There's some flexibility when it comes to this Old-World tradition.

By Laura Miller
September 18, 2019

From the verbiage on your invitations to the ceremony itself, your wedding day is filled with specific scripts and traditional words. An Irish handfasting ceremony is no different, except for the fact that they're generally considered a little less rigid than other traditions. In that sense, they're an especially great way to add symbolism and personalization to your big day.

The basic premise is the same for all handfasting ceremonies: The officiant gives a short explanation to the guests, the cords are produced, and the officiant asks a short series of questions to the couple as he wraps their clasped hands. Other than that, there's really no script you have to follow. Instead, you, your soon-to-be-spouse, and your officiant can craft a ceremony that feels special to you. If you're using colored ribbons or cords, mention the meaning behind each color. You could also incorporate your traditional vows into the handfasting script, which is a popular option. Have your officiant talk about intertwined hands as a focus, paralleling the hands of your partner and your future life's journey together.

Related: Irish Wedding Traditions for Your Big Day

If you're looking for ways to incorporate important people into your wedding, this is your perfect chance. If you're marrying later in life, your children can be the ones to bring the cords and perform the ceremony. Has your grandmother played an important role in your life? Ask her to bring a strip of her own wedding dress to use as this ceremonial binding. A mentor, an important high school teacher, or even a childhood best friend could all take part in this special moment—the ceremony itself is easy to learn and a perfect way to honor those who mean a great deal to you and your groom.

If you're a creative couple who likes to customize, you can't get any better than the Irish handfasting ceremony. Use your favorite material for cords, write your own ceremony script, and make your wedding ceremony a unique representation of who you are.

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