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A Handfasting Ceremony 

Welcoming/Introduction

Beloved family and friends, we are here to celebrate and bless Barre & Jason as they begin their married life together. Their love for one another is not new, but today they have chosen to affirm their love in the commitment and promises of marriage, and that is new. Marriage has its ups and downs, its trials and its triumphs. With full understanding of this, Barre & Jason have come here today to be joined as one in marriage. By our presence here, we are encouraging them in their days ahead, as they grow together in love.

Who is presenting Barre on behalf of her family and ancestors?

Mother or Father:   “I am, with the blessing of her family.”

Let us pray:   Gracious God of the universe, we thank you for the gift of life and for the joy that (insert names)  have found in each other.  We pray that you remain with them as a partner in their marriage. Let nothing come between them and keep them loving and true to each other. Keep them safe from all that would hurt them in any way. Grant to them, and to us all, love and understanding in all of our days. Amen

 

Foundation/Charge to the Couple

With full awareness, know that within this gathering, the promises made today and the ties that are bound here greatly strengthen your union and will cross the years and lives of each soul's growth, name and name, do you still seek to enter this estate?  Please answer “We do.”  

Couple: We do.

Please join hands. These are the hands of your best friend, full of love for you. These are the hands that will work long hours beside yours, as together you build your future. These are the hands that will love and cherish you through the years and will comfort you like no other.  These are the hands that will wipe the tears of sorrow and tears of joy from your eyes. May name and name see their 4 hands as healer, protector, shelter and guide.

 

The Promises

Before (Name and Name) make their vows, (Groom's Name / Bride's Name) would like to express his / her thoughts to (Parents' Names).

(Bride's Name), do you take (Groom's Name), to be your lawful wedded husband? Do you promise God, the universe, (Groom's Name) and all of us here that from this point forward, your arms may be his shelter? Do you promise to support him and nourish him and to love and honor him? If so, please answer “I do.”

(Groom's Name), do you take (Bride's Name), to be your lawful wedded wife? Do you promise God, the universe, (Bride's Name) and all of us here that from this point forward, your arms may be her shelter? Do you promise to support her and nourish her and to love and honor her? If so, please answer “I do.”

And now,  (Bride's Name and Groom's Name) have some personal words to say to each other.

 

(Ring Bearer), will you please bring the rings forward?

Blessing of the Rings 

Gracious Spirit, who created each of us to love and to be loved by You and by others, we pray your blessings on these rings and on (Bride and Groom's Names) who will wear them. May there be grace in times of conflict, an ability to communicate during misunderstandings and a deep sense of belonging to each other. May you protect them from all harm, provide for their needs, console them in their sorrows, lift them with joy.  We ask that these rings hold and carry these dreams, remind them of the endless circle of their union to each other, and be a beautiful reflection of their sacred vows to each other, now and always. Please bless them in the name of the Three in One, Creator, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Vows/Ring Ceremony

(Groom's Name), as a token of your love and your desire to be united in heart and soul, you may place a ring on (Bride's Name) finger and repeat after me:

(Bride's Name), with this ring

I take you for my wife

Take this ring as a sign

Of my everlasting

And unconditional love.

With all that I am

And all that I have

From this day forward

As your husband.

(Bride's Name), as a token of your love and your desire to be united in heart and soul, you may place a ring on (Groom's Name) finger and repeat after me:

(Groom's Name), with this ring

I take you for my husband

Take this ring as a sign

Of my everlasting

And unconditional love.

With all that I am

And all that I have

From this day forward

As your wife.

Love freely given has no giver and no receiver. You are each the giver and the receiver. The wedding ring is a symbol, in visible form, of the unbroken circle of your love, so that wherever you go, you may always return to your shared life together. May these rings always call to mind the power of your love.

 

 

Handfasting

(Cord Carrier), will you please bring the Handfasting Cord forward?

(Bride and Groom's Names) have chosen to incorporate the ancient Celtic ritual of Handfasting into their wedding ceremony today as a symbol of their binding their lives together in the union of matrimony.  In ancient times in the British Isles it was performed by a priest or priestess, who would invoke the energies of the four natural elements to create a sacred space in which the couple could be joined before family, friends and God.

The Handfasting ceremony is non-sectarian and as such does not in any way conflict with any religious beliefs. It is often chosen by couples instead of the unity candle, or other similar ceremonies which represent like symbolisms and sentiments.

(Bride and Groom's Names), will you honor and respect one another, and seek to never break that honor?

Bride and Groom: “We will.” (The first loop is draped over the couple’s hands.)

And so, the first binding is made.

Will you share each other’s pain and seek to ease it?

Bride and Groom:  “We will.” (The second loop is draped over the couple’s hands.)

And so, the binding is made.

Will you share the burdens of each so that your spirits may grow in this union?

Bride and Groom:  “We will.” (The third loop is draped over the couple’s hands)

And so, the binding is made.

(Bride and Groom's Names) , as your hands are bound together now, so your lives and spirits are joined in a union of love and trust. Above you are the stars and below you is the earth. Like the stars your love should be a constant source of light and like the earth, a firm foundation from which to grow.

 

Address to Those Assembled

Will you who have witnessed these promises do all in your power to uphold these two persons in their marriage? If so, answer “we will.”

People: “We will!”

 

Invoking the Blessings of the Archangels

In many cultures it is believed that the human soul shares characteristics with all things divine, and indeed that our souls are sparks from the Divine.

It is this belief which assigned virtues to the four cardinal directions;

East, South, West and North.

It is according to this belief that we align ourselves with these elements and ask for blessings from the archangels associated with the four cardinal directions. Each of these blessings emphasizes those things which will help you build a happy and successful union.

 

Holy Archangel Raphael, we call to you to spread above us your golden wings and bless this union with the gifts of the East and the element of Air, for openness and breath, communication of the heart and purity of the mind and body. From the east you receive the gift of a new beginning with the rising of each Sun, and the understanding that each day is a new opportunity for growth.

 

Holy Archangel Michael, we call to you to spread above us your crimson wings and bless this union with the gifts of the South and the element of fire, for energy, passion, creativity and the warmth of a loving home. From the fire within you generate light, which you will share with one another in even the darkest of times.

 

Holy Archangel Gabriel, we call to you to spread above us your azure wings and bless this union with the gifts of the West and the element of water, for your capacity to feel emotion. In marriage you offer absolute trust to one another and vow to keep your hearts open in sorrow as well as joy.

 

Holy Archangel Uriel, we call to you to spread above us your verdant wings and bless this union with the gifts of the North and the element of earth, which provides sustenance, fertility and security. The earth will feed and enrich you and help you to build a stable home to which you may always return.

 

 

Knotting The Cords

 

The three cords on this wooden piece represent the separate lives of (Bride and Groom's Names and any children)  They represent all that you are and all that you will ever be as individuals. They signify your lives before today. (Bride and Groom's Names and any children) will now weave the cords together as a symbol of their blended lives and the creation of a new family.

(Bride and Groom), do you both promise to work together as (child or children's names) parents, to honor and protect them and provide for them as to the best of your ability, to make their home a haven where trust, love and laughter are abundant? You may respond with “we do.”

Addressed to Children

 

(Names  of children), do you promise to love and honor your parents? Do you promise to be supportive and encourage their new life together? You may respond with “we do.”

 

 

OPTIONAL

St Michael blessing

(Bride and Groom's Names) have requested a blessing in honor of St. Michael, who protects those in law enforcement, the sick and the suffering. It seems appropriate for all who are gathered here.

“Archangel Michael, please take my hand and protect me from all of the evil and danger in the world. Please give me the courage and strength necessary for me to face any challenges. Surround me in your light of protection throughout my day and implant a bright light within me that I can touch the lives of others. Wrap me in your mighty wings, knowing that I am shielded by your powerful love, and my heart shall not fear. These things we pray in the name of the Three in One, Creator, Son and Holy Spirit.” Amen

 

 

Pronouncement & Final Blessings

Now that (Bride and Groom's Names) have given themselves to each other by solemn vows, and exchanging rings as a symbol of joining their lives together as one before God and those of us present here today, it is with great pleasure as an ordained priest, and by the power vested in me by God and the state of _______, I now pronounce that they are husband and wife. Kisses are messengers of love, and so I invite you to kiss now and let soul meet soul on each other’s lips.

I now present to you for the first time as a married couple… Mr. & Mrs. _______!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Optional Blessing

"The Weaving of Love"

Copyright  1998, Rev. Cait Finnegan

This knotwork of love that you weave today

Will guide you through life as you go your way

Should the road become difficult just stop and say:

"I do take you, Love, again today."

 

And these vows, before God, that you proclaim here,

Shall strengthen the bond that you build through the years. 

(or “that you’ve built through the years)

So we witness with joy, as family or friends,

And rejoice in these words: real love never ends.

 

With your hands clasped together, God's blessing be yours!

With your hearts weaved together, God's blessing be yours!

With your circle around you, God's blessing be yours!

We pray that forever, God's blessing be yours!

And, should the road become rocky just stop and say:

"I do take you, Love, again today."

In addition to the above many others Handfasting Blessings and Rituals can be found on YouTube, as well as instructions for tying Celtic knots which can be kept by the couples as a reminder of this day and their vows.