Unlike marriages which are normally expected to be permanent "Till death do us part", handfastings are more like commitment ceremonies, usually lasting for a year. They are not legally binding and are not normally designed to last and "bind" two people together for a whole life time.
Why not for life?
Handfasting are inspired by traditions of tribal societies in Europe where people lived a very harsh life and were not necessarily expected to last through winter. These days we are spoiled by all our creature comforts but back then things such as child birth and a harsh winter were incredibly dangerous things which many people would survive.
If you were a strong young person of breeding age just because your partner died doesn't mean you would be expected to live the rest of your life in mourning. You would be expected to move on for the sake of your tribe and help produce more members and children of the tribe.
In modern times we don't have to worry about things such as this but one thing that often does get overlooked in Love and Marriage is the evolution of a person. After all people change and you will see many marriages that breakdown and people fall out of love with each other because they think and say "you've changed". It may not be a nice thing to say but partners can stop you from progressing and changing, some people can stagnate and feel smothered by their partner and a modern fix to this could be a handfasting. After all it is basically a marriage but for a set time scale. A person can change a lot over their lifetime so when you outgrow a person you are then able to move on.
The Symbology and Ritual of Handfasting
The ritual of a handfasting can be very specific to the couple or people involved and often follow the same kind of format as a stereotypical wedding. The main difference and probably most common practice found in the ritual is the physical binding together of two people hands with some form of cord or string.
Handfasting is a beautiful loving gesture and offers a very visual addition to the ceremony with a physical reminder in the form of the bindings. It is a very symbolic way to remember it and 'ties the knot', binding you in love to one another, in front of all of your loved ones. Creative and memorable keepsakes can also be part of the ceremony such as a signed commemorative certificate as proof that you have partaken in the ceremony.