Some weeks ago my friend Kevin Cadwallender asked me to conduct a handfasting ceremony for him and his partner Fatma. Of course I felt deeply honoured, but rather nervous about the process. I needn’t have worried. The ceremony was held yesterday, in the Scottish Poetry Library, and it was, I thought, a very beautiful occasion.
For those who don’t know, a handfasting is an ancient Celtic ceremony to recognise the binding of a couple, the creation of a partnership. Vows and promises are exchanged by the couple, and the guests are involved by promising to support them. Rings, having been consecrated by the elements of earth, air, fire and water, are exchanged by the couple, whose hands are then bound together by a symbolic ribbon.
As I spoke the words of the ceremony, in front of a large gathering of friends and family, I found them to be both moving and very meaningful, far more so than the memories of my own civil marriage ceremony all those years ago. It was lovely.
We then moved over to the Mushroom Trust’s beautiful garden in Dunbar’s Close for photographs and toasts – a gorgeous setting – and then we continued to celebrate in the Canon’s Gait pub. A memorable day, and a very happy one.