One of my favourite parts of planning a handfasting with a couple, is helping them decide on the colours for their cords or ribbons. Whether we’re going with one or multiple ties, understanding the choice of colours and their significance, adds an extra dimension to the handfasting. The colours mean different things depending on where you look, so asking your Celebrant to help explain the colours for handfasting is a great place to start.

There are no ‘rules’ on colours for handfasting – just lots of opinions!

As with many unity ceremonies, the handfasting ceremony is based as much on hearsay and myth as on stories, passed down and amended over time. Finding a difinitive guide to a handfasting is an impossible task. Many cultures and clans have used this method of marking a relationship and each has brought unique elements to it. The same is true for what the colours represent, so be prepared to be flexible.

You many want to consider the following when you decide how to choose the colours for your handfasting cords:

  1. Family tradition. Have family members before you, had handfasting ceremonies? If so, did they have a traditional set of colours or fabrics they used? This can be a good place to start.
  2. Family history. No way, way further back than that! I’m talking about ancient history. Where are you originally from as a family? I have maternal roots in Egypt and Africa. My paternal side came from Denmark or Sweden. Norsemen. That’s quite a combination. Both of these groups are believed to have used a form of handfasting, so exploring how they did this might influence my choice of handfasting colours.
  3. Local history and folkelore. If you’ve chosen a special place for your handfasting ceremony, it can be fascinating to look into the history there. If handfastings were performed in the past, can we link to them with a colour? Was there an event or occasion that took place here that you can reference in the ribbons you choose?
  4. Religious or faith-based. There are ‘language of…’ colours for many faiths. If you or your partner are of different faiths, choosing colours to represent both ot them can be beautiful.

In the Druid faith, and several of the nature-based religions, there are colours referred to for the elements. A blue ribbon for water, brown for earth, white for air and red for fire are often chosen. Bringing the four elements into the ceremony is integral in a Pagan ritual.

My list, compiled from a mixture of sources, includes the following suggestions:

White Peace * Truth * Devotion * Sincerity * Lifetime * Air element

Black Pure Love * Wisdom * Strength * Honour * Parenthood

Green Life * Mother Earth * Nurture * Prosperity * Natural Strength

Brown Nurture * Healing * Growth * Grounded * Soul Mates * Earth element

Purple Spiritual Strength * Healing * Power * Health * Mother love *Gender energy

Yellow Confidence * Balance * Equality * Brightness * Strength * Togetherness

Gold Wisdom * longevity * old age togetherness * Maturity in decisions * Strength from each other

Pink Love * Romance * Unity * Truth * Sexual Energy

Red Passion * Courage * Wealth * Health * Vigour

Silver Vision * Protection * Intuition * Unity

And I’m being asked to add new colours all the time! The key thing is to enjoy this process. It is a wonderful way to mark your relationship. This is about love and commitment. It’s about nurture and passion and dedication to each other. It ought to be fun!

From my heart to yours,
Dinah x

If you”re considering a handfasting and you’d like to talk about your ideas and the type of ceremony I could create for you, book a slot in my diary for a conversation. There’s no change and you decide if I’m the Celebrant to help you create the handfasting you’re hoping for,

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