Published: Saturday, Feb. 13th, 2021
If you’ve been asked to perform a handfasting ritual as part of a wedding ceremony -- congratulations! Handfastings are one of the oldest -- and most customizable -- unity rituals around. This versatility, rooted in tradition, is how handfasting outlasts fleeting trends and changing cultures, and continues to appeal to couples of any era.
While there are many ways to tie a handfasting cord (and no wrong way!), one of the most popular choices is with an infinity knot. This simple knot is easy for an officiant or family member to create, and the result is decorative enough to display in the home as a wedding day keepsake.
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1. Find a cord or cords.
You can use one decorative cord, or multiple cords of varying colors.
Handfasting cords come in many colors and materials.
2. Have the couple face each other, with their hands resting one on top of the other.
They can use one hand each, or both hands.
Some couples choose to cross their right hands, as if shaking hands.
3. Drape the cord or cords over the couple’s hands.
If there are multiple cords, do this one at a time. Arrange them so that the ends fall equal distance on either side of the hands.
Keep the ends about even in length!
4. With your right hand, take hold of the front cord/s, and hold on to it firmly.
You won't let go for the duration of the knot, and this cord will remain stationary for the next few steps.
5. With your left hand, take hold of the back cord/s, and bring it forward, under the hands.
6. Pass the back cord over the top of the front cord, from left to right.
This crosses the cords for the first time.
7. Bring the back cord back under the front cord, from right to left.
This loops the back cord around the front.
The first loop!
8. Lift the back cord up, to the top of the hands, and tuck it under the length of cord that runs across the top of the hands. You will be tucking it under from the left, and pulling it up on the right.
Bring the cord up to the top of the hands...
...and then tuck it under, from left to right.
9. Lay the back cord over the back of the hands.
10. Let go of the back cord, then let go of the front cord. The knot is ready!
When it’s time, the couple can slide their hands out while the ends of the cord are pulled tight from both sides. This will create the unity knot, after the hands are free.
Have the couple slowly slide their hands free when it's time to remove the cord,
and pull the ends tight to secure the knot.
A beautiful infinity knot!
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.
For more inspiration on incorporating handfasting into a nondemoninational ceremony, secular or humanist ceremony, Pagan ceremony, or engagement ceremony, visit these previous articles from our blog and sample handfasting scripts from our library!
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 the illustrated planning guide 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!
Updated April 2022
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