Traditional Irish wedding dresses are also known as Celtic wedding gowns. Besides being highly prized for Irish themed weddings, a Celtic gown is popular amongst Renaissance Fair attendees and fantasy role players.
History of Irish Wedding Dresses
Until 1499, blue was the favorite color for a bride's wedding gown. In Medieval times, the color blue was a symbol of purity and fidelity. Irish brides wore blue gowns, blue-flowered headpieces and veils. During a time when royal courts set the fashion, Anne of Brittany, later Queen Anne of France, wore white at her third wedding. Queen Anne inspired fashionistas across England, Ireland and France, as brides began to down replicas of the white gown worn by the beautiful queen at their own weddings.
Today, Irish brides still pay homage to tradition by "wearing something blue" under their wedding dresses. This may be a blue handkerchief pinned inside her gown or wearing a blue garter on her leg. These Irish wedding traditions have gained in popularity in countries around the world.
Irish wedding dresses range in style choices and Irish or Irish-loving brides have plenty of variety. Dress styles vary by sleeve length, bodice choice and hemline. The majority of Irish gowns today are white, but there are some brides who prefer to wear blue or other colors. There are as many gown styles as there are Irish brides and small details can change the look of these basic styles.
Peasant Wedding Dress
This style of dress is a "Renaissance" dress. It is a simple gown that you can wear alone or wear layered with skirts or sashes. The gown length reaches the top of the feet. Typically, a ¾ quarter sleeved white cotton shirt goes underneath. The bodice laces up the front tightly or loosely. A daisy chain bridal crown finishes this peasant wedding look.
Celtic Wedding Gown
This dreamy dress is reminiscent of ancient Irish queens or the fairy Queen Maeve. The Celtic wedding dress is made of silk and white deerskin and the undergarments are of white linen. Long and flowing, the gown pools on the ground around the bride's feet. Overlarge, belled sleeves makes a bride look like an ethereal being when she lifts her arms. A jerkin or long vest of deerskin layers dress and it ties in the front. Besides ivory, this Irish wedding dress may be ecru or butter yellow. This full, lush gown needs no headpiece or veil.
The princess-cut style dress is a classic white dress with ultra-long sleeves. The gown reaches the ground and pools slightly around the feet. The bodice and skirts are usually one piece and fits in a princess cut around the waist. A drooping belt rests on the hips of the bride and gathers in the front. The neckline may vary but you will often see a sweetheart or square neckline. Brides feel like a queen by wearing a metal or faux metal circlet crown with this outfit.
Where to Buy
Shop online and search through extensive Irish wedding gown catalogs to find a dress you love. You will find many gowns are not mass-produced but made specifically for the bride according to her measurements. As these gowns are one of a kind, you may find prices are slightly higher than a dress purchased off the rack. Keep in mind that brides will need to have their dresses altered to get the best fit possible.
Kathryn and Alexandra
The Kathryn and Alexandra Dress Company enjoys recreating historical gowns and Irish style dresses; it is one of their specialties. Brides will find Medieval, Renaissance and Elizabethan Irish dresses for sizes up to 22W. You can request a sample of the fabrics before ordering a gown. Kathryn and Alexandra have won Emmy Awards for their gown work in films.
Brides of Eire
The home of this site is located in West Cork, Ireland. At the Brides of Eire, you can find a corseted or straight gown covered in lovely Irish lace or satin detail. The popular "Alisha" dress is white, slinky satin and has an elegant draped look. See this dress and tons more at the Brides of Eire.
Pay homage to Irish tradition by choosing from Irish wedding dresses for your special day. These romantic gowns will look breathtaking in person and in your bridal portraits.