Blessing of the Hands: A classic wedding ceremony


It’s so easy to get caught up in the pretty images, details and practicalities of planning a wedding that we can forget about the marriage part beyond the big day, and the deep and meaningful parts, such as the love, companionship, compromises and lifelong promises we make to each other.

Wedding ceremony

In Ireland we no longer just have the option of the church ceremony; couples can now opt for Humanist and other Celebrants, where they can write their own words and ceremony according to their own style and beliefs.

I have couples who travel from all over the world to have their dream destination wedding in Ireland. They dream of getting married in castles or beautiful country houses or historical ruins. They usually like to have some experience of our ancient Celtic traditions, you know what they say “ when in Rome… “

I always suggest  the handfasting ceremony, which is where the couples’ hands are tied together to symbolise the joining together of their love, becoming one. The hands can be lightly tied together with ribbon, cords or if you have a piece of fabric that is special to the couple that  can be used also. A bride of mine used a piece of her grandmothers’ wedding dress, as she was no longer with us. This makes the  act of handfasting very personal,  romantic and sentimental.

Believe it or  not  …..this is where the term “ tying the knot “ came from.

Here is a poem that I have suggested for my Brides and Grooms to have read out during the ceremony and of course it can be adapted to suit each couple

Blessing of the Hands

Hand Blessing ceremony

These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever.

These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future.

These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other.

These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind.

These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow, and tears of joy.

These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children.

These are the hands that will help you to hold your family as one.

These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it.

And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.


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