Friday, February 8, 2008

Handfastings and Weddings

As a Wiccan Priestess, I am often asked about handfasting. The first thing everyone wants to know is – What is a handfasting and how is it different from a wedding? Essentially, a handfasting is a type of wedding during which the betrothed couple’s hands are tied together with cord, ribbon, cloth, or some other material that can be knotted and stay knotted. Historically, the couple had to stay physically bound until they could consummate the marriage. Nowadays, many couples forgo that tradition for several different reasons. DTTF and I did not keep our hands bound because we had the wedding and reception in a Unitarian Universalist church, then had to go to our apartment with my parents, and then had to drive all the way to his mom’s house for the “after-party.” We had neither the time nor privacy to stay bound until we could consummate the marriage! (I know – more information than you wanted to know, right?)

A handfasting can either be a spiritual wedding for a set amount of time, after which the couple may decide whether or not to stay handfasted and make it legal, or it can be both spiritual and legal at the same time, like mine was. One of the reasons for having a handfasting performed for a set amount of time is to help alleviate fears surrounding marriage and divorce, which is completely understandable when one sees how high divorce rates are in this country. A handparting is much cheaper than a legal divorce.

A couple can write their own ceremony or have the priest and/or priestess write it for them. I’m currently working with two different couples regarding their handfastings. One of the couples wants to just do the spiritual handfasting for a year and a day to make sure they really want to be married to each other since both have been married and divorced before and are afraid of that happening again. The other couple is planning to have a legal handfasting because they’re sure this is what they want.

One inquiry both couples asked was whether or not they should send out traditional invitations. My response to both of them was that it is up to them, just like it would be with a traditional wedding. Personally, I really like the photo invitations over at Wedding Needs. One of the brides-to-be takes very artistic photos, so I sent her here to take a look. They certainly are not cheap invitations, but if she is willing to spend the money, I’m sure she can come up with a photo that will make a very classy invitation.


Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Very cool. I've heard of the handfasting and the year and a day scenario with no hard feelings if it doesn't work out.

I would love to see a handfasting in person.

Military Mom said...

I've never heard of handfasting, but it's cool to hear about other customs. Thanks for educating me!

BellBookCandleSupply said...

Handfasting is definitely one of the many celebrations wherein overflowing amount of joy is sincerely shared. A wonderful way of expressing undying love to whom you wanna be with as long as you live. Unconventional for some but its meaning is so profound and deep.
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