Try a balloon-fasting instead of a handfasting as a unique unity ceremony

Guest post by Catherine Weiss
Catherine and Owen on their wedding day. Photo by Jamilah Photography

Since this was our second wedding ceremony (or third if you want to count the fact that we did a handfasting in a park with friends, plus the official French civil ceremony), we wanted to find a way to make our August 14th Seattle area celebration feel new to us, while still incorporating a ritual that would be recognizable and meaningful to attending family and friends. 

We were so excited to bring together our loved ones that we had not introduced to each other, and we had a pretty sizable bridal party.  We decided not to exchange rings again, because we had already been wearing our rings for almost a year, and it felt like a sham to take them off and re-do that bit.  Instead, we decided to make our vows on our rings, with everyone there to witness us.  That left us still wondering what to do with the 10 or so people we had standing up there with us. 

The first time around, we did a handfasting to bind ourselves together.  Since the whole point of celebrating again in Washington was to involve our people, we knew we wanted some sort of ritual they could participate in.  The theme of our wedding was rainbows, and there was a very family-friendly vibe. 

Owen's friend Rembrandt Murphy had sweetly agreed to create balloon art for our guests, and we hit upon the idea of using Remy's balloons to refresh our handfasting in a fun and slightly ridiculous way. 

Our idea was for Remy to give each member of the wedding party (bride's people, dude's men, flower children and officiant) a balloon in a different color, and for them to connect them into one long rope. 

We stood back to back, which is one of the traditional options for handfasting, and everyone wrapped the balloon chain all around us, fastening it somehow.  We never actually rehearsed with balloons, so once we were tied together we just kind of wiggled out. 

At that point someone suggested we smash it, so we stomped the balloons.  It was silly and fun and everyone was laughing, and it felt like a really light and magical way to celebrate being married.

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