Irish Wedding Traditions

Irish wedding traditionsPhoto by Mike Patterson Photography 

Anyone who has looked into having an “Irish wedding” with “typical Irish wedding traditions”, will find a lot of {let’s be honest} cheesy traditions. Some are true {as far as the internet and I know}, some may be a bit far fetched but with Irish traditions just like any traditions, I say pick and choose the ones you like and include them and leave the cheese behind.

Here are a few traditions that I personally like – but you may find cheesy.

Irish hand fasting ceremonyPhoto by Poppies & Me

Handfasting ceremony – The saying “tying the knot’ comes from an old Celtic tradition that symbolizing the bond of marriage. The couple hold hands and a ribbon, cord, or rope is wrapped around their joined hands as a symbol of their agreement to be bonded together for life. This can be a really lovely part of your ceremony.

Braids and wildflowers in her hair – Braids were a symbol of feminine strength and provided the wearer luck. Irish brides also wore a wreath of local wildflowers in their hair as opposed to a veil and carried a wildflower bouquet with herbs.  I think you should do the both together. Sweet, stylish and empowering.

Meade – This is a honey based liqueur that is claimed to be the oldest drink in Ireland {and possibly Europe}.  Years and years {and years} ago they would drink it at weddings thinking it would bring the couple fertility. The couple were to drink it from goblets for a full month {one passing of the moon} after the wedding which is where the term honeymoon comes from. Honest. Now, admittedly, I may like this tradition because it’s alcohol.

Bells – I’ve heard of 2 traditions to do with bells and Irish weddings. One, is that ringing a bell on the way to the church would ward away evil spirits. Ok….. And the other, is if an argument ensues between the couple, one should ring a bell to restore harmony and remind the couple of their promises to each other.   My mother gave us a sterling silver bell for our wedding and I love it. Thankfully, we’ve never used it!

john Weldon Dingle claddagh ring

John Weldon Jewelers, Dingle

Claddagh ring – Another I like because my husband got me one before we were engaged. Claddagh is an area in Galway where the rings are traditionally made. The ring is a symbol of love {see the heart?}, friendship {the two hands} and loyalty {the crown}.  A claddagh ring should always ge given to you and never bought for yourself. If you are in a relationship the ring pints in towards your heart and if you are single point the ring away from you.

Child of Prague – Without a doubt, the most popular tradition/superstition widely followed today, place a ‘Child of Prague’ statue outdoors under a hedge to ensure a fine day for the wedding. We should all get one and just leave it out all of the time!

There a loads of places online where you can find more Irish traditions and, if you are interested,  some quite strange superstitions but the ones above? I think are the nicest.

Happy St. Patrick’s day! Have a great time but please, drink responsibly.

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