40 Ideas for Your Handfasting

Planning a handfasting?

Don’t want it to look like a cross between a goth convention and a renaissance fair?

Or maybe you’d like to include a few subtle pagan touches to your traditional wedding that your pagan friends will understand, and your other guests will probably miss entirely?

Here are some modern ideas for the chic witch.

40 elegant ideas for your pagan handfasting

Consider a candlelight-only ceremony.

Nothing creates an ethereal, “elevated” atmosphere like candlelight.  Consider cutting electric lights and using lanterns and candles alone to light your ritual.

Choose your color schemes with magic in mind.

It need not be as obvious as “red for love.”  Perhaps you choose deep purple because you feel a psychic bond with your partner, or emerald green because your connection feels “earthy” and honest, or a deep yellow because you share an air sign.

For more ideas on how to use color, check out this article on the basics of color magic.

Fill cauldrons with fresh wildflowers and floating candles.

It doesn’t have to be a super-witchy, Halloween-inspired affair.  Dutch ovens in french country blue are lovely for a rustic theme, for example.

wildflowers and floating candles

Carry a bouquet of herbs.

Botanical herbs make gorgeous bouquets and they smell amazing,  Choose local, in-season herbs with meaning for marriage, like rosemary for love, life-everlasting for longevity, or dill for marital passion.

Chanting scrolls.

If your ceremony is seated, leave scrolls with a prayer or chant on the chairs for your guests to repeat at some point during the ritual.

The united voices of all your loved ones blessing your relationship adds a powerful emotional and spiritual element to the ceremony.  (Better for full-on handfasting where all the guests are comfortable with full rituals).

Try a spiral seating arrangement.

Aside from very unique advantage of letting everyone have a front row seat to the aisle march, the spiral subtly symbolizes the feminine divine as well as the lifelong inward journey of relationship commitment. 

Mark your circle with something beautiful.

Wherever you plan to stand for the ceremony, make a fuss about marking the border of where your clergy will cast the circle.   Be creative.  Here are some examples:

-For a spring or summer handfasting, ring the circle with fresh wildflowers.

handfasting circle

circle of flowers 4

circle of flowers

-For a fall handfasting, use autumn leaves, acorns and harvest fruits.

-For a winter handfasting, play with evergreens, pine cones, and molded ice create a wonderland feel.

-For a seaside handfasting, arrange seashells, hurricane lanterns, or nautical rope.

-For vineyard weddings, use grapes or grapevine.

Let your handmaidens/bridesmaids wear flower crowns.

If you want a super pagan feel, let your handmaidens wear flower crowns as an alternative to carrying bouquets.

As a bonus, it leaves their hands free to help you and it looks super pretty.

Personally, I think this works better for a younger crowd.  There’s something whimsical and charming about a 23-year-old handmaiden in a flower crown.

It can start to look a little ridiculous around age 30, so use your best judgement.

Choose a dress with a connection to your ancestry.

Was your mother born in Mykonos?   Pay homage to her homeland with a drape-y Grecian gown.   Irish roots?  Try a delicate dress of intricate lace.

Give your handmaidens something inspired by your tradition.

When selecting the traditional gift for your handmaidens, choose something from your pagan or witchy tradition.  This is an especially welcome gesture if your handmaidens are in your coven, but cool either way.

Here are some ideas:

-Gift certificates for a tarot reading.  Most tarot readers will be happy to creative gift certificates for bridesmaids or handmaidens even if they don’t normally offer them.

-A sachet of herbs blended for friendship and sisterhood.

-Rose quartz earrings or necklaces (symbolizes love in friendship).

-A bottle of herbs steeped in high-quality olive oil.  Choose herbs for friendship, loyalty or bonding.

-Personalized spell kits (baby blessing for the pregnant handmaiden, home blessing for the new home owner, passion spell for the newlywed in your circle, ect)

Give out mini smudge sticks to your guests as wedding favors.

It makes a perfect alternative to birdseed or bubbles or whatever the hell is trending on Pinterest right now for your guests to use during your send-off.

Warning:  You’d produce a LOT of smoke.

Floral incense sticks are especially lovely for handfastings.

floral smudge 2

floral smudge

handfasting smudge

Feature the Elements.

Be creative.  If you think about the setting and mood, a few obvious options will likely leap to mind.  Consider the following examples:

-Hang wind chimes from tents (Element of Air)

-Use elegantly potted herbs as centerpieces at garden handfasting (Element of Earth),

-Have a fire pit at the reception of a backyard handfasting (Element of Fire)

-Use floating candles in your centerpieces (Element of Water and Air)

-Release butterflies during the ceremony (Element of Air)

-Feature exotic seashells in the bouquets of a beach wedding (Element of Water).

-Give your guests bubbles to blow for your send-off (Element of Air).

-Give your guests sparklers for your send-off (Element of Fire).

Begin your reception with a traditional cakes and ale.

Instead of serving cake at the end, start your reception with dessert.  Serve mini cakes with ale during the toasts.

Tie cloth napkins with love herbs or spices.

Rosemary or thyme are both nice, subtle  love symbols for spring and summer months, or cinnamon sticks for winter and fall.

handfasting place setting

Serve seasonal, local food.

Farm-to-table catering provides earthy, delicious food that is connected to land around you.  I can’t think of anything more pagan than that.

Make lavender-filled sachets for your send-off (or let me make them for you!).

You will never forget running through a cloud of lavender.  This classic love herb smells amazing!







  1. Hi. My husband and I are having a handfasting in 5 years. I know it’s a long time away but it’s mainly because I am trying to figure out how to make it work.( Toxic family) I have a very religious Christian father that is disappointed in my religious preference and a very abrasive brother. This is the first time my husband and I will be fully showing people our beliefs. We are nervous. Do you have any advice?

    1. Hi Amanda,

      Thanks for your comment. Yes, I do. I actually have so much advice about this, I’d like to turn your question into a full article. Do you mind if I quote your question?

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