Handfasting cords are part of an ancient Celtic tradition, involving a ceremony between
two people whereby they physically bind their hands together as a declaration of
their love and commitment to each other. In an age where the commercial wedding band-wagon
is rumbling along in full force, handfasting cords are a beautiful way of incorporating
something traditional yet completely unique and personal into your ceremony, which
will also result in something tangible to take away from the experience.
As the origin of the phrase 'tying the knot', the custom is seeing a revival after
centuries of obscurity, thanks in part to the romantic moonlit ceremony in Braveheart
where the lovers steal away to a secluded forest location, to be joined together
in a clandestine ceremony, exchanging lengths of clan tartan and hand stitched ribbon
as a tokens of their commitment to each other.
The handfasting cords themselves can be split into two main categories. Firstly,
one cord can be used during the ceremony, which is used to bind the couples together
as a symbol of their unity. The second category is where two separate cords are created
to reflect the individuality of each person in the ceremony, and these two cords
are then tied together to symbolise two people joining together to form a new whole.
In the first instance, the cord often has to be untied at some point, either at the
end of the ceremony or for some couples, at the end of their celebration day. In
the second, the
cords remain tied from the first moment they are brought together, and stay tied
for as long as the couple remain together.
As for the construction of the handfasting cords, they can be something as simple
as a single length of rope, or a more elaborate combination of ribbon and jewellery,
or anything in between. The beauty of handfasting cords is that there are no set
rules which should be followed, no strict customs to adhere to. The cords can be
created to reflect elements of your personality, using charms and pendants which
have special meaning to you, using your favourite colours or materials, or designed
to co-ordinate with the colour schemes for the day, the combinations are limitless!