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Variation on a Pagan Handfasting, Incorporating Multiple Generations

This Pagan Handfasting ceremony scripts is a great alternative to a traditional wedding. This ceremony includes detailed instructions on how to include the couple's families in the handfasting ceremony. We encourage you to use this script as is or build on this script for a more personalized ceremony for the couple.

Significant preparation is needed for this ritual, but it is beautiful and simple to do.

 

  1. To prepare, an altar should be set up at the chosen venue. Ideally, this will be set up around a fireplace or ceremonial fire. A few candles should be placed along the walls (if indoors), perhaps marking the four directions, or in jars (to block the wind) around the altar (if outside). Offerings, such as a chalice of wine and a small glass of honey, or other symbolic items of value, can be placed near the fire ahead of the ceremony.
  2. To start, a procession of friends and family will walk together from one partner's home, the full distance to the other partner's home—this can be varied to include walking from the couple's home to a parents or elders' home, or from any family home to any other meaningful venue (including a traditional wedding hall or unconventional outdoor site).
  3. One or both partners (and their elders) can walk in the procession. Traditionally, one partner will walk with their parents or elders, and all of the couple's invited friends and family, while the second partner waits at the venue with their parents or elders. (This can easily be varied to support the needs of older or disabled friends and family.)

 

The procession should include multiple generations. This includes:

 

  1. young children (including any children of their own, godchild, and the children of siblings and friends) sprinkling grain or petals,
  2. older children (including any children of their own, and children from their communities) carrying offerings for the fire,
  3. and members of the wedding party, carrying baked goods (including small cakes and cookies for after the ceremony). Cakes and cookies can be traditional desserts, holding cultural meaning for the couple. Members of the wedding party may choose to wear matching attire or jewelry that is symbolic of armor, shows of strength, or of loyalty and unity.
  4. While waiting at the wedding location, one partner's parents or elders (or chosen friends) can anoint the doorway with fragrant oils, or arrange fragrant flowers and herbs at the entrance to the ceremony site to greet the procession.
  5. The officiant can walk with the procession, for example if they are a close friend of the couple, or they can wait at the site for the procession to arrive.
  6. Upon arriving, the parent or elder who has anointed the door with oils (or arranged the flowers and herbs) will greet the procession while holding two candles, one in each hand.

 

The Handfasting Script

First Parent or Elder to second parent or elder

"Hello! Who are you and why have you come?"

The Second Parent or Elder responds from the Procession

Second Parent or Elder

"We've brought [PARTNER B], our greatest joy and love, to offer in union to yours, [PARTNER A]".

Note: To avoid "giving" one partner away, this language can be changed to say something like, "We've come with [PARTNER B], a great joy and light in our lives, to support them as they join in union with [PARTNER A]."

  1. The procession is welcomed into the venue or wedding site.
  2. All the guests carrying candles will set them in rows along the walls, or along the fireplace (if indoors), or around the front of the altar (if outside). If tables or shelves are available, these may be used to hold candles as well.
  3. A parent or elder will now make a small offering to the gods (this can be any spirits or gods the couple has chosen to invoke in their ceremony). The offering may be pouring wine or honey into the fire, or placing another symbolic item on the fire.
  4. Next, a second parent or elder will make a small offering, followed by each other parent or elder present, alternating between sides of the family.

Note: This may be a lot of candles! Be aware of fire hazards and wind, by using jars with high walls, or setting candles up on tables or benches.

Parent or elder

"We ask you to bless this union with prosperity, and resourcefulness in times of scarcity."first Parent or elder

"We ask you to bless this union with happiness, laughter, lightness, and a good sense of humor towards each other, and also towards themselves."second Parent or elder

"We ask you to bless this union with courage and optimism, that when one finds themselves in short supply, the other will help provide."first Parent or elder

"We ask you to bless this union with flexibility and honesty, that their love will continue to grow stronger each day, steady and pure in its foundation."

  • The partners then stand in front of the fireplace or ceremonial fire together side by side. They may kneel if they feel moved to, or remaining standing.

partner a

"Bless our union and the home we will build within this bond, the home we now carry with us, that my beloved will always know my love."

Making any offerings they've chosen: (Naming the spirits or gods/goddesses they seek blessing from).

Partner b

"Bless our union and the home we will build within this bond, the home we now carry with us, that my beloved will always know my love."

Making any offerings they've chosen: (Naming the spirits or gods/goddesses they seek blessing from).

  1. The children can now step forward to place their offerings, sprinkling petals or grains on the ground around the couple.
  2. The members of the wedding party will set their gifts of baked goods (and any other treats/beverages) on the tables, or along the front of the altar.
  3. Each guest will ask very simply, "May this union be bountiful and blessed with bountiful love."
  4. The couple will now turn, to face the guests that have gathered around them.
  5. The officiant steps forward, and asks the couple if they agree to handfasting. The couple answers.

Officiant:

"[PARTNER A] and [PARTNER B], do you wish to be handfasted?"BOTH Partners, in unison

"We do."Officiant

"And do you agree to do no harm to one another?"BOTH Partners, in unison

"We agree to do no harm."Officiant

"[PARTNER A] and [PARTNER B], and do you agree to be bound together in love, to commit to one another, to support each other as you both continue growing, meeting both challenges and joys, together?BOTH Partners, in unison

"We do."

  • The officiant asks them to take each other's hands, which they do.

Note: If they have prepared something to say or read to one another, they can do this now, but it is not necessary.

  • If rings are to be exchanged, they can do this now, under the officiant's direction.

For example, simply say, "You may now exchange the rings you have brought for each other." Or, "You may now share the words you've written with each other. [PARTNER A], please go first."

  1. After the rings and words have been exchanged, the officiant will step toward the couple with the handfasting cord or ribbon.
  2. The couple, still holding hands, will hold them up so that the cord can be wrapped.

Officiant, as they wrap the cord or ribbon

"In the warmth of this fire and the warmth of this group, with the blessings of spirits and gods, and of all those you call family and friends, I wrap this cord. Let it be a tangible symbol of your choice, and of your binding love and devotion. May your union be blessed again and again, with each new day."

  • The officiant ties the final knot (or makes the last wrap around their wrists with the cord), and announces them handfasted, encouraging them to kiss or embrace (as the couple wishes).

officiant to the couple

"You are now handfasted, united for as long as love and life shall last! Kiss!"

  1. When the couple has kissed or embraced, the cord can be slipped off for safe keeping.
  2. The officiant will call the ceremony to a close, thanking the spirits and gods for their blessings, and invite the guests to celebrate.

officiant to the gathering

"Before we part, we thank the spirits and gods (names can be said here) for joining us here, for filling this space with joy, for blessing this union. We thank you! And we bid you farewell. Friends and family, thank you for your love and support. This ceremony is complete! Let's celebrate!"

The guests may now enjoy the desserts and beverages!



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