• Images
  • Text
  • Find a Couple + Registry
GO
Christian Weddings

Is a Handfasting unity ceremony appropriate for Christians getting married?

I was considering a handfasting as a unity ceremony because I thought it would be meaningful for my FI, who is very interested in and connected to his Scottish heritage.  I also come from Irish and Scottish background although it is not a huge part of my life.

I am a little concerned that it is too much connected with Pagan and Wiccan marriage ceremonies (and it did indeed originate in pre-Cristian days), although the majority of wording options to be read during the actual tying of cords is just unity-related and not religiously-specific.  At least that's what I found when googling it.

There are also specifically Christian readings for handfasting available online, but I would rather skip it or do a different unity ceremony if it would be religiously insensitive or offensive to either Christian guests (the majority I think) or our guests of other varied religions.

Re: Is a Handfasting unity ceremony appropriate for Christians getting married?

  • A lot of Christian traditions come out of pagan roots.  It was the Christian communities way of trying to assimilate with the pagans.  So my answer is no, it shouldn't be offensive, and if it is, I hope that person doesn't put up a Christmas tree.
  • Lol!
    I like the thought behind your answer, that is a good point!
  • I don't really know what a handfasting is, and no, I'm not going to spend 30 seconds googling it. I understand it involves tying the bride and groom's hands together. I don't think this is REQUIRED in Anglican/Catholic (or mine, Anglican Catholic) ceremonies, but it is a sub-tradition for the Priest to tie the 2 right hands together with his stole. We have to basically shake hands 2 or 3 times in our Anglican ceremony.

    So, I don't think it's "offensive" to "Christians," if it's something routine for Anglicans and Catholics.

    TLDR: I agree with Drama.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_christian-weddings_is-a-handfasting-unity-ceremony-appropriate-for-christians-getting-married?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural Wedding BoardsForum:464687ae-7bc1-4360-9aea-999e11f1e1adDiscussion:cef24db9-c5e7-4042-be38-cf01cf7f211aPost:f3ee2daa-8637-466f-be49-50d74668ae90">Re: Is a Handfasting unity ceremony appropriate for Christians getting married?</a>:
    [QUOTE]I don't really know what a handfasting is, and no, I'm not going to spend 30 seconds googling it. I understand it involves tying the bride and groom's hands together. I don't think this is REQUIRED in Anglican/Catholic (or mine, Anglican Catholic) ceremonies, but it is a <strong>sub-tradition for the Priest to tie the 2 right hands together with his stole</strong>. We have to basically shake hands 2 or 3 times in our Anglican ceremony. So, I don't think it's "offensive" to "Christians," if it's something routine for Anglicans and Catholics. TLDR: I agree with Drama.
    Posted by ElisabethJoanne[/QUOTE]

    This is one of my favorite parts of the ceremony!  We had a traditional Episcopalian ceremony.
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic
  • Ultimately, I would just consult with your priest/pastor.  He/she will provide the best guidance as to what is allowed and what is not.  I find it hard to guess what is appropriate in these situations on my own.  
  • I don't see any issue with it at all. That said, I'm much more "liberal" than a lot of the girls here.

    I say talk about with your FI, pastor/officiant, and go from there!

    imageUntitled my read shelf:
    Faith (FaithCaitlin)'s book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_christian-weddings_is-a-handfasting-unity-ceremony-appropriate-for-christians-getting-married?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:464687ae-7bc1-4360-9aea-999e11f1e1adDiscussion:cef24db9-c5e7-4042-be38-cf01cf7f211aPost:aa778eab-37af-4202-a9c1-5b6205e98504">Re: Is a Handfasting unity ceremony appropriate for Christians getting married?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Ultimately,<strong> I would just consult with your priest/pastor.  He/she will provide the best guidance as to what is allowed and what is not.  I find it hard to guess what is appropriate in these situations on my own.  </strong>
    Posted by GJones27[/QUOTE]
     <div>agree</div>
    <img src="http://i271.photobucket.com/albums/jj123/sprtychick10/sabrearch5.jpg" width="200px" />


    <span style="color: #382110">my read shelf:</span>
    <a href="http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/6922246?shelf=read" title="Ashley's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)"><img border="0" alt="Ashley's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)" src="http://www.goodreads.com/images/badge/badge1.jpg"></a>



    <a href="http://www.thenest.com/?utm_source=ticker&utm_medium=HTML&utm_campaign=tickers" title="Recipes"><img src="http://global.thenest.com/tickers/tt148762.aspx" alt="Anniversary" border="0" /></a>

    <a href="http://daisypath.com/"><img src="http://dvcf.daisypath.com/jnzKm4.png" width="400" height="80" border="0" alt="Daisypath Vacation tickers" /></a>

    [IMG]http://i271.photobucket.com/albums/jj123/sprtychick10/BR6OZ_zps078f151c.png[/IMG]
  • We didn't do an official "handfasting" but our pastor did do the wrapping of our hands with his stole.  I love the pictures of it.

  • What's appropriate or offensive depends mostly on your circle of friends and family. Consult some of the significant people and go from there.
    PostCeremony-131.1
  • Havnt really heard of this much... I personally wouldnt be offended I would wonder what the backround of it is , I'm guessing it depends on the type of church and if its done their /ask the pastor...
    My friend was raised part jewish/part protestant but she had her Rabi do the ceremony that was both jewish/christian [messianic jewish so technically it was relativly the same ] .. I liked it and I understood why she did it that way...

    As long as you are doing something based your on beliefs and values it wouldnt be offensive since yes most Christian "holidays" were Paganistic at one time aka Christmas was actually in the spring ... that type of thing ...

    Love is All You Need
  • I think as long as you had an appropriate explanation in your program you would be fine.  If I didn't know it corrected to your heritage I might be offended.

    "Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained"-C.S. Lewis

    Married! May 27th, 2012

  • My FI's sister did it at her Baptist wedding ceremony and it was adorable because her 4 year old little boy got to help with the ceremony.
    Daisypath Graduation tickers Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • I think it seems neat.  Ditto everyone else who said "ask your officiant". 
  • Its a tough call when you're worried about causing friction at your wedding.  Yes, its your day and you should be able to do whatever is special to you, but you dont want to worry all day that the people you care about will misunderstand the handfasting and be offended by it.  I think there's a tendency for some people to associate handfasting with pagans, and pagans to many has come to mean anti-God.  Handfastings arose as a simple, practical way of binding two people together at a time when the population was a little more sparsely distributed, and not every village had a religious leader. The elder would handfast the couple, oftern declaring the marriage valid for a year and a day, during which time one of the many travelling priests would pass through the village and give his seal of approval to the arrangement.  In this way, couples could still be 'officially' together without waiting for a representative of the Church to turn up.
    From my perspective, I think its a beautiful part of a ceremony, and a great opportunity to add a personal flavour to the day with your own handfasting cords.
    Maybe if you told people beforehand what you had planned, even put together a short couple of paragraphs explaining what handfasting is and why its important to you, I'd hope that the people who care about you would respect your wishes enough to understand, and maybe even be a little curious to see a handfasting for themselves :-)
  • My concern would be less that it has pre-Christian roots (like Christmas trees, etc.) but that it seems to be the current-day Wiccan practice or at least is a common term for their religious ceremony.  I looked at a book with "handfast" in the title at a second-hand bookstore, thinking "Aw, what a neat way of phrasing it" ... then realized really quickly that it was a guide to deliberately Pagan wedding rites ("deliberately Pagan" as opposed to secular).  And I've seen it come up several times here on the Knot.  So that's my association with the term now.

    Having said that, I agree with PP about talking with your officiant and getting a sense of your local community.  If it's an important part of your FI's culture, just be really clear in the program about the "what" and "why" and be careful/deliberate with your terminology. 

    I'm not familiar with the wrapping-hands-with-stole tradition and it sounds lovely.  Consider it prayerfully, seek counsel, and if you decide to have one, do it with rejoicing before the Lord in the name of Jesus!  Smile
This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards