How to Choose the Right Cords for Your Irish Handfasting Ceremony—and Where to Get Them

You have a few options.

couple wedding irish handfasting ceremony
Photo: Studio Brown

You and your groom have chosen to have an Irish handfasting ceremony as part of your big day! Now that the decision has been made, the following questions arises: What cords should we use? And where do we get them? Here, we break down the most important part of this special unity ceremony.

Cords to Use

When this ceremony originated around 2000 BC, couples used braided rope or specially dyed ribbon to complete their handfasting. Today, there is no hard and fast rule about specific cords. If you choose to shy away from the traditional, anything fabric or rope-like can be used. Silk ribbons, cords in a variety of thicknesses, or fabric from your mother's or grandmother's wedding dresses are all popular options. Many couples choose to incorporate their wedding colors into the cords, whether it be a variety of shades or the two or three exact colors of your big day. Similarly, you could also use a strip of family tartan or a favorite patterned fabric that plays off the wedding colors. You can also incorporate the timeless wedding tradition of something old, new, borrowed, and blue—find a piece of vintage lace or fabric online, borrow the cords, or purchase a piece of rich blue fabric to use during the ceremony.

But if you'd prefer to go the non-traditional route entirely, consider using garland, vines, or woven flowers instead of cords. Your florist should be able to help you with that special request.

Where to Get Cords

Because of the nature of this tradition, handfasting cords can be found anywhere. If you go the DIY route, visit your local craft or fabric store; you'll find a large variety of both fabric and ribbon. If you're searching for something more specific, visit Etsy or local boutiques that specialize in special, handcrafted items. If you choose the more traditional route, there are specific websites that sell handfasting cords and ribbons—a quick search should yield a variety of options.

The handfasting ceremony is a beautiful tradition; not only is the ceremony simple, but the cords are, too. A perfect way to end your ceremony and welcome married life.

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