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Handfasting Ritual or White String Ceremony for Weddings

The word handfasting comes from an Old English term meaning “tying hands” or binding promises.  A Handfasting ritual is a way to show love and commitment to each other in front of your friends and family, and to involve them in the ritual or ceremony, deepening the "tying the knot."

A hand fasting or white string ceremony is a simple and beautfiful way to integrate ritual in a modern wedding ceremony.

The wedding couple and attendees stand or sit in circle.  An officiant or friend should start the ceremony by helping the bride or groom to loop the string once around their left wrist.  (The arm closest to the heart.) Choose a natural cotton white string, which symbolizes purity of heart and intention.  Leave the string intact, and pass around the circle, looping the string around each person's left hand.  When the end of the circle is reached (with the bride or groom, depending on who starts the string) the officiant should help cut the string between each person, and the string should then be tied/secured around each wrist. 

During the ceremony, the officiant begins by explaining the ritual and what it means to the couple. This statement often includes the notion of the couple binding their lives together and speaks to the union of their hopes and desires. The officiant then invites the couple to join hands, which symbolizes their free will to enter into the marriage. From here, the officiant can read vows as the string is wrapped around wrists, also noting when the circle is complete, and the commitment it symbolizes. 

The white thread is also symbolic of peace, harmony, good fortune, good health and human warmth and community. The thread should be worn by all participants for a minimum of three days and is untied thereafter (thread is not to be cut), but the recommended practice is to allow the thread to fall off on its own.


To add to the ceremony, ask four attendees to participate in honoring the four directions and the four elements: 

1- East + Air:  We turn to the EAST, the place of the rising sun and the element of Air. Air represents the breath of life and new beginnings. Air scatters seeds and represents our intentions, thoughts and communications.  May the best intentions and clear communications guide this union.

2 - South + Fire:  We turn to the SOUTH and honor fire. Fire represents our creativity and passion. May you both always carry your vital spark, the power to see far, boldly envision new possibilities, live passionately and honor the courage and strength of this union. May your home and hearth always be warm.
3- West and Water:  We honor the WEST, the setting sun, the element water and our emotional body representing contemplation, reflection and fluidity. May you freely express your emotions, dissolve hardened edges and always be flexible with what life together brings.
4- North + Earth:  We turn to the NORTH and honor earth, our  homes, our physical bodies, and all life, which we are connected to.  Thank you earth for your nurturance, endurance and receptivity.  May you both have good health and be abundant and strong in all ways.   This is the place of our ancestors, our ancient knowing and our SPIRITUAL nature. We take this moment honor the Spirit and presence of loved ones who have built the foundation on which we all stand.

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