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Handfasting

Handfasting was the word used throughout the Celtic lands of Scotland and Northern England to refer to a commitment of betrothal or engagement. It was a ceremony in which the couple publicly declared their intention to marry. It is a ritual in which the bride’s and groom’s hands are tied together – hence the phrase ‘tying the knot’.

Alison and Andrew, will you now join hands for the rite of handfasting.

As this knot is tied, so are your lives now bound. We put into this cord, into its very fibres, all of the hopes of your friends and family, and of yourselves, for your new life together. With the fashioning of this knot do I tie all the desires, dreams, love and happiness wished here in this place to your lives for as long as love shall last. By this cord you are thus bound to your vows. May it draw your hands together in love, never to be used in anger. May the vows you will speak never grow bitter in your mouths. Bless these hands that will hold one another in passion and love. Bless these hands that will provide for one another and seek shelter for one another. Bless these hands that will hold your children, to comfort them in grief and hold them in affection. Two entwined in love, bound by commitment and fear, sadness and joy, by hardship and victory, anger and reconciliation, all of which brings strength to this union. Hold tight to one another through both good times and bad, and watch your strength grow as your bond together becomes forever stronger.

Hand fasting was an ancient Celtic ceremony, in which the couple publicly declared their intention to marry. It is a ritual in which the bride and groom’s hands are tied together, symbolising their commitment to each other.

Stu and Jen, please face each other and hold each other’s hands, those of your best friend, strong and vibrant with love, and witness their gentleness and warmth. This cord will bind your hands together and intertwine your lives. Drawing your hands together in love, never to be used in anger. May the vows you will speak never grow bitter in your mouths. By this cord you will be bound to the vows you are about to make. Hold tight to one another through both good times and bad and watch your strength grow as your bond together becomes forever stronger.

Making this knot, I tie all the desires, dreams, love and happiness wished for your lives as you become intertwined together in thought, word and action. Stu and Jen as you face each other, please repeat after me:

These are the hands that will hold you in passion and love
(Stu and Jen Repeat)
These are the hands that will hold you tight as we struggle through difficult times
(Stuand Jen Repeat)
These are the hands that will comfort you in illness and hold you in times of fear or grief
(Stu and Jen Repeat)
These are the hands that will support and encourage you to achieve your dreams
(Stu and Jen Repeat)
These are the hands that will hold our children, comfort them in grief and hold them in affection
(Stu and Jen Repeat)
These are the hands that are holding yours on our wedding day, and I promise to love you all the days of my life
(Stu and Jen Repeat).

Judi: May this knot remain tied for as long as love shall last. In the joining of hands and the fashion of a knot, so are your lives now bound, one to another. May you be forever one, sharing in all things, in love and loyalty, for all time to come.

The use of candles

Beginning of the ceremony
Colm and Angela will now light three candles. The first two symbolise their individual lives. The two distinct flames represent their lives to this moment; individual and unique. Everything you have ever experienced, everything you have ever done and everything you have ever learned has brought you to this moment as you now stand before these witnesses to take each other as husband and wife.
(Light candles)
The third is in remembrance for friends and family who are unable to join us today.
(Light candle and pause a moment)

End of ceremony
And to complete this ceremony, Colm and Angela will light a candle symbolising their life together. They will do this using the two candles that were lit in the beginning of the ceremony that symbolise their individual lives. All three candles remain lit as even though marriage brings us into a close and intimate bond as we share life’s journey together, we will always remain unique individuals.
(Light candle)

Hand Blessings

Alison, please face Adrian, and hold his hands, palms up, so you may see the gift that they are to you. These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, for a lifetime of happiness. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes, tears of sorrow and tears of joy. These are the hands that will comfort you in illness, and hold you when fear or grief fills you. These are the hands that will give you support and celebrate with you in your accomplishments.

Adrian, please hold Alison’s hands, palms up, where you may see the gift that they are to you. These are the hands that will hold you tight as you struggle through difficult times. They are the hands that will comfort you when you are sick or console you when you are grieving. These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, for a lifetime of happiness. These are the hands that will give you support as she encourages you to fulfil your dreams. Together, as a team, everything you wish for can be realised.

Closing the ceremony with a quaich

The Scottish Quaich or Loving Cup is a traditional way of involving family and friends in the ceremony. As the final part of this ceremony and their first act as a married couple, Ian and Kirsten will drink from their quaich and invite all of you to join them in doing this to celebrate their marriage. The whisky used today is Ben Rinnes in honour of the mountain we see before us. The couple also asks that as you take a sip, you make a wish. While the quaich is being passed around, we will be signing the legal documents.