The word Handfasting is derived from the original Handfesta from the ancient Old Norse tradition of striking a bargain by joining hands or making a contract of marriage between couples.
Today many neo-pagans practise the handfasting ceremony. the marriage vows can differ depending on what the couple wish, for example the marriage may be 'as long as love shall last' or 'a year and a day' or 'for all eternity', or 'a lifetime' (like the traditional christian wedding)
Handfasting is a legal pagan wedding ceremony in Scotland and Ireland. The ceremony tends to be varied, some couples will prefer to follow the traditional handfasting rituals and others may adapt and adhere to just a few of them prefering to make their handfasting very personal and in keeping with what they believe. Usually rings are exchanged, they may reflect the couples personal spiritual beliefs or they may be simple plain wedding bands.
Ribbon and cord are often used to bind the couples hands symbolically to illustrate the union.
The colour and length of the ribbons and cords will depend on the couples personal beliefs and wishes also.