Weddings are all about bringing people together. The best weddings are all about blending families and customs in a meaningful way. Unfortunately, it is often easier said than done.
Every culture has its own traditions, each with a charm all its own. A wedding is a perfect opportunity to pay tribute to the beautiful customs and traditions of the past. The trick is finding the best ways to incorporate them into your modern-day wedding ceremonies and celebrations.
Some of the most beautiful and touching customs come from Ireland. If you are Irish, then you are already more than aware of the plethora of charming traditions. If not, well, then get ready to learn something new.
At The Celtic Croft, we are obsessed with all things Irish and Scottish. We have compiled a list of the best Irish wedding traditions you need to incorporate to give your big day a bit of Celtic flair.
1. Tie the Knot
You’re looking at the original folks. This ceremony has its roots in ancient Ireland. It was traditionally overseen by a druid, poet, Fili, or any person of high standing in the community.
This ritual involves using rope, ribbon, or lace to tie the couple’s hands together. This tying represents the bond and union of the happy couple. It symbolizes the bond they share now, on their wedding, and that will only grow stronger as the years go on.
This ceremony often coincides with the Irish Festival of Lunasa in which couples who plan to marry exchange “love knots” to represent their growing bond.
You can easily incorporate aspects of both these lovely traditions into your ceremony. Add a ribbon-tying moment in your celebration. Pay homage to your Irish roots and include a sweet element in your wedding day.
The best part, you can customize your ribbon to your taste and style. If you have children, they can help you pick the ribbon colors and can even participate in the tying ceremony. You can also add a charm or keepsake that has significant and personal meaning to you as a couple.
2. Irish Wedding Toast
This next one is perfect for your wedding reception. Irish culture is full of toasts and speeches for all types of occasions; of course, there is a great one for weddings.
Are you ready for it? Here goes-
The entire wedding party fills their glasses with mead. The happy couple begins by reciting this toast:
“Friends and relatives, so fond and dear, ‘tis our greatest pleasure to have you here. When many years this day has passed, fondest memories will always last. So we drink a cup of Irish mead and ask God’s blessing in your hour of need.”
The guests then respond:
“On this special day, our wish to you, the goodness of the old, the best of the new. God bless you both who drink this mead, may it always fill your every need.”
Then, the best part, everyone drinks! It’s a great way to bring a little piece of Ireland to wherever you are.
Check out our collection of mugs and glasses, many of which would be perfect for a wedding toast.
3. Irish Music
When you think of Irish music, two main instruments should come to mind. Those are the bagpipes and Uilleann Pipes.
Bagpipes are a standard part of many Irish weddings. If you have a big Irish family, chances are someone in your family plays the bagpipes. Pick a few popular tunes, such as “Stack of Barley” or the “Highland Fling,” play a couple jigs or reels, and dance the night away.
The Uilleann pipes are perhaps even more authentically Irish than bagpipes. They are quieter and sweeter instruments with a vast range. No Irish wedding ceremony is complete without Uilleann pipes. If you add them to your service, don’t be surprised if there isn’t a dry eye in the house.
4. Irish Lace
One of the more simple Irish wedding traditions is Irish lace. An Irish bride usually carries a lace handkerchief on her wedding day. That same handkerchief is later turned into a christening bonnet for the bride’s first child.
To keep with tradition, you should embroider your lace handkerchief with your initials and the date of the ceremony.
The bride can also wear a lace garter, even better if it is made with tartan.
5. Irish Rings
Symbolism can be found throughout Irish culture. Wedding rings are no exception. When it comes to traditional Irish wedding bands, you have the Claddagh and the Celtic Knot.
The Claddagh ring has been exchanged for centuries in Ireland. It is made up of two hands, holding a heart that is wearing a crown, and it represents love, loyalty, and friendship. It was initially designed as a wedding token and is still highly popular today.
The Celtic Knot is also known as the endless knot or mystic knot. It has been a fixture in Celtic art since the 5th century. It is hard to determine the exact origins of the Celtic knot, but it has a prominent place in Irish heritage.
After the wedding couple places rings on the hands of each other, handfasting is performed. In this tradition, tartan is wrapped around the hands of the couple, signifying their union and binding them together.
6. A few Irish Wedding Superstitions
The Irish believe that if the sun shines on the bride on her wedding day, the couple will have good luck. The call of a cuckoo bird is also considered lucky, as well as a sighting of three magpies.
Many years ago, the Irish believed that it was essential for a man, not a woman, to be the first well-wishers to the new bride. They would also lock the church doors during the ceremony to prevent a runaway groom. Apparently, Irish men are known to have cold feet.
Your big day will be special, no matter what you do. As long as you celebrate the love you share, nothing else matters.
Any Irish wedding traditions you do decide to incorporate will be the icing on the cake, pun intended.
Check out the Celtic Croft for any of your traditional Irish or Scottish clothing needs. We are proud of our roots. If you are in love with all things Celtic, like we are, come on over and check us out!