To understand Handfasting one should go back to its origins. It is not so long ago that only Royals and the Nobility were "married" in the sense of marriage today.
In old times, a young couple wanting to be married, would gather with friends and family around a fire outdoors.The fire would represent the "warmth" of love, and a healthy life.They would also lay a broomstick on the ground. The couple would state their intention of living a life together, and then, holding hands, they would jump over the fire and then over the broomstick.
Gerald Gardner took this very old belief, and formed the lovely ceremony of Handfasting.I've watched it quite a few times, and seen the couples wearing just about any sort of clothing.
Do you know, that here in Yorkshire, an unmarried couple living together are still referred to as "living over the brush"?