Handfasting FAQ’s

 What is it?

Handfasting are vows that may be said for:

"A year and a day", which is not a legal marriage. These vows are usually more of a commitment the couple makes to one another. Some see it as “getting engaged” or making a spiritual commitment to one another. In either case, it is not a legal marriage and no marriage license is needed. This ceremony is used by any couple that for one reason or another cannot or choose not to get legally married. It has also been used to celebrate renewing of original marriage vows by a few couples who had a traditional wedding in the past.

"For all eternity" or a legal handfasting is included in the wedding ceremony itself. The ceremony is legally binding because a marriage license will be required in advance and signed by the minister. Modern handfastings are performed for same-gender and opposite-gender couples. Today, some couples choose a legal handfasting in place of, or include a handfasting ritual in, their wedding ceremony.

When is the Handfasting done during the wedding ceremony?

As with more conservative marriage ceremonies, many couples frequently exchange rings before or during a handfasting, which outwardly symbolize the commitment and love they share for each other. Keep in mind that the exchange of rings and the handfasting can occur at anytime during the ceremony. This is a decision to be made by each couple.

Where does the idea of handfasting come from?

Handfastings are performed all around the world. Although many of the historical accounts take us back to Celtic origins, many, many cultures throughout time have handfasted. It is even written that back in the old days, the more common people, (and there were many of them), could not afford the gold rings for a wedding. And so, they used a piece of cloth to wrap their hands and/or wrists during the ceremony. This cloth then had special meaning and was kept closely to the couple at all times.

If you have ever seen the movie Braveheart, starring Mel Gibson, at the end of the movie William Wallace lies dying, He dropped a small piece of cloth that was used during his handfasting with girlfriend Murron. That small cloth was tied around the hands of Wallace and Murron as they said their vows. Wallace carried that cloth throughout the movie as a reminder of his handfasting or marriage to her. It is believed that the old phrase, “tie the knot”, referred to the act of being handfasted.

Who has a handfasting?

Anyone can have a handfasting as a part of their wedding ceremony. Some choose the Year and a Day to celebrate their love and commitment for each other and others choose the legal handfasting instead of a traditional wedding ceremony. Some couples want the smaller handfasting ceremony or rite included in their wedding ceremony.

Most recently, the world watched as Prince William and Kate Middleton were handfasted at the latter part of their royal wedding. The minister covered their hands with a ceremonial cloth and said, “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” Then the cloth was removed. This tradition has occurred at all royal weddings in the United Kingdom for hundreds of years.

Do I need a ceremonial cloth?

No, couples choose from a variety of items. Some choose cords, others choose ribbons, while others choose a more personal piece of cloth. A couple will choose what qualities they want to bring into their marriage and the colors of the cords and ribbons are generally selected for their significance A ceremonial cloth is typically one that has a religious implication. A personal piece of cloth may be something shared by the couple and redesigned for the wedding day or it may be a special piece of cloth that each family has contributed and then sewn together in a special way for the handfasting at the wedding. For a Celtic handfasting, usually the groom’s tartan is used as the cloth or covering for the hands. Most brides frame the ribbons, cords, piece of fabric, or tartan and hang it either in their bedroom or living room.

What are the Handfasting Colors?

Whether you select ribbons or cords, the colors of your Matron of Honor’s dress, your favorite colors as a couple, or select colors for their meanings from the list below, enjoy your handfasting. It will be remembered by everyone because it was special and as distinct as you!

Here are the meanings of the colors used during a handfasting.

Gold - agreement, stability, success

Silver - inspiration, motivation

White – tranquility, devotion, purity

Green - fertility, prosperity, nurturing

Yellow - attraction, honesty, harmony

Orange - support, stimulation, attraction

Red - love, devotion, enthusiasm

Pink - agreement, admiration, romance, contentment

Purple - authority, wellbeing, growth

Dark Blue -permanence, power

Light Blue - tranquility, understanding, patience

Gray – impartiality, stability

Black – strength, wisdom, successBrown – encouragement


Our ceremonies are available in various formats, including, but not limited to: religious, spiritual, and civil. Romantic overtones can be applied to any ceremony at your request. We also offer a ceremony that is read in both English and Spanish, if requested. Please let us know in advance.

Just the 2 of US!
Come to our little wedding chapel for a discreet and personal ceremony. This ceremony is for the couple only – no guests. A fee of $150, includes:
~ A Private ceremony for just the two of you
~ Unlimited email
~ Pre-written ceremony either romantic, religious, spiritual
~ Photos taken during and after the ceremony are emailed to you
~ Rose petals
~ Romantic candles
~ Background music
~ Free off-street parking
~ Your Handfasting Certificate is completed and processed for you

The Rose
Come to our little wedding chapel for a romantic ceremony. Guests are welcome – Space is limited to four guests. A fee of $200, includes:
~ Pre-written ceremony either romantic, religious, spiritual
~ Unlimited email
~ Photos taken during and after the ceremony are emailed to you
~ Rose petals
~ Romantic candles
~ Background music
~ Free off-street parking
~ Your Handfasting Certificate is completed and processed for you

Red Roses
Whether you chose to be married in a park, along the river, a backyard BBQ, or in your living room, we’ll be there for you. * Please note: A mileage fee may apply.
A fee of $250, includes:
~ A ceremony for the two of you at your location
~ Pre-written ceremony either romantic, religious, spiritual
~ Unlimited phone and email consultations before and after the wedding
~ A copy of the ceremony is given to the couple
~ Photos taken during and after the ceremony are emailed to you
~ Background Music can be provided
~ A Handfasting Certificate is completed and processed for you

     White Rose Ministry   267.250.6311