Why Choose a Handfasting?
Some couples choose handfastings because they want something personal to them. Many non-church goers are uncomfortable with the idea of a church wedding that feels hypocritical, yet want something more than the production-line of the Registry Office. A Handfasting is an ideal way to have a ceremony that is as personal and elaborate as you choose.
Other couples want to make a commitment to each other without having the legality and complexity of a legal partnership. For these, the handfasting is an ideal way to share their declaration of love with their friends, and of course, enjoy a great party!
Do I have to be Pagan or Wiccan?
No. The handfasting is a personal ceremony based on your beliefs, and what is important to you. I have performed ceremonies for Christians, Hindus and atheists (and Pagans!). The day is all about you.
Where Can I Get Handfasted?
You can get handfasted absolutely anywhere, provided you have the landowners permission. I have performed handfastings in many varied locations, including the middle of rivers, a shop, on top of hills, in ancient hillforts, amongst stone circles, in pub gardens, in hotel gardens, in private gardens, in forests, moors, parks and dales. If you have a favourite space then you can hold your ceremony there. Please get in touch with me and I will help you find your perfect location. For some ideas about the sort of venues that have been popular with others, have a look at the links page.
Why Isn't It Legal?
Under English & Welsh Law, the only wedding ceremonies that is recognised in law are those that are solemnised by a Registrar on Approved Premises. The Civil Wedding ceremony must be secular, and many Registrars do not even allow the playing of songs which have a vague religious theme - so 'Angels' by Robbie Williams is banned in many Registry Offices.
A religious ceremony can take place at a Church or Chapel of the Church of England or Church of Wales or any other place of worship which has been formally registered by the Registrar General for marriages as long as a Registrar is in attendance.
How Do I Get Around the Legal Bit?
You have several options.
1. Hold the ceremony at a venue which is an Approved Premises for a wedding ceremony. If you do this please note that the Registrar may demand that the Civil Registration of the Marriage takes place in a separate room to that in which the Handfasting takes place.
2. Visit the Registry Office to register the marriage in an entirely separate ceremony to your handfasting. Some couples choose to do this, though holding two ceremonies can be an expensive option.
3. Hold a simple registration ceremony at the Registry office, treating this as a simple legal registration with minimum fuss, and then treat the Handfasting as the 'proper' wedding ceremony.
What Do I Need to Provide?
You need to provide your own rings. Oh - and of course, cakes and wine/mead to share with your guests. I provide one bottle of mead, but if you have a large number of guests you may require more. I can supply this at cost if you are unable to source your own supply. I provide the handfasting cord and the broomstick.
Will I Offend my Great Aunt Agatha/Religious Guests?
This is a question that bothers many couples. All I can say is that in the years I have been helping couples to get handfasted, I have not had any reports of anyone being offended by the ceremony. Rather, guests appreciate the personal nature of the event and get enjoyment from it. The ceremony can be crafted in such a way that everyone, regardless of spirituality or beliefs, can be involved in supporting and witnessing the couples' commitment and love for each other.
Can I Combine a Handfasting with a Registry Office Wedding?
Due to legal restrictions under English & Welsh Law, the Civil Registry wedding must be entirely secular. See notes above for how other couples have solved this problem.
What Should We Wear?
You can wear whatever you want to wear. We have performed naturist handfastings, Lord of the Rings inspired handfastings, mediaeval handfastings, casual in jeans handfstings. If you want to go to town, there are some links to some truly inspirational gowns on our Facebook page.
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