Handfasting Wedding Ceremony

Background about the ceremony…

 

[officiant] Handfasting at one time was the only way couples could be engaged and/or get married because the church let the civil government of the period take care of these matters. The term itself comes from the custom of shaking hands over a contract. "Handfasting" refers to the hands being bound together with a cord as part of the ritual. This is where the terms "tie the knot" or "the ties that bind" come from.

 

It is a custom steeped in old tradition.

 

The couples' right hands will be bound together (hence 'handfasting'), they will swear the oaths that will define their relationship, and their hands will then be unbound in token that they remain together of their own free will.

[officiant]

We have come together here in celebration of the joining together of Groom and Bride.

There are many things to say about marriage. Much wisdom concerning the joining together of two souls, has come our way through all paths of belief, and from many cultures. With each union, more knowledge is gained and more wisdom gathered. Though we are unable to give all this knowledge to these two, who stand before us, we can hope to leave with them the knowledge of love and its strengths and the anticipation of the wisdom that comes with time. The law of life is love unto all beings. Without love, life is nothing, without love, death has no redemption.

The promises made today and the ties that are bound here greatly strengthen your union; they will cross the years and lives of each soul's growth.

Marriage is a bond to be entered into only after considerable thought and reflection. As with any aspect of life, it has its cycles, its ups and its downs, its trials and its triumphs. With full understanding of this, Groom and Bride have come here today to be joined as one in marriage.

Do you still seek to enter this ceremony?

[BRIDE & GROOM] Yes, We Seek to Enter.

[officiant] Others would ask, at this time, who gives the Bride in marriage, but, as a woman is not property to be bought and sold, given and taken, I ask simply if she comes of her own will and if she has her family's blessing.

Bride, is it true that you come of your own free will and accord?

[Bride] Yes, it is true.

[officiant] With whom do you come and whose blessings accompany you.

[Bride’s FATHER] She comes with me, her father, and is accompanied by all of her family's blessings.

[officiant] In times past it was believed that the human soul shared characteristics with all things divine. It is this belief which assigned virtues to the cardinal directions; North, South, East and West. It is in this tradition that a blessing is offered in support of this ceremony.

(Have special guests be directions)

North:

"I am north, the symbol of earth. Know and remember that this is the element of law, of endurance, of the understanding which can not be shaken. I bring to your wedding the power of steadfastness."

 

East:

"I am East, the symbol of Air. Know and remember that this is the element of life, of intelligence, of the inspiration that moves us onward. I bring to your wedding the power of mind."

South:

"I am South, the symbol of fire. Know and remember that this is the element of light, of energy, of the vigor which runs through our veins. I bring to your wedding the power of will.”

West:

"I am west, the symbol of water. Know and remember that this is the power of love, of growth, of the fruitfulness of the earth. I bring to your wedding the power of desire."

 

[officiant] Each of these blessings from the four cardinal directions emphasizes those things which will help you build a happy and successful union. Yet they are only tools. Tools which you must use together in order to create what you seek in this union.

 

(As you look into each others eyes)

 

[officiant] Groom, Will you cause her pain?

[Groom] I May

[officiant] Is that your intent?

[Groom] No

 

[officiant] Bride, Will you cause him pain?

[Bride] I may

[officiant] Is that your intent?

[Bride] No

 

[officiant] *To Both*

Will you share each other's pain and seek to ease it?

[Groom & Bride] Yes

[officiant] And so the binding is made. Join your hands

*First cord is draped across the Bride and Grooms hands*

 

[officiant] Bride, Will you share his laughter?

[Bride] Yes

 

[officiant] Groom, Will you share her laughter?

[Groom] Yes

 

[officiant] *To Both*

Will both of you look for the brightness in life, and the positive in each other?

[BRIDE & GROOM] Yes

[officiant] And so the binding is made.

*Second chord is draped across the couples hands*

 

[officiant] Bride, Will you burden him?

[Bride] I may

[officiant] Is that your intent?

[Bride] No

 

[officiant] Groom, Will you burden her?

[Groom] I may

[officiant] Is that your intent?

[Groom] No

 

[officiant] *To Both*

Will you share the burdens of each, so that your spirits may grow in this union?

[BRIDE & GROOM] Yes

[officiant] And so the binding is made.

*Third chord is draped across the couples hands*

 

[officiant] Bride, will you share his dreams?

[Bride] Yes

 

[officiant] Groom, will you share her dreams?

[Groom] Yes

 

[officiant] *To Both*

Will you dream together to create new realities and hopes?

[BRIDE & GROOM] Yes

[officiant] And so the binding is made.

*Fourth chord is draped across the couples hands*

 

[officiant] Groom, will you cause her anger?

[Groom] I may

[officiant] Is that your intent?

[Groom] No

 

[officiant] Bride, will you cause him anger?

[Bride] I may

[officiant] Is that your intent?

[Bride] No

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[officiant] *To Both*

Will you take the heat of anger and use it to temper the strength of this union?

[BRIDE & GROOM] We Will

[officiant] And so the binding is made.

*Fifth chord is draped across the couples hands*

 

[officiant] Bride, Will you honor him?

[Bride] I will

 

[officiant] Groom, Will you honor her?

[Groom] I will

 

[officiant] *To Both*

Will you seek to never give cause to break that honor?

[BRIDE & GROOM] We shall never do so

[officiant] And so the binding is made.

*Drape sixth chord across the couples hands*

 

*Tie chords together while saying:*

[officiant] The knots of this binding are not formed by these chords but instead by your vows. Either of you may drop the chords, for as always, you hold in your own hands the making or breaking of this union.

 

*Once chords are tied together they are removed and placed on altar/table*

 

[officiant]  The symbolism of the circular rings was explained by the great Native American leader, Black Elk, who said:

 

"Everything the Power of the World does, is done in a circle.

The sky is round,

and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball

and so are the stars.

The wind in its greatest power whirls.

Birds make their nests in circles.

The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle.

Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing and always coming back again to where they were.

The life of a man or a woman is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves."

 

[officiant]  You may exchange rings...

 

As the rings are exchanged:

[Groom] I commit myself to the bond and unique relationship that exists between us, and pledge to keep it alive.

As this ring has no end, neither shall my love for you

 

[Bride] I commit myself to the bond and unique relationship that exists between us, and pledge to keep it alive.

As this ring has no end, neither shall my love for you

 

 

[officiant]  Above you are the stars

Below you are the stones

As time does pass Remember

Like a star should your love be constant

Like a stone should your love be firm

Be close, but not too close

Posses one another, but be understanding

Have patience each with the other

For storms will come, but they will go quickly

Be free in the giving of affection and warmth

Make love often, and be sensuous with one another

Let the powers of the mind and of the intellect guide you in your marriage,

Let the strength of your wills bind you together,

Let the power of love and desire make you happy,

And the strength of your dedication make you inseparable.

 

By the power vested in me by the State of Florida I now pronounce you husband and wife.

 

May your love so endure that its flame remains a guiding light unto you

 

You may kiss the Bride