My fiance and I are not religious, so when we sat down to figure out our ceremony, we had to think creatively about what we wanted to do. A handfasting was always one possibility. I have a lot of Celtic blood, and he has some as well, so the fact that it had some cultural significance for us was a plus.
It wasn't until we thought of how we were going to get our families involved in the ceremony that we decided we would for sure do a handfasting. We decided to have each of our immediate family members tie one of the cords (hand-spun by a good friend of mine), and let them choose which “gift” they wanted to give us, which we announced during the ceremony:
Green: We will begin the hand-fasting ceremony with Lindsay's father. He is presenting the first cord, Green, wishing his daughter and son the Nourishment of Family and Love. Much like sun and water, these elements will allow their union grow into a home shared with each other, regardless what garden the two find themselves in.
Silver: The second cord woven of silver is being presented to the couple by Matt's mother. Silver traditionally represents wisdom and respect, and let it be so here today. Let this cord not only represent the wisdom the two of you have shown in taking this step together, but may it also serve as a blessing, so that this union remains strong enough that life never grinds the two of you down to the point that you take each other granted.
Red: A blessing of passion is being presented to the couple by Lindsay's brother. As he ties the couples' hands in the red cord, may he fasten into your lives and hearts not only the hot passion of young love, but the thick, slow
burning embers of lifelong Passion.
Orange: Matt's father will be tying the copper-orange cord. With this cord, he brings a blessing of playfulness and fun, reminding the pair to keep young hearts; for next to each stands the person who will be their best friend and companion, and it is only through play, fun, and joy that we can keep from growing old, regardless of growing older.
Yellow: It is Lindsay's mother that brings forth a blessing of light and nourishment to the young union as represented by the yellow cord she ties around the couples hands. May you find in each other a balm for your emotional hurts and may you find yourselves sharing more joys together than sorrows.
Pink: Matt's sister will be tying the sixth cord, pink, bringing to the couple a blessing of spontaneity to their lives. Memories are not only made of grand moments, but are also hiding in the simple adventures of daily life. May the two of you remember to allow your lives to dictate your schedule, and always remember to make time for life to happen.
Brown: The brown cord symbolizing dependability and grounding binding the couples hands is being tied by Lindsay's sister. With this blessing, may the two of you always be able to lean against each other, find support in each other's
arms, and keep each other centered; and when one of you stumbles, know that the other will catch you before you can fall.
Purple: Lindsay's other mother shall be tying the purple cord for the couple today. Long regarded as the color of nobility. Purple also represents the color of mystery. It will be the last cord being tied during this ceremony, and a blessing
on the couple as they explore so many different mysteries together. Mysteries not only imposed on them from without, but the mysteries hidden within each other and this brave new adventure they embark on.
When it came time for the handfasting part of our ceremony, each of our family members came up to us, they wrapped the cord around our hands and then had a small moment with us. It was very intimate and wonderful.
I really didn't understand how much emotion would flow through me while I was standing up there, how close I would feel to everyone/everything that I encountered, and having both my family and his to share that with us was amazing.