Above: Aoife & Jimmy’s wedding
at Ballyvolane House
Photo by whitecatstudio.ie
Braided handfasting chord fully handmade by me
to the bride’s choice of colours
The wedding tradition of celtic handfasting has seen a resurgence since Prince Wiliam and Kate tied the knot as part of their lavish wedding ceremony in London in 2011.
Handfasting is a rural folkloric and neopagan ceremonial spiritual custom, gaining in popularity as modern couples seek to incorporate ancient traditions in their ceremony. Iinitially found in Ireland, Scotland and western European countries, the handfasting is a ceremony in which a couple hold a commitment ceremony by tying the hands with woven or braided chord.
Design 1 – your choice of 3 to 5 colors
Design 2 – natural chord with gold highlight
The handfasting ceremony was believed by many to be firstly conducted as an engagement ceremony, a temporary binding of one year and a day. If after this time the couple wished to stay together, the handfasting was repeated a second time as a marriage ceremony, and the couple were married for seven years.
If the couple wished to stay together after this time, the handfasting was repeated for another seven years or as a permanent marriage, depending on the couple’s wishes. Hence the term “seven year itch”.
In ancient times, the handfasting ceremony was conducted according to the local traditions. In modern times, a handfasting ceremony is part of a traditional wedding ceremony, and is written to suit the requirements of the couple.
There are unlimited variations in the ceremony wording, from the short, modern format lasting about 3-4 minutes, to the longer traditation format lasting anything from 10 minutes or longer.
If I am conducting your ceremony and you would like to make your own handfasting chord, I can give you creative ideas and explain some simple methods of making various styles.
Pictured are two of the many braided handfasting chords I have personally handmade. If you are unable to make or purchase your own handfasting chord I am happy to make you a handfasting chord in your choice of colors.
In the first example, each of the 5 strands of the braided chord are individually twisted to make the separate chords before being tied and braided together in a 5-part braided chord. Each end of the chord is then wrapped to form a tassle at each end. Each custom-made braided chord takes approx. 4 hours to make by hand.
Retail price of the 5-part braided handfasting chord as pictured above (top) is €69.50 (or approx. €20 materials only price if I am conducting your ceremony) which includes your very own choice of 5 colors, the symbolic meanings of your chosen colors for reciting in your ceremony, organza bag and postage anywhere within Ireland (if I am not conducting your ceremony).
In the second example, twisted chords of varying thickness are wrapped together and stitched in place, tassles made for the ends and sewn in for a very effective look. This type of chord takes about 3 hours to make and costs around €15 in materials.