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3 Easy Ways to Tie a Handfasting Cord - Choosing a Simple Knot

Published Tuesday, Mar. 29th, 2022

Popular handfasting knot alternatives for your wedding ceremony 



If you’ve been asked to perform a handfasting ritual as part of a wedding ceremony -- congratulations! 


Handfasting ceremonies are one of the most romantic and meaningful unity rituals around, which is why they’ve remained a popular part of the marriage rite for thousands of years. 


(Scroll down for sample Handfasting Ceremony Scripts)



There are lots of ways to tie a handfasting cord, and no wrong way… But some methods are definitely easier than others! 


If you’re planning a short ceremony, don’t have time to learn a complicated new ritual, or are new to handfasting or officiating in general, the knots below offer a great no-stress introduction.  


What is handfasting? Handfasting is a unique wedding custom with origins in traditional Celtic and Pagan rituals. An officiant or spiritual elder wraps a cord or ribbon around a couples’ hands during a wedding ceremony to symbolize commitment and spiritual union.


3 Simple ways to tie a handfasting cord  



1. The Simple Wedding Bow 


This simple method is used to symbolize the blessings and gifts of marriage and looks fantastic in wedding photos. In this option, a handfasting cord or ribbon is wrapped and knotted around a couple’s clasped hands in the same way you’d tie a ribbon around a gift box. 

Line drawings demonstrating how to tie a handfasting cord using a simple wedding bow

Line drawings demonstrating how to tie a handfasting cord using a simple wedding bow, parts 3 and 4 (final steps)

Illustrations by Jessica Levey



This approach works best when couples clasp both of their hands together, or stack them, one on top of each other. 


To complete the knot and bow: Drape the cord horizontally across the tops of the couple’s hands, cross the ends underneath and bring both back up to the top, tuck one end under the other, pull until they are snug, and then loop and knot to complete the bow. Quick and easy! 


Officiants: Order a Handfasting Certificate 

Product image of the AMM handfasting marriage certificate


2. The Wrap Around


The ‘wrap around’ is a no-hassle option that works well for new (and nervous) officiants and short ceremonies. In this option, the handfasting cord is wrapped – not tied – around the couple’s clasped hands, with the cord’s decorative ends draped over their wrists. Couples can use a single hand each, or both hands.

Line drawings demonstrating how to tie a handfasting cord using a simple wrap around alternative to the traditional knot

Illustrations by Jessica Levey



This method works well for short wedding ceremonies because the cord can be slipped on and off quickly. And officiants who are nervous about performing a handfasting in front of a crowd will love this option, because there are no complicated steps to remember! 


Although there’s technically no knot in this approach, we’ve included it here because it remains one of the most popular options with couples. 


3. The Infinity Knot


This simple knot is so popular that we wrote an entire article about how to do it! The infinity knot (sometimes called an endless knot) is an ancient knot used for centuries in marriage rituals, to symbolize unending love and a deep spiritual connection. 


How to Tie a Handfasting Cord -- The Infinity Knot


Drawing of an infinity knot for a handfasting cord

The infinity knot 



Follow the link above for step-by-step illustrated instructions on how to tie this timeless unity knot. 




Sample Handfasting Ceremony Scripts: 



See all Handfasting scripts in our Script Library




For more wedding inspiration... 


For more inspiration on how to add handfasting to your non denominational, secular, humanist, or Pagan wedding ceremony – or to an engagement or vow renewal ceremony – visit these previous articles from our blog!
See all Articles about Handfasting



Asked to perform a handfasting ceremony? 


AMM's custom Handfasting Kit

for couples and wedding officiants

Product image of the AMM American Marriage Ministries Handfasting Kit for engaged couples and wedding officiants


Say yes to magic and romance with one of the most exciting ceremony trends – the handfasting ceremony! 


This comprehensive handfasting kit is easy to use and comes with everything you'll need, including a copy of Handfasting, From Ancient Rituals to Modern Ceremonies, a copy of Navigating Your Wedding Ceremony, a hand-woven handfasting cord, a guide to tying an infinity knot, and more!  





Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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