Sample Ceremony: Fisherman’s Knot / Handfasting Blend

Fishermen’s Knot  Add-on Handfasting Ceremony is usually performed after you’ve exchanged vows and rings.

(Bride and Groom) you have just sealed your relationship by exchanging vows and with the giving and receiving of rings. When we began planning this ceremony, you had chosen to be wed by a Celtic Handfasting ceremony, the traditional ceremony of Ireland, and Scotland and the origin of the expression “tying the knot”.   Life has caused us to change course,  and we are blending the Celtic ceremony with a maritime knot tying – The Fisherman’s Knot – a true Lover’s Knot.  

Around the turn of the nineteenth century, an art form arose from the ranks of deep-water sailors. That art form was knotting. Sailors used rope to create knots that were anywhere from simple to elaborate. Some knots were purely for practical use and other knots were created for decorative use. Some knots were used to signify meaning. One knot that arose during this time period that was heavily laden with meaning was the True Lover’s Knot.   The true lover’s knot is a simple and clear knot, implying its forthright goal. It is made up of two overhand knots, linked together, much like the “true-lovers” are in their hearts. A deep-water sailor would tie the knot loosely, and send it to his intended back home. Upon receiving it, the woman could:

  1.  Untie it. – Meaning the sailor shouldn’t show his face around the next time he was in port.

2.  Send it back leaving it loose the way she received it. – Meaning the sailor would be welcomed home, but he better be on his best behavior.

3.  Tighten the knot before returning it. – Meaning the sailor should hurry his way back home.

Today their relationship is further symbolized by the tying of a fisherman’s knot; a true lovers knot, for it is the strongest there is; its bond will not break, becoming ever stronger under pressure. 

These two cords represent your life paths; each of you as individuals and the unique and special gifts you bring to your marriage. As you fasten your pieces together, these actions represent the present; this moment when you join your two lives into one common purpose. The completed knot represents your future, secure in the knowledge your relationship will continue to be strong despite the inevitable challenges and changes life brings. Although the fisherman’s knot is one of the simplest to tie, it is also one of the sturdiest. As stress is applied, the knot becomes ever stronger. 

It is the goal of marriage to achieve a blending of hearts and lives, but like the spaces between these cords formed by the knot, let there also be spaces in your new life together, so each may encourage and nurture the individual growth of the other. The promises made today and the ties that are bound here will greatly strengthen your union as they cross the years and lives of your soul’s growth, as individuals and as life partners.  

Friends and Family are an integral part of our lives, and you who are gathered here today to witness their union are those who are closest to this couple, who know them best, who support them, and who love them and who will share all of life’s joys and sorrows with them.  Yes, you are an integral part of their lives, as they are of yours.  In this light, Groom & Bride requests that you also make a pledge in this ceremony.  I will be asking them a series of questions.  After Bride & Groom have responded, I will then ask a question of you, their family and friends.  If you are willing and able, please respond to your questions with “I will”.  

(Bride and Groom), will you please tie your individual knot? ~ (couple begin tying the knot as officiant asks the following questions) 

*To Both*   Will you honor, appreciate and respect one another, sharing in each other’s hopes and dreams? 

To Witnesses:  Will you who are gathered here to witness this union offer guidance and encouragement to this couple as they strive to make their dreams a reality?  

And so the binding is made. 

*To Both*   Will you support, comfort and assist each other in times of pain and sorrow? 

To Witnesses:  Will you who are gathered here to witness this union offer your comfort to this couple when sorrows or misfortune befalls them?  If so, please say, I will.  

And so the binding is made.

*To Both* 
 Will you be fully present in the difficult and challenging times and share each other’s burdens so that you may grow strong in this union?  

To Witnesses: Will you who have gathered here to witness the union of this couple respect that this is their relationship and pledge to share your wisdom and guidance in ways that do not interfere, but rather offer support and comfort when needed?  

And so the binding is made.

*To Both* 
Will you share each other’s laughter and joy, look for the brightness and fun in life, and strive to see and appreciate the positive in each other?  

To Witnesses: Will you who are gathered here to witness this union share in this couple’s joy and laughter, celebrating with them life’s pleasure?  

And so the binding is made.

*To Both* 
 Is it your intention to bring peace and harmony into your daily ways of communicating and living together? 

To Witnesses: Will you who have gathered here to witness this union also pledge, as these two have pledged, to champion this marriage with the light of truth and warmth of love, reminding them that love is the way through which all disagreements can be resolved?   

And so the binding is made. 

*To Both* 
 And when you falter, will you have the courage and commitment to remember these promises and take a step back towards one another with an open heart and willing spirit? 

To Witnesses: Will you who have gathered here to witness this union defend this couple and their love to the ends of the earth, with words and deeds, letting no lie go unchallenged?  

And so the binding is made.

Tie the Knot

I ask that you now pull on this rope to see it strengthen under pressure while still allowing us to see the individual cords ~ just as your support of one another as beautiful and blessed individuals strengthens your union. ~ (pull on the rope together) 

As you hold one another in mutual concern and shared respect, may you continue holding each other tightly in your hearts and form a strong bond, now and forever. Let this knot indicate the strength of your love and be a symbol of your unity from this day forward.