O lay thy loof in mine, lass, In mine, lass, in mine, lass And swear on thy white hand, lass, That thou wilt be my ain.

``Oh lay thy palm in mine, lass, in mine, lass, in mine, lass, And swear on your white hand lass, That you will be my own``


Alex and Emma, Aberdour CastleHandfasting is an ancient Celtic Ritual that can be traced back to a time when it was only the noblemen and aristocracy of Scotland who could afford big, lavish Wedding Ceremonies. This meant that in order for a couple to establish themselves as husband and wife within a community, they had to do so in a much more intimate way, and so the Handfasting ritual was born.

The Handfasting would usually be held in an outdoor setting, often a forest or woodland, and to symbolise their union, the couple would have their hands bound together using bits of rag or cloth that had been gifted to them by someone in their family or community (or it may have been the material used by their parents for their own Handfasting Ceremony). Handfasting is a very beautiful, meaningful and spiritual ceremony, and today it doesn’t just have to be ‘Husband and Wife”! It can also be “Husband and Husband” or “Wife and Wife”.

Click HERE to see the beautiful Handfasting scene from the film Braveheart.

There are two ways in which a Handfasting can be incorporated into your Ceremony; 
a “Wee Handfasting” or a “Fu’ Handfasting”

Wee Handfasting

Wee handfastingThis is the most popular way of including a Handfasting as part of your ceremony, and it’s where a ceremony would have all the elements of a traditional Wedding Ceremony (walking down the aisle/address/ wows/ ring exchange etc), but at some point during the proceedings the couple would have their hands bound. This would usually be done as they exchange their Vows, or once they have exchanged Vows and Rings, and it just brings the whole ceremony together in a lovely way. If you watch my Handfasting Ceremony Videos, you can see that almost all of these are a ‘Wee Handfasting’.

During the Wee Handfasting, cords are tied around the couple’s hands, while words of commitment (or vows) are spoken. Then as each cord is tied, I will say: “And now the binding is made“. And the idea behind this is that the words you speak and the vows you make will be embedded into the fabric of your Handfasting ties for all time.

The cloth I use for my Handfasting Ceremonies (you can also choose to use your own) is made from Clò-Mòr, or Harris Tweed which I buy when I visit the Island of Harris in the Outer Hebrides, and I then take them to the Callanish Standing Stones in Lewis where they are blessed in a beautiful ritual.

Fu’ Handfasting

Full HandfastingA Fu’ Handfasting (or Full Handfasting) is where the entire ceremony is built around the binding of the hands. A Fu’ Handfasting is a very earthy, pagan and spiritual ceremony which would usually be held outdoors (typically in a forest or woodland), and would include a Ceremonial Circle (so the Handfasting would take place within a circle of flowers/ stones/ people etc). A Fu’ Handfasting would also include calling upon the 4 Elements of Earth (North), Air (East) , Fire (South)  & Water (West) to bless the space, and might include other rituals of drinking from the ‘Quaich’, ‘Jumping the Besom’ or sharing ‘Cake & Ale’.  

Full HandfastingA lovely way of including children in your ceremony, or if two families are joining together, is to include them in the Handfasting. The children are asked to come forward and then all the hands are joined together, while I will say something like, “(name of child) these are the hands that will love you, guide you, support you, encourage you and protect you through all the seasons of your life. These hands will hold you when you need to be held, comfort you when you need to be comforted, and push you when you need a wee push. This binding of your hands is a reminder of the love that each of you has for the other, and which will last for a lifetime.” This is usually where the guests have to grab their hankies! 

Please note that a Fu’ Handfasting Ceremony is unscripted, meaning that unlike a usual wedding ceremony where I would write the full ceremony and send to the couple for approval before the day, a Fu’Handfasting is a bit different. This is a very spiritual ritual which should come completely from the moment… and the heart. There will be some written elements (your Vows), but all my parts will be unscripted. But don’t worry, I promise you’re in good hands (pardon the pun)!

And if you are a fan of the TV show Outlander, you might want to consider a….

*Outlander Handfasting


The Outlander Handfasting is an original Aye Do! ritual for anyone who is a fan of the fabulous Outlander TV show. If you would like to know more, please get in touch here!


You can find out more about Rituals & Ceremonies by watching the video below….


Video RecordingI also offer a FREE Video Recording of your Ceremony. Click here for details.


Lindy Irving, Celebrant


Click here to find out more about the ancient ritual of Handfasting.

Lindy Irving, Celebrant

Oathing Stone

Click here to discover more about the beautiful ritual of the Oathing Stone.

Lindy Irving, Celebrant


Click here to find out more about the very meaningful ritual of a Quaich Ceremony.

Lindy Irving, Celebrant

Clootie Blessing

Click here to find out about the Clootie Tree, an 'Aye Do!`` original ritual

Lindy Irving, Celebrant

More Rituals

Click here to find out more information on putting together your Ceremony Vows.

Lindy Irving, Celebrant

Poems & Readings

Click here for a selection of readings that can be included in a Wedding Ceremony.

Lindy Irving, Celebrant


Click here for information on our Ceremony fees.

Lindy Irving, Celebrant

Celebrant Training

Click here to find out information on how you can become a Celebrant.

Lindy Irving, Celebrant


Click here to enquire about your own Wedding Ceremony or Ceremony Ritual.

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