• Blessing Of The Hands: A Classic Wedding Ceremony Reading

    It’s so easy to get caught up in the pretty images, details and practicalities of planning a wedding that we can forget about the marriage part beyond the big day and the deep and meaningful stuff such as the love, companionship, compromises and lifelong promises we make to each other.

    So I thought it’d be lovely to share some ceremony readings on Bridal Musings every now and again. Mainly because I found it quite depressing searching for ceremony readings and poems about love and marriage then being directed to really ugly or overly lovey dovey websites!

    I hope the non-religious ceremony readings/poems I feature will be a welcome additional source of inspiration for you…

    Today, I’m sharing a short and sweet classic wedding ceremony reading by an unknown author called ‘Blessing of the Hands’

    {Photo by Hannah of Funky Photographers}

    But first, here’s an interesting excerpt I came across while researching {aka Googling} hand blessings here:

    ‘Many cultures have different ways of blessing the hands of the bride and groom.

    In Thai ceremonies, for example, the couple kneels as elder, married relatives pour blessed water from a conch shell onto their hands and offer words of blessing. In the ancient Celtic tradition of hand-fasting, the couple’s hands are literally tied together to symbolize spiritual and physical unity as prayers and blessings are recited.

    In any tradition, a hand blessing is a ritual that is meant to draw you closer to one another…

    Hands are considered to be a connection to the heart, and a hand blessing symbolically brings two hearts together.’ {by Rev. Laurie Sue Brockway}

    With that in mind, let’s get onto the blessing ~ which is often read before the exchanging of rings at wedding ceremonies:

    Blessing of the Hands by Rev. Daniel L. Harris

    These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever.

    These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future.

    These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other.

    These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind.

    These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow, and tears of joy.

    These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children.

    These are the hands that will help you to hold your family as one.

    These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it.

    And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.

    How wonderful…

    Anyone planning on using this as a ceremony reading? I hope you’ll find this feature useful, please do share your thoughts, I’d love to hear from you.

    Elizabeth x


  • I am now officially crying into my chicken salad! That’s just so gorgeous, definitely something I will consider working into our civil ceremony next year. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • TheGreatMasticator

      I feed on chicken salad and tears of the innocent. Your disposition pleases me so. I will go to bed happily masticating on my chicken salad and tears sandwhich.

  • HI ELizabeth,
    thank you for posting this. As a Celebrant I am pretty passionate about people spending more time consciously choosing the elements of their ceremony. As you said lot of time and money is spent of the on the other details of the wedding-which is great-life and love SHOULD be celebrated but I think the ceremony definitely deserves loads of emphasis/energy too.

  • Melissa

    I came across this reading and it bought tears to my eyes and thought this is definitely going to be a part of my wedding ceremony. It’s beautiful!

  • Gclegg1

    just came from a wedding in Nashville and this blessing was used in the ceremony.  Absolutely beautiful!

  • louise

    Is this a legal service? Do the same laws apply as other marriages?

  • anxiousbride

    I found this and am sending it to my preacher right now! I want to use this right before or after the ring ceremony! I am super excited!

  • alicia

    Ive been looking for a poem to tie our hands this is perfect such a softy made me cry.

  • ElopingBride

    I love this and will definitely work it in to our ceremony!!!

  • We will have an edited version of this read as we invite relatives to tie ribbons around our hands (his right to my left, & we’ll state to wear the ribbons all day, testing our ability to work together forever. No rings for us.

    • Wow, what a unique idea! But that’s going to prove quite tricky when you need to go to the little bride or groom’s room ;) Wishing you all the best for the rest of your wedding plans.

  • Alison

    Thank you for sharing this!

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  • Rae

    I suggested this reading to my son an and his ‘to-be’ bride for their wedding later this week. Having just re-read it on your site I just know I will be sobbing..as I am now. So beautiful and full of hope. Oh dear!

    • bridalmusings

      That’s so wonderful to hear, Rae. Wishing them a very happy wedding day and marriage. Don’t forget to take tissues! :)

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  • Colleen Moore

    I had a “elopement” kind of ceremony. Just us, the official and photographer. I asked for a non-religious ceremony, and gave the vows we wanted. At the end of the 15 minutes, he had us hold hands and read this poem, it was beautiful, and more than touching. I cried when he was saying it. I am glad I found it so I can have it engraved on a gift. Beautiful, have your official use this, it means more hearing it during your wedding then just reading it as a poem. :)

  • Amy

    Thank you for finding this! My husband and I had this read at a Catholic marriage preparation weekend 16 years ago and I have never been able to find it since. I loved it then and cried, picturing all that lay ahead of us. Now, 16 years and 4 children later, it rings even more true. Our hands are such holy instruments and we don’t even realize it. Thanks for posting. I’ve copied it down and won’t lose it again!

  • Laura Pruim

    Thank you for posting this! I actually saw the reading of this poem in the wedding of the Bachelorette. It was so lovely that I went online immediately to search for the words. I would definitely like to use this in my son’s wedding in August. Thanks again.

  • Adriana

    Omg this is beautiful! THANK YOU for sharing!
    I have been looking desperately for a secular reading to go along with my plans to do a handfasting because my hubby (he and I are already married – yayy courthouses! haha)’s parents are Jehovah’s Witness and won’t come to our wedding (read: vow renewal) if it’s not secular… I think I might run this by him to see if he thinks it will be “acceptable” to them. If not, we might just be running off somewhere after the ceremony to have the handfasting done just the two of us and our officiant.

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  • BlissfullyWed

    I used this in my wedding and I absolutely loved it. This is what made me and my husband tear up during the ceremony. It is beautiful. Where we didn’t have any songs or “fluff” as my husband would say, this was a perfect fit for us. Thanks again!!

  • Kat

    I used this in my wedding 5 years ago and the friend that read it kept welling up. It was so beautiful, everyone loved it. I’m looking it up again now because I want to put it on a canvas for our new bedroom. Brings back wonderful memories and every word of it is true.

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  • Brenda

    I used this during my wedding ceremony and there was not a dry eye in the church, including myself! I have had requests from engaged guests and friends to have this poem at their ceremony. They never heard it until my wedding and it’s now a must amount my friends! Thank you so much!!

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  • Tina Evans

    I’m changing a few words and using this as part of my renewal ceremony. So beautiful!

  • Lisa

    Love it! Thanks for sharing.

  • Rhegis

    I used it at my wedding. Not a dry eye in the church.

  • Renay Kent Todd

    Is a hand blessing ceremony in addition to, or is it the actual ceremony that stands alone?

    • Rita

      I am getting married in May and I am going to use this poem at one point during the ceremony. Its a second marriage for the both of us. May need to change a few words

  • Sandra in Northern California

    Having a dear friend read this while another does a Handfasting <3

  • Ryan

    I read this at my best friends wedding, it was great as I am her gay best friend and I was still included in the ceremony. The celebrant addressed the guests and introudced the bride and groom after walking down the isle, and called me up to do a blessing of the hands. The family and friends all commented on how beautiful it was and really enjoyed it. I highly recommend this. It’s a great way for the bride to include her gay best friend ?


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