Irish Hand-fasting and Anam Cara Ceremony at Cayman Sunset Beach Wedding


Joy Basdeo

On May 25th, 2011

Their wedding vows referenced Tir Na Nog (heaven)

When this couple from Las Vegas, Nevada asked me if I would perform a special wedding ceremony for them, I was delighted to comply.  They worked on their ceremony for several weeks, personalising it to suit their heritage, their beliefs and their relationship.  It was a great experience for me as well, as I had never heard of Anam Cara, and using the hand-fasting ceremony in this particular way was new to me too.

The Bride carried items of sentimental value to her

In addition to her bouquet, the bride carried a small blue pouch, given to her by her aunt. It held a small silver angel figurine and a crystal.  The burgundy ribbon in the hand-fasting ceremony came from the bride’s paternal grandmother’s sewing kit, her green Irish rosary was given to her by her maternal grandmother.  Since both grandmothers have passed on, the bride wanted to honour them, and have them “participate” symbolically in the ceremony, and she chose this way to honour their influence and their presence in her life.

Different colours in the hand-fasting ceremony were significant

The ribbons in a hand-fasting ceremony  are significant to the ceremony in that the colours are what the bridal couple choose to bring to the marriage. Each colour represents a characteristic.  The braiding of the cords is significant, as in Irish tradition it is thought that any bad luck or bad spirits get “lost” in the weaving or braiding. Braiding then, is supposed to prevent bad luck or spirits from finding you, and therefore many people choose to braid their hand-fasting cords.

Anam Cara speaks to finding your soul-mate

This is what the bride told me about Anam Cara:  ” Anam Cara was significant to us , as we started out as friends, and I love the tradition of one’s soul finding its true match. I thought it was a beautiful thought, and we wanted very much for it to be a part of our ceremony, as we are friends above everything else, and as such, we truly have gotten through many challenges.

When it came to our ceremony, we didn’t want it to be like everyone else.  We wanted it to be from the heart, to be meaningful, and to be rich with something that can also be passed down to our family in years to come…”

This is a Caymanian tradition, the wedding jump!

This was one of the most beautiful weddings I ever officiated, and it has definitely made my Top Ten Favourite Weddings.  It just shows how special you can make your wedding ceremony when you think about it and personalise it to include features of deep significance and meaning to you.

Surrounded by beauty

These images by Yvette McField, part of our Cayman Sunset Wedding package.  You can book Yvette for any wedding package through Simply Weddings.

The last word!




Joy has been a Civil Registrar of Marriages for almost 20 years. She opened her own wedding services office in June 2009. From her office overlooking George Town harbour she is ideally placed to serve her cruise wedding clients, as well other visitors and residents.


  • Penny Danielson says:

    It couldn’t have been more perfect. There just aren’t enough words for us to express our gratitude to you Joy. It is truly a pleasure to have met you, and thank you, truly, from the very bottom of our hearts, for taking such a precious moment in our lives and making it even more special by bringing your warmth and sincerity, and your beautiful spirit along to enrich the entire ceremony. We really are very lucky to have been married by you.

    • Joy says:

      The pleasure was mine. I really enjoyed doing your ceremony, and meeting you. Stay in touch, we’ll come and see you at Aria one of these days :)

  • Thank you Joy,
    Penny is my niece and she deserves every bit of beauty and blessing she can have with Carl. They are a wonderful couple. The wedding looked beautiful and we couldn’t be happier for them. It touched my heart that she used some of the same elements in my Handfasting ceremony…the ones that she knew would make me cry. And at the same time she made the ceremony her own. We come from a long line of writers and she wrote it beautifully.

    Thank you for honoring our traditions and this adorable couple who deserve every happiness.
    Aunt Leigh~

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