Timberwolf Creek Blog

A Celtic Handfasting

What a special afternoon!  Ok, it’s like this… Every state in America requires that you obtain your marriage license from the state in which you are to be married.  That same license has to be returned to that office, in order to be registered (Register of Deeds) and recorded (Vital Records), and only then can the wedding couple get a certified copy of their license.  That certified copy allows them to update drivers license, insurance, benefits, Social Security, etc.  We get lots of couples here from out of state – or out of the country – who’ve never even heard of Maggie Valley, never been in this part of North Carolina, or maybe even to the United States, but they loved the pictures (and apparently the zany innkeepers) of Timberwolf Creek, and they come here to us, to be married.  After the wedding, they have to mail away to our local courthouse for their official copy of the license, and all that administrative stuff is just in limbo while they wait.

This time, it was a little different.  Our very Irish couple (Americans) decided to come on Friday, apply for and get the license, and bring it to us here.  We then had a handfasting ceremony, with witnesses, who signed the documents.  Our couple then rushed back to the courthouse and registered their marriage!  To celebrate the completion of all this running-about, they went on to have a couples massage at Mountain Spirit Wellness, followed by a leisurely dinner out at Frog’s Leap Public House.

Handfasting cords: burgundy, gold, and green

Handfasting cords: burgundy, gold, and green


The cords are burgundy, gold and green.  The burgundy represents romance, partnership, and happiness.  The gold is for unity, prosperity, and longevity.  The green stands for peace, sincerity, and devotion.  And in this case, the cords were all from the bridegroom’s graduations, as he has more than one advanced degree – perfect!

The wedding ceremony (traditional) will be Saturday, no further government intervention required.  Voila.

A handfasting is an ancient Celtic custom, which allowed a couple to make a marital commitment to each other, for a year-and-a-day.  This was important in places like the rural Scottish Highlands, because it could be many months before you’d see a priest.  This way, a couple could be married, and then solemnize their ceremony within the church when the priest arrived later.  They wouldn’t be living in sin, and they didn’t have to wait months to be married.

As the handfasting is on Friday and the wedding on Saturday, I’ve explained to the groom that he now is expected to produce a wonderful anniversary gift on *both* dates, for the rest of his life.

He’s ok with that.

And may they live Happily Ever After.

Could my job just be a LITTLE more fun?  I think not.


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