Handfasting Ceremony

Photo by Gavin Coughlan
Performing handfasting with Coastal Ceremonies
Photo by Casey Photography

Handfasting Ceremonies

A Handfasting Ceremony is a gorgeous tradition, deeply rooted in Irish history which Coastal Ceremonies can include at your dream Irish wedding. In recent years, there has been a growing popularity with incorporating old Irish marriage traditions into wedding ceremonies.

What is a Celtic Handfasting Ceremony

A Handfasting Ceremony is where the term “tie the knot” comes from, and many couples are choosing to have a handfasting ceremony during their wedding. If you are both interested in including an old Irish tradition into your wedding ceremony then perhaps the Handfasting Ceremony is what you are looking for. Get in touch with Coastal Ceremonies today to learn more about our Handfasting Ceremony services.

History of Handfasting Ceremonies

The Hand Fasting Ceremony dates back to ancient Celtic times, and is where we get the phrase ‘tying the knot’. It is one of the oldest forms of marriage under Brehon Law and dates back to around 7000 BC. Originally this fasting ceremony was performed by a druid priest in ancient Ireland.


This form of commitment generally lasted for a period of a year and a day after which the couples could renew their vows for a further year and a day, marry or separate. It all depended on how they got on for the year!

Handfasting as a Ritual

An alternative Irish wedding day typically features this enhancement where the couple can be photographed with clasped hands during their wedding ceremony. Following the vows and the ring exchange is typically when the handfasting ceremony takes place. Using cord or colourful ribbon tied around their hands, the Celebrant declares that the couples’ ‘hands are bound in a union of love and trust’.


It is very special to see a couple declare their intention to marry and love their partner forever in this traditional Irish symbolic enhancement. It is a touching ritual, the strength and gentleness of the tied ribbons mirroring the strength and tenderness of a marriage. Family members or small children can be invited to present the chosen scarf, rope, cord or ribbons.

The newly married couple can then frame their new Celtic hand binding garlands and hang them in their favourite place, forever reminding them of their commitment, their bond, their love.

Hand Fasting Ceremony at with Coastal Ceremonies
Photo by Awake and Dreaming

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Symbolic Materials

Our celebrants love including a Celtic handfasting in our ceremonies and have used anything from ribbons to scarves to caving ropes, and even dog leads! Many couples make their own by combining pieces of material symbolising different stages of their lives; lace from a grandmother’s wedding dress, material from a favourite clothing item, a college scarf. The options for materials for the handfasting ceremonies are endless.

We can also improvise if the groom happens to break their wrist a few days before the ceremony (these things happen sometimes!) With Coastal Ceremonies, the show will always go on and we won’t let anything ruin your special day.

Performing handfasting ceremony with Coastal Ceremonies
Photo by Will-O’Reilly

Plan Your Dream Irish Wedding

The wonderful thing about a handfasting ritual is that it can be incorporated into any ceremony. Whether you are renewing your vows or eloping in Ireland then Coastal Ceremonies can provide you with a magical handfasting ceremony that you will never forget.


Coastal Ceremonies are a passionate and professional team who aim to make your wedding ceremony as memorable as possible. We can provide the perfect celebrant for your ceremony.


When you work with Coastal Ceremonies, you are guaranteed a high quality service from a team of experienced celebrants who aim to make your wedding ceremony a success. We love including enhancements and rituals to our ceremonies and along with a celtic handfasting, we can also include a sand ceremony, candle ceremony, ring warming, love letter and wine box and much more. Whatever you have both dreamed of for your ceremony we are here to make it happen.


If you are seeking more information about our celebrancy services then feel free to get in touch today on info@coastalceremonies.ie.


“When I saw you I fell in love, and you smiled because you knew.”

~ Arrigo Boito