How to Tie Handfasting Cords

Updated March 23, 2017

Handfasting, or the custom of binding a couple's hands together during a wedding ceremony, has been practised in a number of ways, in different cultures, throughout history. Handfasting cords can be made of nearly any material, such as silk ribbons, soft vines, knitted bands, woven wire or hemp cord, and can be braided, twisted or macramed together. Whatever the material, the symbolism remains the same: physically connecting a couple during a ceremony to represent their spiritual joining into a new unit and family.

Position the couple so they are facing one another.

Instruct the couple to clasp their hands during or after the vows, as desired.

Wrap the handfasting cords around both the couples' wrists and hands. You can wrap the cord once around each, or choose a number that is meaninful to the couple. Do not wrap the cords tightly! It is important the couple can slip their hands out of the cord after the ceremony.

Tie a strong knot connecting the two ends of the cord, between the couples' hands.

Allow the couple to slip off the handfasting cord, keeping the ends knotted, after the ceremony.


It's a good idea to practice the actual wrapping and tying of the cord before the ceremony to ensure the bride, groom and officiant are comfortable and familiar with the procedure.

Things You'll Need

  • Handfasting cord
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About the Author

A writer and professional lab assistant based in Seattle, Kate Bruscke has been writing professionally about health care and technology since 1998. Her freelance clients include "The Seattle Times,", Reading Local: Seattle, Nordstrom and MSN/Microsoft. Bruscke holds a Master of Fine Arts from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.