Looking for an alternative to the traditional wedding?


Image courtesy of: Michael Dean of Baltimore, Maryland, United States.

Looking for an alternative to the traditional wedding?

Have you considered a traditional Celtic Handfasting ceremony?

A Handfasting ceremony is not recognised as a legal marriage ceremony, however in Scotland, the celebrant is authorised by the Registrar General, so officially recognised for Scottish couples. In the wider community, the handfasting ceremony can be used to strengthen your vows or to show commitment to your married relationship.



Handfasting is an ancient Celtic tradition that involved tying the hands of the betrothed together. This type of ceremony is very popular in Scotland and Ireland.

The tying together of hands with a ribbon or sash and exchanging of vows is believed to date back to late Medieval times deriving from the Old Norse; hand-festa. Handfasting then represented the betrothal (or engagement to be married) of the intended couple, not the actual marriage itself.

Today the ceremonies are tailored to the wishes of the celebrant couple and can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish.



Several of our Scottish and Irish castles are happy to offer this traditional ceremony, which blends nicely with the castle theme.

Featured Castle: Culzean Castle, Ayrshire, ScotlandFeatured Castle: Glenapp Castle, AyrshireScotland

Featured Castle: Dromoland Castle, Co. Clare, Ireland

Castles available to book through Celtic Castles

Search »