This is the perfect blog to read if you’re looking for a personal and sentimental wedding ceremony! Perhaps you’re getting married outside or at a venue without a wedding license! Photos feature Carley & Daley at Parkgate Farm – Cheshire Wedding Photography

I learned so much during my interview with Laura Hurley of Colours and Promises and wanted to share these romantic images from a small ceremony at Parkgate Farm. Laura is an Independent Celebrant based in Cheshire who loves what she does! She gets to know what makes your relationship unique. She creates a bespoke ceremony which brings your words and feelings about each other to life. Delivering the ceremony on the day is the cherry on the cake as she watches in admiration as couples make their promises to each other. How lovely!

Let’s hear from Laura on her 10 things you need to know about hand tie ceremonies!

Stunning Venue Parkgate Farm

Cheshire Wedding Photography

1) What is a hand tie ceremony? What it’s history?

Hand-tying can be found in many different cultures, all over the world. During the middle ages, in the U.K., it was used as a declaration of a couple’s intention to marry so that other suitors were aware the bride/groom were no longer available. The couple would have their hands bound together as a symbol of their commitment to each other and this legal contract lasted for one year exactly. Although, they were obviously allowed to remove the ties after the ceremony. Then, after the year had passed, they could either decide to marry or go their separate ways.

2) Does the ceremony make the marriage legal? Can you have this ceremony in addition to a celebrant service?

Hand-tying ceremonies are not legally binding. They are a symbolic and beautiful demonstration of your commitment to each other. They can be done as part of a longer ceremony or independently, perhaps as an intimate elopement ceremony, for example.

3) What type of couple is a hand tieying ceremony perfect for?

I think, if couples are open to possibilities, a hand-tying ceremony suits most couples. They’re so versatile! I have just written a ceremony that has a hand-tying with a twist included in it. The couple are huge Harry Potter fans so I have incorporated an adapted version of The Unbreakable Vow for them. I’m so excited to deliver that one. I also have another gorgeous couple who are incorporating The Red String of Fate and they will just have their fingers tied together during their vows for that one. Then there are others who opt for a simple and beautiful hand-tying with personalised vows because they want to feel closer to each other. Couples looking for Cheshire Wedding Photography would love these ceremonies too!

4) What are your top tips for a couple to know before their hand tie ceremony?

  • Chose materials that are significant to you. These could be sentimental or related to your relationship in some way
  • Have a long think about the colours you choose
  • Think about the logistics e.g. will you exchange your rings before if you want both hands bound, who will perform the ceremony, what stage of the ceremony will you perform the hand-tying, who will hold the chords?
  • Choose a Celebrant who is confident in delivering hand-tying ceremonies and don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions.
  • Biggest tip- Have fun with it and get creative!!!

5) Can you bring along material to best suit the wedding’s colour scheme?

Absolutely! There are lots of options in terms of colour. You can pick the same colours as your colour theme. Or you could pick colours that represent your birth months, the month you met, the birth months of your children, etc. Or you could choose colours that represent the aspects of your relationship that you want to take forward into your relationship. For example, red for love and passion, light blue for tranquillity and patience, gold for prosperity and strength, etc.

Materials used:

This is an aspect of hand-tying ceremonies where couples can really let their creativity flow. The common materials used are cords, cotton, lace, ribbons, silk etc. However, you can use so many materials and they can be linked into your interests, personalities and histories. For instance, climbing rope for keen climbers, a chain of tied laces from running or walking shoes for walking/running lovers, left over material from nan’s wedding dress. There are so many options. I also encourage couples to make their own braided hand-tying cords but there are many amazing suppliers who can do this for them.

6) What information do you need to know about the couple before you can perform the ceremony?

I have an in-depth conversation with my clients about every aspect of their ceremony, so it is completely tailored to their needs and wishes and so I can make it as fun, personalised and as dreamy as possible. For a hand-tying I would need to know if they are physically able to stand bound to each other for the length of the ceremony but other than that it is designed on an individual basis and I get the feel for what they want and what will work through our many discussions and write it accordingly.

7) How long does the ceremony last?

The hand-tying section of the ceremony typically lasts 5-10 minutes. Some celebrants offer much longer, much more in-depth ceremonies that are deeply spiritual and if I get the sense this is what couples are looking for, I will refer them on accordingly.

8) What is your fave thing about holding and performing a hand tie ceremony?

My favourite aspect of a hand-tying ceremony is the intimacy of it all. I find them exceptionally meaningful and romantic. The couple are saying “I bind my heart and soul to yours, for life.” It also makes for a great piece of visual theatre for the guests as the couple pull the cords together and officially “tie the knot” for all to see.

9) What has been your fave moment of a hand tying so far?

Well, of course that has to be the one I did as part of the awesome styled shoot with you Sarah at Parkgate Farm for Cheshire Wedding Photography! I love ALL the hand-tying ceremonies that I write and deliver as they are all so very different and yet so meaningful for all involved. I am so privileged to be a Celebrant and be involved in so many beautiful ceremonies.

10) What tip or fact do you think would most help photographers when shooting a hand tie ceremony!

The biggest tips I could give to photographers when shooting a hand-tying ceremony would be to chat to the Celebrant beforehand as they will be able to let you know where they and the couple will be standing and the key parts to look out for. They will let you know if and when any family members will be involved and if there will be a grand finale, for example with the couple raising a tied infinity know for all their guests to see.

Read more about small weddings with Charlotte and Lotties intimate Isla Gladstone micro wedding

Cheshire Wedding Photography


Photographer | @sarahbrookesphotography
Celebrant | @Coloursandpromisesbylaura 
Venue | @parkgatefarmweddings
Dried flowers | @Vintage_rose_craft Ceremony
Fresh flowers | @theflowerfoxfloraldesign
Plants | @Cheshirehouseplants
Grazing table | @Thymeoutsidecatering
Lighting | @lovelightstw
Stylist & Furnishings/Signage | @inkandalder_ 
Stationery | @madebyraedesigns_uk
Cake | @love_buttercup_cakes
Makeup Artist | @bylucinka
Hair Stylist | @Vickymhair
Flower Crown | @f.o.l.k.y.d.o.k.e.y
Dress | @alongcameevebridal
Earrings | @ariannatiaras
Wood vases | @somethingfromtheturnery