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Ceremonies & Customs

Your Celtic Wedding : Your Celtic Wedding

Hand Fasting
In this ancient Celtic wedding ceremony no clergy was needed; the couple simply pledged themselves and hand their hands gently bound togeter with a cord or strip of cloth. Perhaps the expression "tying the knot" came from this ceremony. Hand fasting was originally a trial marriage contract that lasted for a year and a day; if it didn't work out, the couple went their separate ways. Today, handfasting can be incorporated into a religious or civil ceremony as part of a connection to our Celtic culture.

Lighting the Unity Candle

Wrap Text around ImageThe Unity Candle ceremony is the lighting of candles to symbolize the joining of two families. The outside tapers represent the families of the bride and the groom, and the larger center pillar candle represents the new family formed by the marriage. Traditionally, a member of each family lights the outside candles before the ceremony. The lighting of the single center candle in unison by the bride and groom represents that they, as individuals, are joining as one. The tapers may be extinguished to symbolize their intent to sublimate their individual needs to the good of their union. Alternately, the couple may opt to have all three candles lit and in their holders as a celebration of the bride and groom as individuals and of their new union.

Wrap Text around ImageQuaich or Loving Cup
This two-handled cup was traditionally used during wedding feasts to symbolize sharing between the newly wedded couple. The Scottish quaich (pronounced "quake") is an ancient vessel used to celebrate a bond between two individuals or families, each partaking of the offered drink. The quaich is presented using both hands, and the recipient must receive it using both hands. Continuing the tradition, the quaich still serves its purpose today, uniting friends and the two families in theCeltic wedding ceremony, or at the reception following.

Sashing of the Bride
At the close of the wedding ceremony the bride may be accepted into the groom's clan by being presented with a sash in the groom's tartan. Usually the groom pins the sash to his bride's dress, although it is also appropriate for his mother to pin the tartan onto the blushing bride. Unless the groom is the colonel of a Scottish regiment or chief of a clan, the sash should be worn over the right shoulder.

Celtic Wedding Pledge
You cannot possess me, for I belong to myself,
But while we both wish it, I give you that which is mine to give.
You cannot command me, for I am a free person,
But I shall serve you in those ways you require.
And the honeycomb will taste sweeter coming from my hand.
I pledge to you that yours will be the name I cry aloud in the night.
And the eyes into which I smile in the morning.
I pledge to you the first bite from my meat,
And the first drink from my cup.
I pledge to you my living and dying, equally in your care,
And tell no strangers our grievances.
This is my wedding vow to you.
This is a marriage of equals.


Traditions | Celtic Symbols| Toasts & Blessings

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