handfasting / wedding

In Ajah, a marriage is called a handfasting.

The ancient custom of handfasting has had many forms over the years and can serve either as an engagement ceremony or as a marriage ceremony proper in contemporary Pagan wedding rituals, & will serve well as an Ajah marriage. The custom of handfasting has also gained popularity with non-Pagans in the places like the gay and lesbian community, with many of the rites and rituals serving well for commitment ceremonies and civil unions.

In one of the original forms, handfastings were betrothal periods for a couple, often lasting a year and a day. This practice is derived in part from ceremonies of the ancient Celts. This time period allowed a couple to better get to know one another and see if the match was a good one. If the trial period did not work out, the couple could rejoin and dissolve the union.  If the trial period was considered a success, the couple would then hold a formal wedding ceremony with further rituals and feasting.


This Hand fasting ritual is just that a ritual… any wedding ritual can be used if you don’t like this one…

However it is considered very important to have some ceremony to mark the occasion.

step one do the Ajah opening rite

Giving of the Bride & Groom

Who presents this couple to be married?

Sponsors (may be family, friends, or all): We do.

*Optional recognition of deceased family members here

*Optional recognition of those who could not travel here today

First Reading

“moola mantra”

Sat Chit Ananda, Parabrahma
Purushothama, Paramatma
Sri Bhagavathi, Sametha
Sri Bhagavathe, Namaha…..


“wedding blessing”

Now you feel no rain
for each of you will be shelter to the other.
Now you will feel no cold
for each of you will be warmth to the other.

Now there will be no loneliness for you.

Now you are two persons,
but there is only one life before you.
Go now to your dwelling place,
to enter into the days of your togetherness.

And may your days be good and long together.

*Optional candle lighting here 

*Optional joining of current children to marriage here

Handfasting/ Vows

Know now before you go further, that since your lives have crossed in this life you have formed ties between each other. As you seek to enter this state of unity, you should strive to make real, the ideals which give meaning to both this ceremony and the institution of the partnership.

With full awareness, know that within this temple place, you are not only declaring your intent to be hand fasted before your friends and family, but you speak that intent also to Ajah. The promises made today and the ties that are bound here greatly strengthen your union; they will cross the years and lives of the soul’s growth.

Do you still seek to enter this ceremony?

Couple: Yes, We Seek to Enter.

Dedication (Blessing) of the Hands

These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, for a lifetime of happiness.

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 comfort you in illness, and hold you when fear or grief racks your mind.

These are the hands that will hold you tight as you struggle through difficult times.

These are the hands that will give you support and encourage you to chase your dreams. Together, everything you wish for can be realized.

Prepare the cords
the hands will be bound with whatever was available – vines, colorful cords, or scarf.

The first promise (binding)

Groom, Will you be Bride’s faithful partner for life?

Bride, will you be Groom’s faithful partner for life?

*To Both*
Will you be each other’s constant friends and one true love?

Both answer: Yes

And so the binding is made.
*The cord is wrapped around the couple’s wrist.*

The second promise (binding)

Bride, do you promise to love Groom without reservation?

Groom, do you promise to love Bride without reservation?

*To Both*
Will both of you stand by one another in sickness and in health, in plenty and in want?
Both answer: Yes

And so the binding is made.
*The cord is wrapped around the couple’s wrist.*

The third promise (binding)

Bride, will you stand together with Groom your times of joy and sorrow?
I will

Groom, will you stand together with Bride your times of joy and sorrow?
I will

*To Both*
Will you share the burdens of each so that your spirits may grow in this union?
Both answer: Yes, we will

And so the binding is made.
*The cord is wrapped around the couple’s wrist.* Bride

The forth promise (binding)

Groom will you always to be open and honest with Bride, for as long as you both shall live?

Bride, will you always to be open and honest with Groom,  for as long as you both shall live?

*To Both*
Will you dream together to create new realities and hopes for this marriage?

And so the binding is made.
*The cord is wrapped around the couple’s wrist.*

The fifth promise (binding)

Bride, Will you honor this man?
I will

Groom, Will you honor this woman?
I will

*To Both*
Will you both seek to cherish and strengthen that honor?
We will

And so the binding is made.
*The cord is wrapped around the couple’s wrist.*
Binding of all promises

*Remove cord while saying:*

The knots of this binding are not formed by these chords but instead by your vows. Either of you may drop the chords, for as always, you hold in your own hands the making or breaking of this union.

*Once chord is removed, it is placed on altar*

Blessing and Exchange of Rings

Who holds the rings?

Witnesses: We do

(the hold their hands up to display the rings and holds them up to be blessed )

Let us all bless these rings! These rings are circles, symbols that remind us of the Sun, and the Earth, and the universe. Symbols of holiness, of perfection and peace … that which has no beginning and no end. And so, in this moment, let us all bring our blessing to these rings so that they may remain symbols of unity and commitment. Grant that the love which Bride and Groom have for each other now may always be as unending as these rings.

These are the rings that Bride and Groom will wear for the rest of their lives, that express the love that they have for one another. Let us take a moment and send our prayers, our thoughts and our love to these rings, so that as they wear them, they will carry our love with them as well. 

Exchange rings and state for each, “With this ring, I thee wed, let it ever be a symbol of my love.”

Optional second reading here.

Optional sharing of a cup of wine here.

Recognition Of Marriage

Only a couple can seal the promise of a marriage to each other, and only a couple can bind it. No power vested in me by the state can grant me the authority to declare what only these two hearts can declare, and what only these two souls can make real.

And so now, inasmuch as you, Groom, and you, Bride, have announced the truths that are already written in your hearts, and have witnessed the same in the presence of these, your family and friends, — we observe joyfully that you are now husband and wife.


I present to you Mrs. Bride and Mr. Groom Last Name

Lance: Would everyone please stand as the couple departs! Please remain in your places until the parents have left the room.

Music begins, couple slowly walks out, flower girl and ring bearer depart, groomsmen and bridesmaids recess as pairs, Lance invites parents and grandparents to exit just in front of him.

Lance: (said as he departs last) Thank you all very much!

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