♥ HandFasting Wedding Ceremony
In the late middle ages in Scotland and Northern England the term Handfasting was used to describe the mutual commitment ceremonies usually done by couples eloping and not marrying through the church; a “civil marriage” and as an agreement to marry in the future.
So it was used as a declaration of love between two often young people, these declarations were considered binding in the eyes of the state and church.
By the 1700’s handfastings were no longer being used as engagements, however in Ireland through the 1700’s-1900s they were being used as trial marriages.
The couple would live as a married couple for a trial period of a year and a day, and when the time had passed and there were no children they could choose to call the priest and marry permanently or go their separate ways.
The word HandFasting derives from the custom of the bride and groom having their wrists bound by cloth or cords as part of the ceremony or ritual. They would stay bound until the marriage was consummated.
It comes from an Anglo Saxon word “hand faestung” which is a shaking of hands over a contract, the groom would make a payment or “wed” to the brides father for her hand. This is the origin of the term wedding!