Hand Fasting Ceremony – Latest Wedding Trend?

What is a Hand Fasting Ceremony and is it becoming the latest wedding trend?


Photo Courtesy of: Timothy Whaley Photography

Some of the history of a Hand Fasting Ceremony dates back to the late 1600’s in Scotland where a couple would have a trial marriage for a period of 1 year. If at the end of the year all worked out well, the couple would have a permanent marriage.

In England between the 12th and 17th century, the ceremony took place about a month before an actual church wedding. The ceremony was legally binding and not a trial marriage, even if a church marriage did not follow.

The process of the Hand Fasting Ceremony is similar to today’s reciting of the vows. There is a credible witness or witnesses present (best men, maid of honor, officiant). The bride and groom take each other’s right hand and speak their vows aloud accepting each other as husband and wife. Cords and ribbons are sometimes used to connect the two right arms of the bride and groom to symbolize their joining as one. Gifts between the couple are often exchanged such as a wedding ring, gold coins split in two, gloves, a crimson ribbon tied in a knot or other items of value. See this real wedding shot by Illinois wedding photographer Timothy Whaley which shows a Hand Fasting Ceremony taking place.

Would you add a handfasting ceremony to your wedding or have you seen one lately? Tell us what you think!


About the Author:

Ron Carpenito – Cofounder, WeddingPhotoUSA

With a passion for weddings and the web and over 20 years of experience in the wedding industry, Ron and wife Deb enjoy connecting brides to wedding professionals, writing & sharing about the latest trends in weddings and photography and growing their clients business.

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