Irish wedding traditions are steeped in the country's rich history and love for heritage. If you are planning to attend or hold an Irish-inspired wedding, learn more about this culture's special traditions.
Common Irish Traditions
Include one or more of these commonly seen traditions in your Irish wedding ceremony or reception.
Make Up Bells
When the Irish make up bells ring, not only are the evil spirits being kept away, but harmony is being restored to the union. A traditional Irish wedding gift, when makeup bells ring out, a truce is to be called amongst quarreling families. When rung, the couple needs to cease fighting.
Many Irish brides carry a small porcelain horseshoe in their wedding bouquets for good luck, according to Celtic Atlanta. Years ago brides used to carry the real thing, but in this day and age that's a little cumbersome. This Irish wedding tradition has been reformed.
Some brides wear a bracelet with a horseshoe charm or carry a lace handkerchief with a horseshoe embroidered into it. The horseshoe is always carried upside down so the luck doesn't run out.
The magic hanky is another wonderful Irish wedding tradition. The bride will carry or wear a handkerchief on her wedding day. After her first child is born, she will sew that handkerchief into a baby's bonnet. It is hoped that if the baby is a girl, she will take the stitches out when it's her turn to get married and carry the same handkerchief down the aisle thus repeating the process and creating a wonderful heirloom.
Instead of elaborate veils and large cascading bouquets of roses, Irish brides favor a wreath of wildflowers in their hair and bouquets of herbs and wildflowers to match.
Salt and Oatmeal
According to the Celtic-inspired website Celtic Atlanta, on the morning of the wedding, the couple will each take three spoonfuls of oatmeal and salt. This is believed to protect them against evil.
The Irish bride must be sure to keep both feet on the floor while dancing. If she doesn't, the fairies might get the upper hand.
Handfasting is when the bride and groom's wrists are tied together with a ceremonial ribbon. This tradition that goes back hundreds of years. Today, some Irish couples still choose to incorporate handfasting into their wedding ceremony. Special craft websites like Gaia's Handfasting Cords create custom handfasting cords for Irish couples.
According to Irish site Minogue.com the traditional Irish wedding meal may consist of salmon or colcannon, a potato dish.
The wearing of Claddaugh rings are probably the most popular Irish wedding rituals. When worn on the right hand, the ring indicates that love is "being considered." When the ring is placed on the left hand the wearer is married or has been handfasted. Shop Claddaugh Rings for hundreds of ring styles if you are interesting in incorporating this aspect inro your wedding.
Lollysmith has dozens of Irish wedding blessings, toasts and poems perfect for being read at the wedding or reception. Couples may write blessings for one another or ask the officiating minister to a read a blessing out loud.
Make It Your Own
While there is a lot of cultural pride involved in Irish weddings, it doesn't mean you can't tweak tradition to suit your needs. Implement your favorite traditions and don't be shy about creating your own. Pay homage to tradition with inspired wedding traditions.