Many centuries ago, handfasting ceremonies were quite popular in the British Isles. In today’s world, handfasting is making a comeback among modern Pagan couples. Many Pagan and Wiccan couples choose to have a handfasting ceremony versus a traditional wedding ritual. Dr. John Patrick Keefe II, a wedding officiant in OKC, regularly performs handfasting ceremonies for his clients. Here are five tips to ensure your handfasting ceremony is truly magical.
Not very many people know about handfasting or what it entails. It is a good idea to plan far in advance so that your clergyperson and anyone else involved in the ceremony has time to familiarize themselves with the ritual. There is specific wording involved during this type of ceremony, and your officiant needs to study it so that he or she may perform your wedding successfully. You may also want to write your own vows, which takes time, so don’t put off doing it until the last minute.
Consider the Length of Your Ceremony
Some handfasting rituals can be quite lengthy. If you plan to have a longer ceremony, decide whether you want people to be sitting or standing. Most ceremonies of this nature involve guests standing around the couple in a circle. If you plan on doing this, consider having chairs available for the elderly, disabled, or mothers with young children. You really should keep the ritual to about an hour. If you have a large crowd in attendance, try to shorten this time to around 30 minutes if possible.
Think About Your Location
Many handfasting ceremonies are held outdoors, especially for Wiccan couples. If you plan to hold your ritual outside, make sure you research the location before your big day. Some parks and other public places require you to have a reservation or to fill out forms if a large crowd is going to be in attendance. You don’t want your handfasting ceremony to be interrupted by city officials.
Prepare Non-Pagan Friends/Relatives for the Ritual
If you have non-Pagan friends and family that you wish to invite to your handfasting ceremony, prep them in advance. Don’t ask them to participate in parts of the ritual that may make them feel uncomfortable, but do let them know that the ceremony edifies important aspects of your spiritual journey as a married couple. Depending on how Pagan you wish your handfasting to be, you might want to let your non-Pagan peeps know about any non-traditional activities that will be taking place. For example, you Christian Grandmother might not be down with calling the four quarters and the gods and goddesses. It’s ok if she wants to sit that portion of the ritual out.
Don’t Use Your handfasting as a Way to “Come Out”
So, you’ve decided that you are going to follow the path of Paganism or Witchcraft. Perhaps, you’ve known all along what your true calling is, however, you’ve never shared your spiritual journey with your family and friends. Your handfasting is not the time to do it. Consider the possibility of your non-Pagan family members being upset about your spiritual choices. You’re right, it shouldn’t matter how they feel, but what does matter is that you and your spouse have a wonderful handfasting ceremony, not one hijacked by close-minded friends and family.