If you would like to honor your Irish heritage by means of wedding traditions, Claddagh rings, Irish lace, mead, pipers, traditional foods, clothing and toasts may all be incorporated into your celebrations. We could all make good use of the luck of the Irish on our wedding days!
Celebrating your marriage with blessings and luck can be done by incorporating Irish wedding traditions into your marriage ceremonies. St. Patrick’s Day on the 17th March is considered to be the luckiest day to get married on, but it is not always possible to get married on the luckiest day of the year. However other traditions may be used to ensure your marriage receives the best of Irish luck.
Let’s start with the Claddagh ring, this ring is traditionally passed down the generations from mother to daughter, and should only be given as a gift. It is not the kind of ring that anyone should purchase for themselves. The Claddagh ring has its traditions in the small fishing village of the same name in Galway County. When a betrothal takes place the ring is worn in the right ring finger with the heart turned inward. After the marriage takes place it is worn on the left hand ring finger with the heart turned out.
While some traditions dictate that it is lucky to have rain on your wedding day, the Irish do not. They believe for the couple to be lucky, the sun must at least shine on the bride, I think I agree with this. Superstitious such as throwing a shoe over the head of the bride, carrying a horseshoe and “Marry in May Rue the Day”, all still matter to Irish traditionalists. Bells are believed to keep away evil spirits and if the mother-in-law breaks wedding cake over the brides head, they are said to be friends for life.
In terms of the Irish toast, it is not tradition for the Best Man to do this alone, the whole wedding party participates, and there is a traditional recitation which the newlyweds say, after which the guests respond. This recitation is simple to find online and it starts “Friends and relatives, so fond and dear..” mead is the drink of choice when this recital takes place.
As far as Irish wedding dresses go, they follow the fashion, but one thing would be missing if the Irish lace was left out of the ceremony. It is quite expensive so a small piece can be used to decorate the garter, it incorporated into the veil or used on the traditional handkerchief a bride carries which can be made into a bonnet for a baby.
A piper, dressed in his Celtic kilts is a must to add ambiance to the wedding celebrations. He should be able to play reels, jigs, hornpipes and the Irish Wedding song on his Uillean pipes.
As far as food goes, corned beef, cabbage and soda bread may not impress, but if they are well prepared these dishes can still taste delicious. Once your guests have toasted in mead and Irish whiskey, they will be grateful for any food which may be served. The cake is very luxurious and is a rich fruit cake filled with nuts (almonds) cherries, spices, raisins and candied peel.
The honeymoon or in Celtic Mi na Meala basically means the month of honey. The theory is that the newly wedded couple is given two goblets and enough mead to see them through to the next moon. It promotes virility and fertility and because it is a sweet strong drink ensures a good start for the marriage.
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