Handfasting with a Story

On behalf of James and Jemma, I would like to welcome you here to Eilean Donan castle in the beautiful Highlands of Scotland. It means a great deal to them to have their beloved friends and family present to share with them their wedding day.

Your willingness to travel so far means a great deal to them, so please accept their heartfelt appreciation and gratitude, not only for being here today but also for all the love and support you have given them over the past nine years.

Judi: Who accompanies this bride to her husband to be?

Mum: I do.

Judi: Does she come with your blessing?

Mum: Yes she does.

Judi: The west coast of Scotland is very dear to James and Jemma and the beautiful surroundings of Eilean Donan castle where not chosen at random by these two who stand before me.

James’s family have holidayed in this area for over 30 years. So for their first holiday together as a young couple James invited Jemma to join the family here in Kintail. It was on this holiday that James brought Jemma here to witness the magic of Eilean Donan castle, and of course Jemma knew it was love at first sight, she also commented it would be her dream to one day get married here.

And so, in August 2009 when on holiday with friends, unbeknown to Jemma, James had a diamond ring and a sneaky plan to head to Eilean Donan Castle before being homeward bound.

In James’s head, his plan for a romantic proposal on a mountain overlooking the castle was perfect, but in reality it didn’t quite work out that way.

At the first location James picked, a small debate took place as James was trying to usher Jemma out of the car in order to secretly manoeuvre the ring into his pocket, but Jemma refused to get out. Finally when James won the argument, Jemma stormed out of the car to go and look at the view. Unfortunately, when they reached the mountainside, James realised he had parked a mile too far away and they couldn’t see the castle.

So they drove on to another point. James, who was now very nervous, desperately hoped it was the right place. They both walked over to a mound and found a stunning view looking down on Eilean Donan, it was here they both smiled and embraced each other and the view. James decided this was the perfect time to pop the question. He didn’t however get down on one knee as they stood on and were sinking into, a massive bog. However, with all that had happened, nothing could take away the magic of the moment or the realisation that they where now starting this new chapter in their lives together. Which brings us here today.

Getting married is a declaration of two people’s love. It defines a relationship and signifies a beginning of a new life together. It shows a desire by two people to share themselves and their experiences with each other. It shows a willingness to accept each other for who they are as individuals.

Will you now join hands for the rite of handfasting.

Gill, will you please lay the Tartan over James’ and Jemma’s hands.

As this knot is tied, so are your lives now bound. We bless into this binding, imbue into its very fibres, all 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. By this cord you are thus bound to the vows you will be making. May this knot remain tied throughout your lives together. May your hands be drawn together in love, never to be used in anger. May the vows you will speak never grow bitter in your mouths.

In the joining of hands and the fashioning of a knot, so are your lives now bound, one to another.

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 in affection and comfort them in grief.

Two entwined in love, bound by commitment and fear, sadness and joy, by hardship and victory, anger and reconciliation, all of which bring 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.

But because you cannot always be physically joined (remove cord for exchanging of rings), we will now exchange vows and rings.

James and Jemma, there is magic and mystery in marriage. It will continuously surprise you. It will ask of you strength and wisdom. Acknowledging this, do you happily choose to make the promises of marriage in this company of friends and family.

James and Jemma together: Yes.

Nothing is easier than saying words. And nothing is harder than living them, day after day. What you promise today must be renewed and decided again tomorrow, and the tomorrow after that, and the tomorrow after that.

I shall now ask you to make your marriage vows.

James, will you take Jemma to be your wife, your soul mate and your one true love? Will you promise to love her completely and honestly without question? Will you make her laugh in times of trial, be her strength in times of need and a friend to her always? Will you love her from the sunrise to the shine of the moon and the stars? Will you climb mountains and have adventures together and support her and your future family? Will you grow old together gracefully or disgracefully, which ever suits you best?

James: I will forever.

Jemma, will you take James to be your husband, your soul mate and your one true love. Will you promise to love him completely and honestly without question? Will you promise to be there for him from this day forward and be his best friend as well as his wife? Will you make him laugh when needed, be strong when required and pretend to obey him at least once in a while? Will you grow old together gracefully or disgracefully, which ever suits you best?

Jemma : I will forever.

Friends and family, now that you have heard Jemma and James recite their vows, do you promise from this day forward to encourage them and love them, to give them your guidance, and to support them in being steadfast in the promises they have made. If so please respond with a resounding ‘We do!’

Congregation: “We do!”

We have now come to the exchange of rings which is the traditional way of sealing the vows you have just made.

A circle is the symbol of the sun and the earth and the universe, of wholeness and perfection, and peace and love. It is worn on the third finger, because of an ancient Greek belief that a vein from that finger goes directly to the heart. These rings mark the beginning of a long journey together. Wear them proudly, for they are the symbols which speak of the love that you have for one another.

Jemma, repeat after me:
I give you this ring as a measure of my love, as a symbol of my heart and as a reminder of the vows we made today. I promise to be yours forever.
(Jemma gives James the ring)

James, repeat after me:
I give you this ring as a measure of my love, as a symbol of my heart and as a reminder of the vows we made today. I promise to be yours forever.
(James gives Jemma the ring)

Jemma and James, now that we have witnessed your love for each other and seen you accept each other as husband and wife, symbolised by the exchange of vows and rings, I ask the whole congregation to pronounce you husband and wife. Please repeat after me: ‘We pronounce you husband and wife.’

By the authority vested in me by the Registrar General of Scotland, I acknowledge and declare that you are husband and wife. James You may now kiss your bride.

Thanks so much for making our day so perfect. We were really impressed with your professionalism and thankful that you really cared so much with the planning and grateful when we could not find our papers at the 11th hour and you kept your cool. Will definitely recommend you to any future weddings.

Kenny and Synove