As I’m creating batches of dream catchers to open up an Etsy shop very soon, and to perhaps one day lead dream catcher making workshops. I thought to dabble in creating Handfasting Cords too because to make them you need the same material as you would when making dream catchers. I already had plentiful ribbons, charms and fabric flowers and I thought “Why not?” the first one I made was a sort of tester and an engagement gift for my best friend and her fiance; unexpectedly they want to use it during their wedding ceremony which is such an honour and I can’t wait to see it wrapped around their joined hands on their special day. With this first one being such a hit, I’ll be making more to sell in my Etsy shop as either separate items in their own right or as part of a wedding bundle that will also include a matching Boho dream catcher bespoke to the couple purchasing my creations. I am still thinking up a name for my shop and I currently have two commissioned dream catchers and one Handfasting cord to get to work on!
So, you might be wondering what a Handfasting Cord is?
We all know the phrases, “to take each other’s hand in marriage” and “tying the knot”, but how often do we stop to think about what these really mean? There has been somewhat of a revival in the world of wedding ceremonies to reinstate traditional methods of binding the couple together in matrimony.
A handfasting is an old Pagan custom, dating back to the time of the ancient Celts. A handfasting was originally more like an engagement period, where two people would declare a binding union between themselves for a year and a day.
The original handfasting was a trial marriage. It gave the couple the chance to see if they could survive marriage to each other. After a year goes by, the couple could either split as if they had never been married or could decide to enter permanently into marriage. This also gave the couple the opportunity to live and be accepted by their society as a married couple and thus sex was allowed!
As it later became part of the marriage ceremony itself, it was more commonly used by rural and middle class folk as oppose to the exchange of gold rings, which the upper class could afford, although the upper class would still include handfasting ceremony on their big day too.
After the wave of big, flashy and expensive weddings being in fashion from the 80’s and into 21st Century, we are now seeing an influx of couples opting for simpler and meaningful weddings to keep costs low but also to take back the roots of marriage in the first place which is to show love for one another and not to show off how much your wedding costs. Many couples are now eloping abroad or in a natural setting with only a handful of close relative and friends, choosing very cheap wedding attire, rings and venues. Many couples opting to include a handfasting are usually inspired by folklore, nature, intimate relationships, art and simple pleasures in life.
There are many variations of the traditional handfasting. After the bride and groom both declare their intent to enter into this union, the hands of the couple are clasped and fastened together with a cord (or cords) just before, just after, or during their vows are made to one another.
The cord is gently wrapped around the couple’s wrists as they hold hands and then it is tied in a knot, which is a symbolic representation of oneness between the couple. In a show of unity, they become bound to each other.
Some couples have one main cord that is especially made for them (like the one I’ve made for you) and then family and friends then place other coloured ribbons on the couple’s hands. Or you can opt for something simple like a white rope.
For me personally, I’d love to include a handfasting cord into my wedding ceremony because it represents devotion and friendship, more so than a ring. I would still include a ring exchange too so that I can wear a wedding ring on a daily basis but the handfasting holds so much sweetness and meaning. I’d also choose not to be married in a church, preferring to get hitched either abroad on a beach or woodland somewhere. This keeps costs low as you don’t have to cater to hundreds of guests who you barely know just for the sake of showing off how grand your wedding is and how wealthy you must be to afford such a grandiose ceremony-which I’m not judging, it’s just not for me. Same goes for the wedding dress, in fact I’ve already chosen the company I’d like to make my dress, I have 3 silk summer dresses already made by them at £70 each, which is an absolute bargain if my wedding dress will roughly cost that much! I’m not one for showing off and I’m also not one to have a massive guest list, I’m a very honest person and will not invite people I feel are not close to me.
I would want a very quiet and down to earth ceremony so big, obnoxious personalities will not be invited either. I see myself wearing a flower crown of sunflowers, bluebells and roses, I see lanterns and dream catchers hung in the trees, my dress will be simple and floaty, possibly backless but with a vintage feel and I’d be barefoot and I’d want my partner to feel comfortable so no stiff over priced suit for him, unless that is what he wants to wear. If I get married abroad with only a handful of people as witnesses, I’d most likely have an after party in the UK for acquaintances and family members to attend so no one feels left out. That’s my personal idea of how I’d like to get married. I never used to be this way, as a little girl I wanted the big princess dress, horse and carriage, the works! But now I’m in my 30’s I’ve learned who my true friends are and I’ve become quite private in my life and sentimental, and more connected to the earth so I’d want a ceremony that is humble and gentle.
More Handfasting Cords and Dream Catchers coming soon!
Photography: Jon Roberts
To see all my current dream catcher creations, click on the links below!
April Dream Catchers
Bush Craft dream catchers
Two Bohemian wedding dream catchers
Summer Solstice Dream Catchers
Small Dream Catchers in Cornwall
Dream Catcher in Autumn
Three Large Bohemian Dream Catchers
All my dream catchers are blessed with sage under the full moon with a loving incantation so their energies will be a positive one in your home.
If you are interested in a bespoke dream catcher for yourself, as a gift to a loved one, for your yoga retreat centre or Red Tent, for your wedding or Christening (for example), contact me to discuss fees, here is a general price list below as a guide.
Price for Bush craft Dream Catcher: £20
Price for Small Dream Catcher: From £25+
Price for Large Dream Catcher: From £60+
Price for Hand Fasting Cord: From £40
Price for Extra Large/Special Occasion Dream Catcher: From £200+
Price for Handfasting Cord & One Dream Catcher wedding bundle: From £250