Handfasting Ceremony

Convocation

Long before organized religion existed, couples got married. Their wedding ceremonies were based on cultural traditions as well as a reverence for the life sustaining forces of sky and earth. Many of our ancient ancestors’ customs have been carried over into today’s wedding ceremonies – including carrying bouquets of flowers, sharing wine and cake, throwing grains of rice, carrying the bride over the threshold, the bride’s garter and the term ”Tying the Knot”. Today’s handfasting ceremony is fashioned after the traditions of our past. It pays tribute to our dependence upon each other as well as the forces of nature. Without an understanding and reverence for these things, humankind would not exist.

It is indeed wonderful that two best friends, (Bride) and (Groom), have come together this day, before their friends and family, to declare their love and friendship and to sanctify their relationship with marriage.

Officiant: Welcome (Bride) and (Groom) to this circle which has been cast as a place where you will be joined in spirit.

Turning to the North:

Spirits of the North whose element is earth, give your blessings to (Bride) and (Groom) who are about to be handfasted. Grant to their union your gifts of stability, strength and fertility.

 

Turning to the East:

Spirits of the east whose element is air, give your blessings to (Bride) and (Groom) who are about to be handfasted. Grant to their union your gifts of wisdom and understanding.

 

Turning to the south:

Spirits of the South whose element is fire, Give your blessings to (Bride) and (Groom) who are about to be handfasted. Grant to their union your gifts of Love, Passion and creativity.

 

Turning to the West:

Spirits of the West whose element is water, Give your blessings to (Bride) and (Groom) who are about to be handfasted. Grant to their union your gifts of intuition and inspiration.

 

At the Center:

Now do we stand in the center of the circle, where all things meets their opposites; Male and female, Darkness and light, Spirit and matter, God and Goddess, That which makes each whole and complete, just as you (Bride) and (Groom) are about to join as one.

 

To Bride

(Bride), do you choose (Groom) to be your life companion, to share openly with him, to speak truthfully and lovingly to him, to accept him fully as he is and delight in who he is becoming, to respect his uniqueness and compassionately encourage and support him through all of the changes of your years together?

 

Bride:

I do.

 

To Groom

(Groom), do you choose (Bride) to be your life companion, to share your life openly with her, to speak truthfully and lovingly to her, to accept her fully as she is and delight in who she is becoming, to respect her uniqueness and compassionately encourage and support her through all of the changes of your years together?

 

Groom:

I do.

 

Having expressed your intentions, may the light of love, respect and understanding shine eternally for you.

 

Officiant holds up a plate of cakes:

As a symbol of this, (Bride), I offer these cakes which represent the female aspect of life. The bride accepts the cakes, feeds one to the groom, and then takes a bite of one herself. From this day, and through this union, (Groom) will come to know the Goddess through (Bride).

 

Officiant holds up the Goblet of wine:

Likewise, as a symbol of this, I offer this wine as a symbol of the male aspect of life. The groom accepts the wine, passes it to the bride who drinks from it and passes it back. The groom then takes a drink himself. From this day, and through this union, (Bride) will come to know the God through (Groom).

 

Love is a friendship that has caught fire. It is the quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. it is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses. Love is content with the present, it hopes for the future but does not brood over the past. It is the day in day out chronicle of irritations, problems, compromises, small disappointments, big victories and working toward common goals. If you have love in your life, it can make up for many things that you lack. If you do not have love, no matter what else there is, it isn’t enough.

 

May the promises you make to each other be lived out to the end of your lives in an atmosphere of profoundest joy.

 

Facing each other, the couple will join hands as the Officiant takes up the ribbon and loosely ties their hands together to form the True Lover’s Knot.

Now as I have tied this true lover’s knot, you two are joined as one. Gentle are the bonds of this union. Pull one way and the bonds are loosened, pull the other way and the bonds are strengthened. Now may you speak your vows.

 

(Groom), these are my promises to you: that I will love you freely, as the sky loves the bird, as the sunset loves the early evening. That I will love you grandly, with my tender fine emotions, with my loving words and all my actions. That I will love you purely, with my honour, and my knowing, with all the best intentions of my being. That I will love you joyfully, with my body, with my laughter, with my foolishness and playing. That I will love you truly, with my finest kindness and my deepest care. That I will love you always, now, from this day forward. Seamless, endless and forever.

 

(Bride), these are my promises to you: that I will love you freely, as the sky loves the bird, as the sunset loves the early evening. That I will love you grandly, with my tender fine emotions, with my loving words and all my actions. That I will love you purely, with my honour, and my knowing, with all the best intentions of my being. That I will love you joyfully, with my body, with my laughter, with my foolishness and playing. That I will love you truly, with my finest kindness and my deepest care. That I will love you always, now, from this day forward. Seamless, endless and forever.

 

After the exchange of the vows, the Officiant will help the couple slip their hands out of the true lover’s knot without untying it. The Officiant hands the ribbon to the bride and says:

 

Through this rite, within this circle, you two have been joined in spirit. Keep this knot as a token of your spiritual bonds, and as a visible symbol of these bonds you shall wear these rings.

 

Ring Blessing:

Rings are an ancient symbol, blessed and simple. Round like the sun, like the eye, like arms that embrace. Circles for love that is given comes back around again and again. Therefore, may these symbols remind you that your love, like the sun, illuminates; Your love, like the eye, must see clearly; and your love, like arms that embrace, is a grace upon this world.

 

(Groom) this ring is a token of my endless and abiding love, and it is you whom I am choosing to encircle with that love. Wear it in health because you have healed me. Wear it in joy because you have made my heart happy. Wear it in peace because you have brought me serenity. Wear it in bliss because you have brought me true grace.

 

(Bride) this ring is a token of my endless and abiding love, and it is you whom I am choosing to encircle with that love. Wear it in health because you have healed me. Wear it in joy because you have made my heart happy. Wear it in peace because you have brought me serenity. Wear it in bliss because you have brought me true grace.

 

Now you will feel no rain, for each will be a shelter to the other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to each other. Now there is no loneliness, for each of you will be companion to the other. Now you are two bodies, but there is only one life before you. Go now to your dwelling place to enter into your days together.

May your days be good and long upon the Earth.

 

As kisses are messengers of love, kiss now, and may you have joy and blessings always!

 

Friends and Family, I now present to you (Groom) and (Bride) (Last Name).

 

The couple walks to the Eastern Quarter with arms around each other, jump the broom and begin their new life together.