A Handfasting truly is the ultimate hippy wedding. With a Handfasting you have total freedom. You can have it where you like, when you like, invite whomever you like and dress in any which way you choose. You don’t even have to have a special officiate, you can have a friend host the ceremony for you. Bliss!
So, the origins of Handfasting – where does it come from?
I have read many accounts of claims on where the original Handfasting ceremonies originated from. I have heard tales from paganism & Christians depicting different ceremonies. The one that I like the most though and that I choose to believe is that the handfasting originating in Scotland,was originally for the poor and those in forbidden relationships. If you simply could not afford to have the big lavish public church weddings that everyone else could but you still wanted to declare your love for one another, a handfasting was the way forward. Or, two people from completely different backgrounds, forbidden to be in a relationship but in love and wanting to marry anyways and defy those telling them it was not possible. To me this is a much more romantic notion. You cannot help it if you are less fortunate than others. Nor can you help who you fall in love with! Love is a strange but oh so strong and special thing. Celebrate your love. Who cares what others think!!!
You will have heard the phrase “take each other’s hand in marriage” Well, that is exactly what a Handfasting is. It is a wedding where one of the elements is to bind the hands of the lovers together in a pledge of love.
Handfastings have been around for many years and is not a new thing nor is it strictly for hippy’s or pagans. Absolutely anyone can be Handfasted if that is what they want.
Handfastings can be as simple or as complicated as you like and you can write your own ceremony or ask someone to do it for you. There are usually 2 parts to a Handfasting;
1) The first ceremony – this ceremony is looked upon as the betrothal period. The engagement or a trial period if you will and lasts for a year and a day. This is a way of making sure that you are happy to make the big commitment and pledge your love to one another and pledge to spend forever with someone. Also the period of a year and a day was to ensure that the property of the individuals remained theirs and theirs alone as the year and one day used to be the period before you became common law spouses. After that year and one day, what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is….yours of course!
2) The main ceremony – held after the betrothal period of the year and one day. This doesn’t have to be done exactly a year and a day later, as who knows what people have on in their lives and so this can be done any period of time after.
Not everyone has 2 ceremonies and that is not a problem, it is entirely up to each individual couple. As soon as you decide and have a ceremony, congratulations you hippy lovelies, you are now hippy man and wife, or man and man or woman and woman. Love is not prejudiced!
The head hippy and I got handfasted back in 2010 and when I say that you can have your handfasting anywhere, I meant it. Let me briefly tell you our story;
Being hippy’s neither Simon or I felt like the conventional and traditional marriage was for us and so, through some pagan friends of ours, we were introduced to the concept of a handfasting. I immediately fell in love with the idea and the head hippy thought it sounded great and so, we started to seriously think about it.. eeek! The more we spoke about it the more we decided that it was what we wanted. There was no proposal, no flowers and no ring (the rings came later), just 2 people very much in love deciding that they want to declare their love for one another and spend forever together.
We weren’t quite sure how we wanted to do it, where we wanted to do it or even who to invite. Gosh what difficult decisions to make. Who would have thought little things like this would have been harder than making the decision to spend forever together.
I guess after some thought it was actually quite easy;
Where – Cornwall. I had never been and Sy loves the place after numerous times away with his mum. He told me about this wonderful little place right near the bottom called Porth Curno, with its wonderful little beach and a hidden cove. I was hooked. Done – the cove in Porth Curno it would be!
When – well, this we had trouble deciding and so after a few wee drinkies, we grabbed the calendar, closed our eyes, opened a random month and pointed. 22nd July 2010 – sorted!
Who – we umed and ahed about how many people to invite and so we decided that because this would be the smaller ceremony, we wanted our closest friends only.
The preparations began – excited!
First, we called my Dad – a little bit of a traditionalist, he of course wanted me to have what he calls a proper wedding so that he could walk me down the aisle. I told him that when we have the 2nd handfasting, he can still walk me to Simon. He was appeased. Time for him to talk to Sy (luckily they got on)….. Sy hands the phone back to me only for my Dad to tell me that Sy had told him that I had tricked him into it all by getting him drunk. Then said good girl! Gits, the pair of them 🙂
Next, we started the ball rolling telling and inviting our friends. Some of them were just as excited as we were!
One very special invite had to be made – Ben. Sy’s best friend. We wanted to ask him to do us the honour of hosting the ceremony for us and essentially be our priest. He agreed and I could not think of a better person. He was wonderful.
We then started to look at where we could stay. It was quite a distance to go and so we thought that we would make a holiday out of it. We looked at some apartments and got some prices together. We ended up renting a whole apartment block for us all to stay in for the week. Wonderful views of the sea and surrounding area and a short walk to the beach, we were on a roll.
So, the date was set, the accommodation booked and the venue not booked as not necessary but tide times checked – all that was left was for the clothing and the ceremony.
The handfasting attire – no set dress code or theme of any kind as we wanted people to be happy and comfortable. Me on the other hand, I wanted a dress! What bride doesn’t… One of my very good friends Jaime just so happened to be an excellent dress maker and she happily agreed to make my dress for me. We went shopping for fabrics and bells and ribbons and she was away. Measurement were taken and my wonderful dress was born. I loved this dress so much and will treasure it forever! I may even wear it again at some point however I think it is a little odd to do the housework in it. Isn’t it?!?
Sy also wanted something made especially and so Jaime made him a long tunic style top, based on a Kaftan that he could wear over his flares. Done!
Our clothes were amazing. They were comfortable, they were bright, they were beautiful and most of all they were very us!
Lastly was the ceremony – after extensive research online on the kind of things said, our very own beautiful ceremony came to be. I always tear up when I think about it.
Everything was prepared and so we now had to wait……… It felt like such a long wait!
Packed and ready to go a few days before, away we went on our 5 hour drive, off to meet the 16 very special friends that we had invited to share our celebrations with us. We arrived and the place was amazing. We picked up our keys and worked out where everyone would stay. Perfect…
We had a few days to kill and so we just chillaxed, took in a few sights, went to a few little villages and had a really nice time. There is nothing better than time away with your closest friends. The week provided many memories that I will treasure for life. The weather was great and the company even better! We ate our meals together cooked in our apartment and it was good…. I could get used to this I thought….
The morning of the ceremony arrived – we were so excited. I said goodbye to Sy and went down to Jaime’s apartment where it was time to get ready. Wow… I was shaking with excitement and could not wipe the smile from my face.
My dress went on, my hair was done and Sokyo had made me a wonderful crown of flowers – I felt wonderful..
Both Simon and I were so excited and unfortunately, when we get excited, it seems our stomachs do also and we both had a few issues…. poop stop tablets were purchased for us. Funny now and funny at the time actually. After a little time, all was calm. Whilst we were having our troubles, we had someone run down and check the tides for us and ooopps. The tide was coming in – shit – disaster, now what would we do…..we have this wonderful cove picked and now if we wanted to get there we would have to swim.
Jaime came to the rescue! On the way she had passed a wonderful stone circle that was open to the public. Phew!
Speaking to Sy through the door, we decided that the Merry Maidens Stone Circle was the place and that we should go.. Sy went first so that we didn’t see each other and I followed at the end of the convoy.
Not knowing what to expect as we hadn’t been there before I was a little worried but, no need. It was perfect! The weather was fine, and the area empty. It was as if it knew we were coming.
As I walked from the car to the circle I could see Sy waiting with our friends standing in a circle around him and Ben. Everyone looked stunning! I got to my wonderful Sy and almost started crying there and then. Ben started the ceremony. As it was written by Sy and myself there were of course some laughs thrown in but jokes aside, the words were heartfelt and just right. I cried, our hands were bound and I was Mrs Hippy. We had 2 of our friends bring the rings to us that were held on the ribbon that our hands were bound with. Dan who has been a cherished friend for a very long time and crazy beautiful Jaime who made our clothes and who will be our friend always.
I swear that the stones really did know that we were coming and protecting us from the public as just as the ceremony finished and we were hugging everyone, people started to emerge from the trees. Dog walkers and walkers alike. They must have been watching from the tree line waiting for us to finish. We even had some nutty chick come over to us and ask for a picture of us as she has watched and thought that it was just wonderful.
We carried on the celebrations afterwards with a nice big BBQ and drink back at the apartments block. The after we went down to the beach in the evening and spent a few hours under the clear sky and the bright stars.
What a perfect end to the perfect day. Will be hard to top!!!