Handfasting was common centuries ago in the British Isles, and then vanished for a while. Now, however, it's seeing a rising popularity among Wiccan and Pagan couples who are interested in tying the knot. Many Pagan and Wiccan couples choose to have a handfasting ritual instead of a traditional wedding ceremony. In some cases, it may be simply ceremonial -- a couple declaring their love for one another without the benefit of a state license. For other couples, it can be tied in with a state marriage certification issued by a legally authorized party such as a clergyperson or justice of the peace. Either way, it's becoming more and more popular, as Pagan and Wiccan couples are seeing that there is indeed an alternative for non-Christians who want more than just a courthouse wedding.
It's become traditional to give each of your guests a small wedding favor. Typically, these are small trinkets with either the date of the event or the couples' names on them. However, if you're having a Pagan or Wiccan handfasting, rather than a traditional wedding ceremony, why not come up with an idea that celebrates your spiritual path, as well as announcing your commitment to the community?
If you're holding a handfasting instead of a traditional wedding, you may want to do something special instead of just having a traditional cake. Sharing a cake with your new spouse is a time-honored tradition that goes back many centuries, so if you're looking for something a bit different, you might want to try something that reflects that history.
Along with the popularity of handfasting ceremonies, there has been a resurgence in interest among Pagans and Wiccans in the idea of a "besom wedding". This is a ceremony also referred to as "jumping the broom". Although typically this is seen as a ceremony derived from the slave culture of the American south, there is also evidence that besom weddings took place in some parts of the British Isles.
Throughout history, nearly all cultures have had gods and goddesses associated with love and marriage. Although a few are male -- Eros and Cupid come to mind -- most are female, because the institution of marriage has long been viewed as the domain of women. If you're doing a working relating to love, or if you wish to honor a particular deity as part of a marriage ceremony, these are some of the gods and goddesses associated with the very human emotion of love.