Several cultures have a tradition of binding hands in a marriage ceremony. I have seen hand binding done many times and have modified it for the marriage ceremonies that I perform. The tradition can be traced to Ireland and Scotland, the Mayans of South America to the Hindu Vedic community of the Middle East.
We are all familiar with the terms “bonds of matrimony,” “tying the knot,” and “hand in marriage”. They all come from ancient traditions of twisting the bride’s and groom’s clothing together or wrapping their wrists with braided cords, grasses or vines.
Couples can use any cord, ribbon or braid. It can be a single strand or some couples choose to braid three together to represent their individual lives and the one that they are creating. You will need a length that is 4-6 feet long. Try and avoid ribbon that has wire as it does not fall visually appealing in the ceremony.
Binding of Hands
The promises made today and the ties that are bound here greatly strengthen your union and will cross the years and lives of each soul’s growth.
(Groom) and (Bride), please look into each others eyes.
Will you respect and honor one another,and seek to never break that honor?
We will [the first cord is draped over the couples’ hands]
Will you share each other’s pain and seek to ease it?
We will [Second cord is draped over the hands]
Will you share the burdens of each so that your spirits may grow in this union?
We will [third cord is draped over the couples’ hands]
Will you share each other’s laughter, and look for the brightness in life
and the positive in each other?
We will. [forth cord is draped over the couples’ hands]
[Tie cords together]
(Bride) and (Groom), as your hands are bound together now, so your lives and spirits are joined in a union of love and trust.
Hand Binding is Beautiful
Above you are the stars and below you is the earth. Like the stars you love should be a constant source of light, and like the earth, a firm foundation from which to grow.
After the ceremony, couples typically display their unity cords in their home as a reminder of their lifelong commitment. You can preserve the sacred cord in a keepsake box, drape it on your headboard as a constant reminder of your commitment or perhaps save it in a shadowbox with other memorabilia. Some decide to start a family tradition and save it for when their children get married.