+353 86 8524800 sharon@sharonmcmeel.ie

“I do.”  It seems simple enough!

Life has changed a lot this year for everyone, and with that we have seen a shift in what people want in their weddings. There is a more intimate vibe, from smaller weddings to elopements, or to having your wedding with a Zoom and large screen component added to your ceremony for a virtual guest attendance. 

From religious, to secular, to themed (my friend had a Predator- themed wedding a few years back, I kid you not, it was amazing), there are so many ways to personalise your wedding ceremony just for you.

One of our favourite components to add to a ceremony or elopement is handfasting. This is a Celtic tradition that goes back over 2000 years. It has become more popular again here in Ireland the last few years with many of our couples, and we certainly understand why.  It is the wrapping of your hands together with a handfasting cord to visually bind two lives into one- literally the tying of the knot!

There are many ways to incorporate this beautiful moment into your ceremony, and we are here to help with that. Here are a few basics on what this gorgeous tradition is all about:


  1. What is a Handfasting Cord? A handfasting cord is a piece of intertwined rope or even ribbon that is one to two metres long and is used in your ceremony to wrap the hands.  You can use a ribbon in a favourite or meaningful colour to you, or as we tend to do with our clients, we go to actual handfasting cord artisans that make them based on old tradition. These artisans have intertwined rope fibres dyed in different colours that, woven all together, symbolise different wishes and meanings based on the colour combination. They are a stunning way to visualise your commitment to one another with your friends and family. Plus, it is a keepsake afterwards for you both to frame and put up in your home as a daily reminder of your union.
  1. Vows Exchanged- there are usually a set of vows that you speak to each other either as the binding is taking place, or right after with your hands fully bound. These are different from your ring vows as these are usually promises made to one another, traditionally seven promises. We have several handfasting vows that we share with our clients to either use in the ceremony or help to kickstart their ideas on writing their own. This is a personal touch you can add to the moment, as these are promises you specifically want to make, and you then speak them aloud in front of your family and friends so everyone can be a part of your commitment.
  2. Participants in the Handfasting- Once again, you can cater this to make it personal and perfect for you. The celebrant can usually get it started for you, getting the cord wrapped once appropriately before others join in. Some have their parents or moms each wrap the cord around once; others have selected friends and family come up and wrap as well.  Some have the celebrant do the wrapping as they recite each promise, which is intimate and perfect for an elopement. Having people important to you being a part of this ceremony symbolises their blessings on you and being in support of your promise and commitment to one another, which is a special moment indeed.


  3. Explain the Handfasting Ceremony If Have Guests- inform your guests before you begin this rite what they are about to be a part of. The celebrant can usually go over the meaning and background with everyone so that they know what they are watching and bearing witness to. We, as wedding planners, would incorporate the handfasting into the ceremony with the celebrant and have everything set up prior, from the cord and cueing your special people that are taking part in the tying, to the background music as the cord is tied.  This all ensures that the ceremony is as memorable and meaningful as possible for you and your guests.

Overall, handfasting is a gorgeous, intimate way to visually express your love and commitment to one another during your wedding ceremony. It is more personal, as it is not a traditional ring vow or traditional/ religious wedding vow that you may also have in your day, but rather another piece of the ceremony that you truly can make unique to you.  

What’s old is new again- an old Celtic tradition in Ireland brought out in a fresh, new modern light.  Here is to all of you lovely couples looking forward to tying the knot.

We are here to help- Your Day. Your Story

Robyn xxx