New Twists on Handfasting
Handfasting, where couples bind their hands together with a ribbon to symbolize the joining of two lives, is an old pagan ritual that many modern couples have been adapting for their weddings. One of Beer’s couples used their child’s baby blanket as their ribbon, symbolizing that the child is “their knot.” Another couple had each saved the shirt they wore on their first date four years ago, so they repurposed those shirts as their ribbon. “The groom’s mom cut up the shirts and made a fantastic three-foot-long wrapping for their hands,” said Beer.
One of Beer’s grooms was in possession of a Bible that had been passed down through the generations, dating back to his great-great-grandfather in 1870. “Every couple in the family has, at some point, signed the Bible, and we incorporated this ritual into the ceremony.” Don’t have a family heirloom like that? Start the tradition now! Ask all of the married couples in your family sign a sacred book, and you’ll add your names during the ceremony.
Photo Credit: Brendon Pinola Photography
The New Vows
These days, it’s not just you and your betrothed who get to make promises at the wedding. Some couples have been asking their guests to join in on the vows. After the couple makes their promises to each other, Ritchie reads the following:
“Now that you, beloved friends and family of the couple (names), have heard them recite their vows, do you promise, from this day forward, to encourage them and love them, to give them your guidance, and to support them in being steadfast in the promised that they have made?”
Guests respond: “We do!”
Photo Credit: Douglas Benedict Photography
For blended families, making vows to each other’s children has become a heartwarming part of the wedding day. One of Ritchie’s grooms recited the following to the bride’s children:
“I want you to know that I dearly love your mother. We have become very good friends, and we have learned to love each other. As you have so graciously shared this wonderful woman with me, so will I share the love I feel for her with you. Together, we will learn more about each other. I promise also to be fair and to be honest, to be available for you as I am for your Mom, and to earn your love, respect and true friendship. I will not make attempt to replace anyone, but to make a place in your hearts that is for me alone. I will be father and friend, and I will cherish my life with all of you. On this day, when I marry your mom, I promise to love and support you as my own.”
The bride recited a similar vow to the groom’s children. The kids then each made their own vows, responding “I do” to each question:
“Do you promise to love your mother and her new husband?” or ”Do you promise to love your father and his new wife?”
“Do you promise to support their marriage and your new family?”
“Do you promise to accept the responsibility of being their children and to encourage them, support them, and accept them?”
Photo Credit: Darko Sikman Photography