“Tying the Knot”

In this post I will discuss one of the oldest wedding traditions and some say the reason behind the phrase tying the knot.  The tradition dates back many centuries to the ancient Celtics when during the marriage ceremony the couple’s hands were literally tied together to symbolize the binding union and unbreakable bond between the couple.  This pagan custom became known as handfasting and was later incorporated into the religious ceremony throughout Ireland, Scotland and England.  Today, handfasting has become a growing trend in modern wedding ceremonies and is generally performed after the vows and ring exchange.

The handfasting custom was recently seen at the British Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle which took place in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor in May 2018.  During the service the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, solemnly wrapped the stole of his religious ceremonial vestments several times around the hands and wrists of the bride and the groom.

A variation of the tying the knot custom is sometimes performed in the Catholic wedding ceremony and the origin of this tradition can be traced back to countries such as Spain, Mexico and the Philippines.  During the service the best man and the maid/matron of honor will place a special white wedding cord tied into an infinity loop that is placed over the heads of the bride and groom to rest around their shoulders.  This custom symbolizes the lifetime union of the bride and groom that have been joined together in matrimony.  Afterwards, the cord is usually saved as a significant memento of the wedding and can sometimes even be passed on to the children of the bridal couple to be used years later at their weddings.

Another interpretation of the tying of the knot custom can be performed using two pieces of rope.  During the wedding ceremony the bridal couple will tie the two ropes together with a fisherman’s knot to symbolize that these two individuals are joining their lives together to become one.  The fisherman’s knot is generally used for this custom because it is considered the strongest knot and the most difficult to be untie.  The wedding “love knot” can be saved and later framed as a lasting memento of the wedding and it would be a great idea to personalize the frame to include the bride & groom’s names and the wedding date.


There is a story that in centuries long past sailors far away at sea or soldiers fighting in distant countries that were intent on marrying a loved one back home would send them a secret message with a simple rope.  If it was sent back with the rope tied into a knot it would mean that she was agreeable to marriage, hence the name “love knot”!!

As previously mentioned, shown in the section above is an idea for framing a wedding love knot, here are a few more ideas and suggestions for incorporating love knots into a wedding ceremony or reception.

Save the Date

Shown below are two ideas for save the date cards which are sometimes sent after an engagement but before the actual wedding invitation or announcements.

Wedding invitation or announcement

For a wedding invitation or announcement, the two ideas shown below feature elegant satin ribbons tied into love knots.


Shown below are two ideas featuring the romantic love knot and either choice would make a wonderful engagement or wedding present or perhaps even a special gift for the bridesmaids to commemorate the bride and groom’s special day.

Bridal bouquet

Long ago there was a tradition of tying the ribbons of a bridal bouquet with love knots, as shown in the photo below.

Shown below are two modern twists on love knots for a bridal bouquet, the first one features elegant knots tied into the ribbons of the bouquet wrap which would be perfect for a formal wedding and the second one is a macramé bouquet wrap which would be a great idea for a bohemian-style wedding.

Reception place settings

For a beach or nautical themed wedding reception, a rope love knot would make a wonderful place setting card holder or a table number holder.

Reception napkin ring

Another idea for a beach or nautical themed wedding reception would be a rope love knot napkin rings as shown in the photo below.

The next idea would be for a formal wedding reception and a napkin could be tied into a simple knot with the name of the guest tucked inside.

Wedding favors

Pretzels would make the perfect “love knot” themed wedding favor and shown below are two different styles of packaging.