Upon a windswept highland moor, two young lovers escape into the night….

In a sacred grove, the priest awaits them next to a bubbling brook, as the moon lends her light to the night…

The lovers present their handfasting cord and promises, they kneel and they are bound forever….

The secret wedding from Braveheart is one of my favourite and possibly the best-known handfastings in popular culture. It speaks to me of the deep heritage, the mystery and the romance that should be present at every wedding ceremony.

Handfastings have appeared in many historic and fantasy films and series, Game of Thrones, Outlander, Vikings and a few of the Robin Hood films.

But handfastings are not only a romantic throwback to days gone by or a chance to dress up like some Tolkien hero!

A handfasting is how our ancestors married for thousands of years before the modern marriage laws came in during the 1800s.

Across the Celtic lands, couples were certainly making their promises in this way, long before the Roman invasion of Britain.

If you happened to watch the recent royal weddings you will have seen a remnant of the handfasting ceremony there in the middle of a modern Christian service.

During my time as an Anglican priest, I conducted weddings and the most moving part was the binding together of the couple and although no knot is tied, the prayer that says ‘what God has joined let no one undo’ harks back to when handfastings were the norm.

For me, a handfasting ceremony is a beautiful ritual that cuts through time to connect us to our ancestors.

In addition, it cuts across beliefs, it isn’t something that excludes anyone, regardless of belief everyone can embrace a celebration of love, hope and joy.

So whether you’re Pagan, Christian, Heathen, Wiccan, Druid or none of these, a handfasting is an amazing way to celebrate your commitment to your beloved.

Maybe you just love nature, maybe you just want to embrace your heritage or maybe just want a ceremony to amaze your family and friends.

Most of the ceremonies that I officiate at are unique to the couple, I often blend prayers or blessings from different traditions, in one ceremony we had Irish, native American and traditional Christian words all mixed in with a nature-based ritual, it was awesome!

As I get to know you as a couple, we can work together to tailor the ceremony to make it relevant to you, perhaps you are bikers, you have a love of Vikings or Outlander, perhaps you just want a ceremony that reflects you as a couple and the unique blend that you both bring to each other… my role is to bring this all together for you.

I’m so grateful to live in a time and place where our ceremonies can reflect those at their centre. We no longer have to accept words out of a book that has no bearing on our lives, we no longer have to bend the knee to social expectations and the possibilities are endless…..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *