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.
Typically a hand blessing is a ritual that is meant to draw you closer together. I have always heard that the hands are a connection to the heart, and a hand blessing symbolically brings two hearts together. When I officiated the wedding of a physician recently, she confirmed that physically there is a connection between the veins in the hands and the heart.
I like to offer couples a nondenominational approach. It can be done at any point in the ceremony yet fits in perfectly right after the exchange of the rings.
Here's how it works: You and your beloved face each other. First join your right palms and then your left palms. This forms an infinity symbol with your hands, which symbolizes a love that will go on forever.
I love to begin with the sentiment that Shakespeare said, "Now join your hands, and with your hands, your hearts." Then I ask the couple to look into one another's eyes. There are a number of written/spoken blessings that can be used.
Here is one that I wrote recently:
These are the hands of the one you love and adore.
On this day, you promise to love and honor one another for all your days.
Reaching out to the one you love, may you find strength.
Standing side by side, may you find partnership.
Sharing responsibilities and chores, may you find equality and ease.
Helping each other in daily life and works, may you find fulfillment.
Loving each other through dark and light times, may you find power.
Look deeply into one another's eyes, now, and promise to always see one another through the eyes of love.
As you hold hands, may you warmly hold one another's hearts.
Our wish for you is that you build an extraordinary life together.
May your marriage be all you two would choose it to be!
With eyes locked, and hands linked, this ritual is a beautiful symbol of the union of two hearts, two lives, and two souls.
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