or on foot, it could be up to a year before a couple would see their priest, in order that they could be married. Whatever was a couple in love to do? This is where handfasting came in.
The couple would be handfasted – literally, their hands would be symbolically tied – by the village elder. This would give them the right to live as husband and wife for a year and a day, or until the priest passed by their village again. There is no agreement whether Handfasting was first used inside or outside the church, but it is still very much used today both spiritually and within the church. You will see a parish priest wrapping his stole around a couple’s joined hands – and this is handfasting. It was used at Prince William’s marriage to Kate Middleton:
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” – Ecclesiastes 4:12
You can use a handfasting in a full Pagan or Wiccan ceremony. I tend not to do these, but I can recommend Celebrants who will offer the full pagan ritual. However, I can – and do – use Handfasting in many other different ways; as a symbolic element in your wedding ceremony, usually between making your vows and exchanging your rings, as a stand-alone ceremony of commitment, or during a renewal of vows to strengthen the ‘ties that bind’.
“Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads, which sew people together through the years.” – Simone Signoret
We can involve members of your family in the handfasting too. I can (and do) make handfasting cords, to your requirements, but you may also wish to make your own cords together for your ceremony, and I can help and advise with this.
You can choose to have ribbons or cords, either in colours to co-ordinate with your wedding day, or in accordance with spiritual meanings and again, your celebrant can advise you on this. I have an explanatory note I can send you. You can even include tartan (like Ross and Emma did – their handfasting cord was made by Ross’s mum from the family dress tartan), or some other fabric which holds meaning for you.
You should keep your handfasting cords as they are your bonds of matrimony, and they are a symbolic and lasting reminder of the vows you made on the day you ‘tied the knot’.
I can provide you with a set of Handfasting Cords, to your colour specifications, complete with decorative charms, which will be supplied in a keepsake bag. I also provide a printed reading, to co-ordinate with your wedding stationery or theme.
Why not commission a set of handmade Handfasting Cords to offer as a gift to the engaged couple?
Contact me for details and prices:
Thanks for reading
Banburyshire Info Wedding Editor
International Civil Celebrant at Cherish Ceremonies
tel: 01926 930393 mobile: 07713 278699
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The ritual of handfasting dates back centuries. Indeed, it is one of the oldest marriage unity rituals. Tying the knot
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From honeymoon experts to photographers, cake makers to boutique caterers, you’ll find plenty of local suppliers who can bring your wedding vision to life.
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On-site balloon decorating service to suit all occasions as well as supplying top quality Balloons designs for collection.
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Traditional celebration, and wedding cakes by Kit.
Here at Cakes by Kit, I believe in making your cakes look amazing and taste amazing in equal measure!
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Every bride-to-be wants a wedding cakes that looks as good as it tastes, and with Cakes by Smillies Cakes & Pops you can be sure to get the best of both worlds.
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Address: 2 Maple Close Woodford Halse, Daventry, Northamptonshire NN11 3ND
Whether you are looking for handmade chocolates as favours, a cake with a difference or to feed all your guests, we can help you make your event special.
We use only fresh ingredients – with as many as possible sourced locally. Special dietary needs are not a problem and we are happy to talk gluten, dairy and nut free menus. We have some example menus but all menus are tailored to your needs and budget.
We have catered for most things from corporate lunches through to weddings with over 120 guests – but also birthday parties, marriage blessings, christenings and engagement parties!
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At Sharon Priscilla everything is made to the highest quality standards for what we see as possibly the most important clothing purchase you will ever make.
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A horse-drawn carriage is the perfect way to arrive at your wedding in style.
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For more information about viewings, prices and availability, please do not hesitate to contact Kevin Merry, he will be more than happy to discuss your individual requirements.
Tel: 07976 219830
Here at Cherwell Edge we will play our part in ensuring that it will be one you remember for years to come.
We have a range of packages however, should you have any specific requests we would be very pleased to try and accommodate you.
Our Head Chef has put together some wonderful menus for you to choose from.
Please feel free to discuss these and any other dietary requirements with the Wedding Co-ordinator
Address: Cherwell Edge Golf Club, Appletree Road, Chacombe, Banbury, Oxford, OX17 2EN, UK
Phone: 01295 711591
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