As I’m a new Pagan and have never seen a handfasting before, when I decided that I wanted to incorporate a handfasting at my wedding, I bought several books on the subject to try and educate myself. I thought I’d share my thoughts on some of these books.
Magickal Weddings is certainly a detailed book for anyone interested in handfastings. It includes a lengthy history of handfastings (somewhat romanticised I suspect, but I don’t really mind that!), how to plan some of the less magickal aspects of the handfasting (such as the legalities and practical things like venue etc), an explanation of tools used in paganism/wicca ritual, and even a huge section on picking the perfect date and time.
Despite being such a detailed account, I have to admit that I didn’t find this book so useful when planning my own handfasting. Much of the content seemed a bit irrelevant for me, but that could well be because my handfasting will be held in conjunction with a legal wedding, so I’ve been using other sources to research the more practical aspects. What’s more, some of the practicalities of the wedding made entire chapters of this book redundant; because we had to pick the date/time of the wedding entirely on the availability of the venue and guests, the whole section on choosing the best day/time according to the lunar/solar cycles had no meaning for me.
Additionally, some parts of the book seemed to veer off the handfasting theme just a little too much. There are sections on creating essential oils for massaging, divination and birth stones: not only are these not really related to handfasting, but I’d seen this kind of information in plenty of other texts about Paganism/Wicca so they seemed unnecessary here. The part I was most interested in – the final chapter, entitled “The Ceremony: Your Vows and Ritual” – was extremely slim compared to the rest of the book, even though this actually contained what I wanted to know (i.e. what a handfasting actually looks like). What’s more, I found the style a little unfriendly as a guidebook; the sample handfasting ritual featured was written entirely in full sentences and paragraphs; a “script style” would probably have suited this better.
As part of my overall research into handfasting, this book certainly did play a part, but to be honest, I found it less useful than some of the other books on handfasting out there.