I have seen many types of handfasting knots, some with actual knots, some more like a wrap or a drape with many variations on how much of the handfasting cord is left hanging down - from lots to none at all. Here's a rundown on some of the types of handfasting knots you can choose from, with pictures to illustrate the processes.
"The Gift" Handfasting Knot
This is a handfasting knot that resembles the way you would tie a ribbon on a gift. The couple face each other and each one puts out both of their hands, with palms facing each other. The celebrant begins by draping the handfasting cord over the alternately stacked hands, and proceeds to wrap and then knot the hands at the top.
"The Drape" Handfasting Knot
Using only the right hands of the couple who face each other, this is not actually a knot, but more like a snake-like entwinement which travels up the arms a little way, or can just encompas the hands, as the two pictures show. In the first, the couple hold each other's wrists, in the second, they gently touch palm to palm.
"The Wrap" Handfasting Knot
The couple in this shot are seated with their hands clasped, hers on top of his, and the handfasting cord wrapped but not knotted around the hands. The cord is wrapped until it is used up, so there is no part dangling down afterwards. You can see this knot below using the traditional Irish crios, and also using an Irish Lace handfasting cord.
The "Wrap, Release and Pull" Handfasting Knot
This is a fun variation in which the couple themselves form the handfasting knot by releasing their hands from the wrap while holding opposite ends of the cord, and then pulling on the handfasting cord. This is a good option if you'd like to keep the actual knot in the cord going forward :)
The "Loose" Handfasting Knot
This option can be done with the couple both using their left hands as shown in the first image, or with the couple using a left and a right hand. The second option allows for them to turn and face the gathered family and friends, and even to walk side by side through the crowd with the hands still tied as you can see in this blog post here.
"The Discrete" Handfasting Knot
This is a simple overhand knot which is done below the hands after wrapping the handfasting cord three times around the hands, as you can see in the picture.
"Side by Side" Handfasting Knot
A trend I noticed in 2019 was for the couple to hold hands and have the two hands tied while standing side by side. This means that the couple are movbile and can walk through family amd freiends with the knot still in place - creating opportunities for lots more handfasting photo opportunities!!