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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good planner with lots of basics, 15 April 2005
By 
Margaret A. Foster (Quakertown, PA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Romantic Guide to Handfasting: Rituals, Recipes and Lore (Paperback)
The idea of this book is to offer a planning guide for anyone looking at having a pagan handfasting ritual. The author has laid out the basic components of putting together a modern handfasting with all the romantic trimmings.
There is a lot here on tradition and background. The opening of the book gives a good basic overview of handfastings and their historical background. Also further along in the book the author covers are some wedding traditions from various countries.
The author includes a kind of "checklist" for organizing your event. Tips include budgeting, members of the wedding party, family and friends and writing your own commitment.
The ritual part contains two basic rituals, one being pagan, or very general, and the other being "Wiccan" or path specific. The idea is that you take the basics and embellish it to suit your own spiritual or ritualistic needs. Further along in the book there are blessings, poems, and other ideas for these embellishments. Ms. Franklin as even included a "hand parting" ritual.
The balance of the book contains the "embellishments" to add to your handfasting. Covered are various Gods and Goddesses that you may want to include in your ritual along with some background on those discussed. There is also a chapter on picking a date in accordance with phases of the moon, time of day, particular holiday, and specific month or day.
There are "themes" presented for your celebration. Everything from "simple pagan" or "formal Wiccan" to Viking, Roman or culturally based wedding traditions, these basics will give you something to think about and possibly consider adding to your celebration.
There are correspondence tables for woods for brooms, if you are going to include this in your handfasting. There are color correspondences for dresses and clothing, discussion on cords, the veil, rings and a correspondence table for gemstones. There is even a "Victorian Language of the Flowers" list. And of course, there is magical plant lore and some basics on wreaths, bouquets, and incense and oils.
The author includes a section on recipes for cakes and goodies you may want to have at your reception. All include ingredients that have some romantic or magical correspondence. There are some more complex recipes for wines, wine blends and mead which will require varying degrees of skill.
And there is a section on spells and charms; little workings to assure a successful handfasting and future for the bride and groom.
There are samples of handfasting certificates, invitations and some appendices on anniversary gifts and some "Useful Addresses" most of which are in the UK as the author resides there.
The romance indicated in the title is provided by the bride and groom as they leaf through the guide and choose those things that will represent their lives together and prepare a ceremony that will provide meaning to them specifically. The romantic materials are in the handbook for them to reference.
The history and background section is a very good explanation of what a handfasting is all about and where it originated. This can be helpful to the couple when they explain to their family and friends why they are choosing this type of wedding ceremony.
This book is more about making the preparations for a handfasting than about the ritual itself. This is a guide, a resource for the bride and groom to use for planning the extra touches for their special day. Its focus is pagan and Wiccan handfastings, and it does offer many basic ideas which can be built upon by a couple who know what they want and just need something to walk them through the process. The basics are here. The book allows for you to pick and choose from some very extensive tables of extras that can make your handfasting both magical and romantic. This book is a good choice for couples looking for a handfasting resource.
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A Romantic Guide to Handfasting: Rituals, Recipes and Lore
A Romantic Guide to Handfasting: Rituals, Recipes and Lore by Anna Franklin (Paperback - Jan 2005)
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