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Handfastings - Tie The Knot


When you work with Reverend Dave Miller, every ceremony ritual is optional and customizable. The Handfasting ritual is something different that few brides have heard of. After seeing it demonstrated or reading this page, most brides want to include it in their ceremony. For that reason, I always talk about it and demonstrate it at the first meeting.

Since the bride and groom will remain tied up after the Handfasting, it is done very near the end of the ceremony. The only rituals that come after it are the proclamation (By the power vested in me...), an optional short blessing, and the presentation (Ladies and gentlemen, may I present Mr. and Mrs. ________).

The bride & groom should already be facing thier guests. As is Reverend Dave's preference, the bride and groom face each other or their guests for the every part of the ceremony, except the very first opening remarks.

Facing their guests, the Handfasting begins with the bride and groom putting their inner arms together, outstretched. Someone, usually the Maid/Matron of Honor, takes the first rope, wraps their wrists, and gives them the free ends. The bride & groom must tie themselves together.

As they begin to tie the knot, Reverend Dave tells the guests what is going on: Ladies and gentlemen, their first task as husband and wife, is a test of teamwork. _____ and _____ are to tie one arm together using only their free arm.

"Hand Fasting" is a tradition that dates back at least to the early 1500's, from Scotland, although there is some evidence that it has older and more diverse origins. Many believe this ritual is the origin of the wedding term 'Tie the Knot.'

Click on any of the small photos to see the full size photo.

The handfasting ropes Reverend Dave uses consist of a 3/8" white rope braided with 1/16" gold ropes and are about 5' long.


The fringes use four to six wedding themed ribbons. They are assembled by hand and are about 6" long. The fringes on the ends of a single rope may, or may not, be the same.


Here, the bride and groom are using their free hand to tie the knot. At the same time, Reverend Dave is informing the guests about the origins of this unique wedding tradition.


Having completed the task of tying the knot, the wedding guests are invited to take a ribbon and tie it anywhere on either of them. Some guests will even tie both of them together - and not just thier already tied arms!


This bride chose to use only yellow ribbons for the guests, and to have only the bridal party and immediate family tie the ribbons. Even so, once the guests are finished, it can be quite a photo!


Typically, the bride and groom will be cut loose after the recessional, when they exit the room, or when they reach the last row of seats for outdoor ceremonies.

Scissors are provided to the mothers (or some other VIP) for this honor. Only the guest ribbons are cut. The first rope is carefully slipped off, with the knot intact. The ribbons and the rope then become souveniers, ready for display at home.

This bride and groom chose to remain tied for the first few photos of the photo session.


This couple braided thier own rope to be used for the Handfasting.

It is this couple's Thank You card that is prominently displayed on my home page, as well as right here:


They wanted a casual ceremony on the beach in Atlantic City. Because this was a destination wedding, very few of thier friends and family were able to attend.

To compensate, the people who happened to be on the beach were asked if they wanted to participate. Many of the people in this photo are the innocent bystanders who became the couple's newest temporary friends!

  Reverend Dave Miller
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