Tying the Knot

The expression ‘tying the knot’ comes from the ancient Celtic Handfasting ritual which is the actual tying of a cord or cloth around the bride and groom’s hands or wrists (often with wrists crossed and hands joined).

This custom is back in fashion, and if you have one once of Irish, Scottish or Celtic background you may want to incorporate this ritual into your wedding ceremony. It is quite fun.

There are numerous ways to do so, and different words that can be spoken about it. And there are also varying stories as to the meaning and origin of  this ritual. Some say that it was used in ancient times to join a couple who could then live together for one-year and a day, then, if after that time, they still wanted to be together, they could be married. So it was really an engagement ritual. But today couples are using it as a symbol of their marriage and a nod to their heritage.

You can use anything you wish to wrap around the wrists. I had one groom who wove his own cord, macrame style, and another couple who had each other their mothers present the family tartans and used both tartans for the handfasting – joining the two clans. Then others who simply used ribbons, a nice scarf or a piece of material. There are not set rules for this ritual, feel free to make it your own! You can ask someone special to assist – friends or family, bridal party, anyone  you wish, and they can wrap the cord for you. It’s a nice way to involve folks in your ceremony.

After explaining the symbolism, I always add a word about not wrapping it too tightly – the couple are still individuals and they are joining together by choice.

This is just one of many ritual ideas that can be used in a ceremony to add character and express your individuality in your wedding.

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