Irish Weddings

Irish Weddings

Ah, the beauty of Ireland.  Movies have been made of it, songs written about it, but those who've been to the Emerald Isle say nothing can prepare you for its spectacular beauty. Rolling hills of lush green, ancient fairytale castles, and villages that seemed to have missed the passage of time. Add the friendly, relaxed nature of the people, and you have an idyllic place for a wedding where you can lace ancient beliefs with joyful merriment in a way that makes your wedding day one you will never forget. If you can't quite make it to the Emerald Isle for your nuptials, there are still plenty of ways which you can incorporate your Irish roots into your wedding celebrations.  Here are just some of the many wedding traditions from Ireland that may give you The Luck of the Irish on your special day:
  • April is a good choice ("Marry in April if you can, joy for maiden and for man") but May is best avoided ("Marry in May and rue the day.") Saturdays also are considered a rather unlucky choice to tie the knot. The luckiest anniversary date for the Irish is St. Patrick's Day, which always comes in March.
  • The wedding couple traditionally walks to the church together for the ceremony. Be prepared to duck, though - besides rice, townspeople may throw pots and pans to show their enthusiastic support of the marriage.
  • Irish brides carry a horseshoe for good luck, turned up so the luck won't run out. Instead of clunky iron horseshoe, today there are many ornamental porcelain or fabric wedding horseshoes available.
  • A special handkerchief carried by the bride is a quaint custom, meant to be tucked away and turned into a Christening bonnet for the first baby.
  • Blue is an ancient symbol of purity, while green is considered unlucky.
  • The violet blooms of English lavender are mixed with the bridal bouquet, another old tradition to ensure a long and happy union.
  • Brides may choose to braid their hair, which is an ancient symbol of power and luck.
  • Small bells can be given to guests to ring as you approach the wedding site, a way to ward off evil spirits and forever create harmony if a couple is at odds. These miniature wedding bells can also be tinkled at the reception, replacing the custom of clinking glasses when toasts are offered.
  • When a couple is dancing at the reception - no doubt to traditional Irish music - the bride should take care not to take both feet off the floor at the same time. That's because fairies love brides, and you don't want to make it easier for the little people to whisk you away.
  • It's considered bad luck for the bride or the groom to sing at their own wedding, so leave karaoke until another day.
  • The highest tier of your wedding cake should be laced with Irish whiskey.
  • Here's another time to duck: As you leave the church, someone is supposed to throw an old shoe over the bride's head so she will always have good luck. You might want to choose someone who has a good aim!
It is said you're either born Irish, or wish you were. Either way, having an Irish wedding can be a magical start to a wonderful life together.