Tag Archive | handfasting

The Best Wedding!

I’m thinking back to a weekend in July that was really busy.  I can’t believe I haven’t posted about it until now, but I was trying to get The Grand Tour posts finished up and posted because Jon was joking that I was going to make them last until our next big vacation!  Don’t I wish my big vacations were that close together!  But anyway, in July, Jon’s friend Pablo was up visiting from California, so we were enjoying his company and hanging out.  Plus, our dear friends Katie and Brent got married!

They were having a really low key wedding with a picnic in the park theme, and they weren’t having a professional photographer taking pictures, so they asked me to take some photos while Katie was getting ready, during the ceremony, and at that picnic reception.  Wow that’s tough work!  There’s a difficulty about capturing the action while it’s happening!  Facial expressions change in an instant!  My camera always wants to put the trees in the background into focus instead of the people!  I know why professional photographers just keep clicking the shutter!  Even if the people aren’t moving a lot, they are still moving!

The wedding was so much fun!  Katie and Brent are a really relaxed couple – and they love just kicking back and having a good time.  The ceremony was simple yet beautiful.  Their daughter was the flower girl, and she took her job seriously, planting herself at her parents’ feet for the best view in the house!  Two nephews brought in the ceremony accoutrements.  They were told they could wear whatever made them comfortable, so one was decked on in a Power Ranger costume (complete with mask!) and the other donned his Pittsburgh Steelers gear – complete with helmet!

Instead of the traditional exchange of rings, Katie and Brent did a Celtic or Pagan handfasting ceremony, along with a civil marriage ceremony.  I’ve included more information on handfasting here.  At the end of the ceremony, they jumped the broom too.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Power Rangers Representing

Listening to the Officiant

Saying Their Vows


After the ceremony – the eating and drinking began in earnest.  Barbeque grub included chili, fruit salad, German potato salad (YUM!), a sesame noodle salad, and burgers and brats with all the fixins!  You could have any combination of cheese, pickles, tomatoes, onions, sauerkraut, ketchup, mustard and relish.  I had a brat, but kicked it up a notch with cheese, pickles, sauerkraut and mustard.  It was fantastic!  Haggen did the catering – including the grilling, and they were spot on, professional and courteous and on top of refills.  Jon and I had them cater our wedding, and we were pleased with the service, so I’m glad that Katie and Brent had the same experience that we did!

The Chow Line!

Wines included a Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, and a Cabernet Sauvignon from everybody’s friend, Charles Shaw.  I really like the 2 Buck Chuck Sauvignon Blanc, and  Jon is always pleased with the Cabernet.  Beers were numerous and varied, but I didn’t catch what they were.  Katie and Brent tried to get several of the local brews, and a friend of theirs brought in some cases of a Montana microbrew, special for the occasion.  There was even champagne for the toast.

The weather was a perfect northwest day – quite warm but not overly hot, and we played lawn games – badminton and bocce ball!  I tried my hand at badminton, and although I certainly can’t say that I was an expert, I didn’t think I embarrassed myself too badly.  Jon thought it was hysterical to watch from afar though, as the four of us playing jerked and contorted our bodies to try to hit the birdie.  But he can’t talk, because he didn’t get up and play!  There was also a piñata for the kids – in the shape of a frog.  It was a huge hit!

Badminton – No Body Contortion Right at the Moment!

Froggie Piñata

Action Shot – Frog Down!

Me with the Beautiful Bride

It was one of the best weddings I have been to – no pressure, no schedule, no going through the motions.  And it was awesome to see Katie and Brent go from “we aren’t going to get married” to bride and groom.  What can I say?  I’m traditional.  And I love to see a joyful beginning!

Congrats again to one of the most special couples I know.  You will have an amazing marriage and a lifetime of happiness.

Handfasting – A History Lesson

If you are reading this and you are confused…  that’s because you should be reading this post about our friends Katie and Brent’s wedding first.  If you already read that post and are still confused, well then, I can’t help you…

Handfasting was common in the middle ages – a ceremony performed by binding the couple’s hands together with rope or ribbon.  The binding together of hands signified that the couple was now bound to each other and making a commitment.  Depending on where and when the handfasting was performed, it might be a betrothal of a year and a day, renewable “so long as the love shall last”, or some other period of time (7 years was common), or it could be a commitment until death.  In medieval England, it was typically the precursor to a religious wedding – taking place anywhere from a month to a year after the handfasting ceremony.  In Scotland, handfasting was considered a legally binding form of marriage until 1939, when a law was passed requiring a civil ceremony be performed.

Today, handfasting is performed most often by couples who are Pagans or Wiccan, but it does occur in Christian marriages as well.  It can be a spiritual commitment to one another that is not legally binding, and can signify a commitment of varying lengths as discussed above, or it can be performed along with a civil marriage ceremony.  The right hands of the couple, or both hands, are tied while vows are spoken.  Usually it is witnessed, although I believe this isn’t a requirement in states with common law marriage laws.