The ritual of handfasting to seal one's love

Handfasting is the ritual for bonding to each other in memory of the tradition of neo-pagan religions in an original and special way. It is a symbolic rite during which the wrists of the future spouses are tied with ropes or ribbons (in the past they were pieces of fabric torn from old clothes) of different colors, while their hands are joined.

Handfasting originates from neo-pagan religions and is spreading more and more as a ritual both in religious and civil ceremonies as well as symbolic ones, as a way to personalize the celebration and demonstrate one’s unique and indissoluble love in front of friends and relatives, to eternity. Even William and Kate of the British royal house have chosen this ritual, and in the past years there have been many families who have chosen to include the ritual in the ceremony.

How the handfasting ritual takes place

If you want to include the handfasting ritual in your wedding, here is what the couple and the celebrant must do.

The two spouses must take hands, crossing their arms forming the sign of infinity or placing them on top of each other. The celebrant then ties the wrists with colored ribbons or ropes to symbolize the union of the two souls and two bodies. The ribbons or ropes can be two if you want to symbolize the couple, three if you want to symbolize the two souls which from that moment on become one, four if you want to represent the four elements of nature. If you choose to represent the four elements then the rite is included only if the ceremony is carried out outdoors where the four elements will be present: air, water, earth and fire.

Handfasting colors and characteristics

The ritual must respect various details, necessary for the rite to have the right meaning.

The ribbons and the colors

Today we use ribbons of the most varied colors (and which are more in tune with the type and colors of the ceremony), but as per tradition are used 13 ribbons of different colors, each with a specific meaning.


  • white: the ribbon that symbolizes purity and peace;
  • pink: demonstrates the love and tenderness between the two spouses;
  • yellow: related to cheerfulness, happiness and confidence;
  • gold: those who symbolize prosperity;
  • orange: represents life;
  • red: those who symbolize the passion of the couple;
  • purple: the color of wisdom;
  • brown :concerns the house and the territory;
  • green: represents health and fertility;
  • blue: it is the sincerity between the couple;
  • silver: symbolizing creativity;
  • gray: for balance;
  • black: the color of stability (according to the Celtic rite).

The couple will choose which colors best represent their union.

Nature is an integral part

Always bearing in mind that it is a Celtic ceremony, a large space must be given to nature. The location of the ceremony, in fact, should be in the middle of nature, in contact with the four elements.
In addition to respecting the rules of the handfasting ritual, you will have an incredible and magical place where you can swear eternal love, where you can start a new life with the person of your dreams.

Who “binds” the spouses?

The handfasting ritual can be performed by the celebrant, but not only. The couple can choose for a friend or family member to perform the ritual, or for several people together. The rite involves the couple making their promises when their hands are still joined and their wrists tied.

If you want to include the handfasting ritual in your ceremony, contact the Ferrali Wedding
Planner staff, they will take care of making the most beautiful day of your life unforgettable!


We cannot wait to learn about your wishes! We will be happy to meet you and answer your questions. Tell us about your love story and we will organize the wedding you are dreaming of.


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