Top Ten Handfasting Venues
By Jacqui Thackway-Winn, Apr 7 2015 11:55AM
Pagan Wedding Planners has been organising, facilitating and performing Handfastings all over the UK for 5 years now. It's been a lot of fun and we have met some amazing people and conducted beautiful handfastings in some fabulous places. It's a job we both love and we consider ourselves very lucky indeed.
We pride ourselves on helping our couples find the perfect place for their ceremony, and many couples have introduced us to some great places too. We have performed handfastings in old decommissioned churches, in beautiful woodlands, ancient pagan sites such as Stonehenge, parks, caves, wild moorland and even in back gardens. Each venue has lent itself to the ceremony and has always reflected our couple’s unique styles and personalities. Picking your Handfasting venue is an important decision and you want to get it right. So, we have compiled a list of our top ten handfasting venues to help you get a feel and a flavour of what’s out there. These are in no particular order as we simply cannot pick our absolute favourite. It’s too difficult!
Chalice Well, Glastonbury, Somerset
Chalice Well Gardens are nestled in the heart of Glastonbury between the famous Tor and Chalice Hill. The waters of this ancient spring which bubbles up from under the Tor are considered sacred by many. The holy well is surrounded by beautiful gardens and orchards which makes it a gorgeous place to conduct a rite of handfasting. There are many magical spots to choose from, from under the ancient yew trees, or perhaps the apple trees in the orchard, or for smaller wedding parties, up by the well head itself. There is a cost for this venue but it is very reasonable and, as you hire the gardens outside of their opening hours, your wedding party gets exclusive use of this magical location.
The Rollright Stones
The Rollright Stones is an ancient site located on the Oxfordshire/Warwickshire border. We have performed several handfastings here and we love them! The circle is small but very strong in energy and each time we visit them they amaze us. There is a very small fee to pay (£20) which allows the handfasting to take place. We cannot guarantee absolute privacy here as they are open to the public daily, but in our experience the public are extremely respectful and keep their distance during the ceremony. This place is ideal for larger parties and the kids love it!
Avebury Stone Circle, Wiltshire
This is a simply stunning place for a Handfasting. It is a huge complex comprising a massive circular bank and ditch which encloses part of the village of Avebury itself, an inner circle of standing stones and two more stone circles – the Sun circle and the Moon circle. Its very atmospheric and extremely beautiful. For us, it certainly surpasses it's nearby “cousin” Stonehenge. There are lovely B&Bs in the village and venues for receptions and local caterers, or maybe organise a picnic within the stones themselves. Avebury is a free venue too!
Wookey Hole Caves, Somerset
This is one of the more expensive venues we have used but it really does have the “wow” factor. The staff are great and very handfasting friendly. The caves are also licensed to hold civil ceremonies if you want your marriage to be legally recognised. They have amazing on site facilities which include a lovely modern hotel with a honeymoon suite and a venue for the reception making it an ideal place to hold your entire handfasting/wedding celebrations from start to finish. The caves themselves are beautifully lit for your ceremony making them look and feel extremely magical.
Splotts Moor Farm, Glastonbury, Somerset
This is an amazing place just outside of Glastonbury. It has wonderful views of Glastonbury Tor one side and the stunning Somerset levels on the other. The owners are simply lovely and bend over backwards to give you the day you want. They have a purpose built stone circle on their land that, although it is modern, has been created with intent and love and the space is full of a gentle energy. There is accommodation in their B & B, and they allow camping if you want a “festival feel” to your celebrations. The marquee is stunning and is of a high standard, as is everything about this amazing venue. They book up for weddings very quickly so it is always good to enquire way in advance of your date.
Avalon Orchard, Glastonbury, Somerset
This beautiful orchard is nestled on the slopes of Glastonbury Tor, with stunning views over the Somerset Levels. We have performed handfasting here several times. Our favourite seasons here are spring, when the ancient apple trees are full of beautiful blossom and the autumn, when the boughs are heavy with apples. Apples have been seen as a fruit of love since ancient times, making this place an ideal place for a small, intimate celebration. This venue is free, but parking can prove difficult. Avalon Orchard is more suited to a smaller handfasting.
Blackberry Camp, Devon
We have not yet worked at Blackberry Camp, but we have a handfasting booked here in September this year. We went to look at it with our couple, who love the place, and we can see why. It's beautiful. It is set atop a hill with amazing views on one side, but is easily accessible on the other with good parking facilities. It is only small and is now covered in trees giving it a really natural atmosphere. In the spring it is at its most stunning, covered in a thick carpet of bluebells. We are very much looking forward to working in this lovely space.
This is a building on Glastonbury Hight St. It is a late 15th century stone town house that now houses a small museum and the local Tourist Information Centre. The building itself is very imposing but it is the garden at the back that we love. It is a hidden gem! Almost like a secret garden, as very few people know it is there. The garden is mostly lawn with some pretty borders and a couple of lovely trees for shade. It has a sweet little courtyard, an old well which is fed by yet another of Glastonbuy's sacred springs and a balcony leading off from the buildings first floor which is great for wedding photography. The garden can be hired for handfastings and being bang in the centre of town makes it handy for many suitable places in which to hold your reception. We have conducted handfastings here several times and have loved the atmosphere here very much. Unfortunately the website does not show the garden which is a shame as it really is very lovely.
Down Tor Stone Circle, Dartmoor
This is one for the slightly more adventurous! Down Tor is a particularly beautiful and magical stone circle on Dartmoor, Devon. It is quite small but absolutely stunning. We say that this is one for the more adventurous because it is situated about a half hour walk from the parking place, over the moor itself. However, it really is worth the effort! When we were booked for a handfasting here we had our reservations because of the walk and carrying all our kit, but when we saw the circle for the first time it simply took our breath away. It has a real presence when first setting eyes on it and the magical feeling just gets stronger as you approach it. When setting foot in this delightful circle you can really feel its energy and understand why it was built in this landscape. The views are amazing, especially on a fabulous summers day. Even if it's not your idea of a handfasting spot, it is well worth the visit.
Your back garden!
We have been asked on many occasions to perform handfasting celebrations in our couples back gardens! We find this works beautifully. The couples that ask this of us are usually very attached to their garden spaces and they have often created lovely gardens. Handfasting are all about the couple and their personalities and what better place to hold a handfasting then a very personal space indeed. We have worked in city gardens, country gardens, big gardens and small. It makes the organisation easy and the flow from the setting up of the space, to the ceremony itself, the reception etc all beautifully easy and so very personal. It is certainly something to consider if you love your garden and want something personal and intimate.
So, as you can see, these venues are all different and have something unique to offer. It is important to remember that you can choose pretty much wherever and whatever you want as far as a venue goes. We will always endeavour to guide and advise and seek the relevant permission where necessary. There are many stately homes, even castles, to choose from if you want something grand and imposing. But there are also the woodlands and meadowlands, the beaches and hilltops. It really is all about whatever works for you.
Just wondering what the prices were for hand fastening please?? :-)
Hello there could you please give me some prices for ceremonies as looking to get handfasting on the 21, May 2017 for our 3rd anniversary xx
I was wondering; Are handfasting weddings legally binding and if so; are Carnglaze Caverns a venue that I could have my handfasting wedding at?
I am engaged, but I think my fiancé wants to wait until next year. We haven't talked much about it yet, but we are very strongly considering having our wedding at Carnglaze Caverns, in Cornwall.
Thank you for taking the time to read this,
My fiance and I are looking for someone to carry out a hand fasting at the Rollright stones at dawn. Would you know how much this would cost and do we need to marry at a registry first to be married and then have our hand fasting.
My partner and I are looking for someone to carry out a handfasting in Gloucestershire location to be found x