Irish weddings have their own set of traditions and rituals and a lot of them are dedicated to promoting good luck. The term “luck of the Irish” isn’t entirely based around leprechauns and the pot of gold!
These are just a few examples of Irish wedding traditions and customs:
1. The Lucky Horseshoe
The horseshoe has been used to represent good luck and traditionally Irish brides would carry a horseshoe with them on their wedding day. The horseshoe was always worn facing upwards to ensure that the luck would never run out. These days many brides opt for a small porcelain horseshoe hidden within the bouquet or on a silver necklace.
Mead is an Anglo-Saxon drink and became associated with Irish weddings as it was believed that it possessed powers of fertility and was therefore customary for both bride and groom to drink the ale for a month after their marriage. This was the beginning of the word “honeymoon” as the Mead had a very sweet honey like taste and was consumed until the next full moon after the wedding.
3. Tying the Knot
This ancient Celtic tradition involves tying the wrists of the bride and groom together with a piece of rope, twine or cord to represent their everlasting union and how they will remain at each other’s sides for the rest of their lives. This tradition is also very popular in Scottish culture and played a part in the royal wedding in 2011.
4. Blue Wedding Dress
Before white became the most popular choice for wedding dresses, blue was the most customary and traditional color to wear in Ireland. The color blue was the symbol of purity similar to how white is the representative for virginity. In recent years it is very rare to see any bride in the color blue.
5. The Irish Hanky
The Irish hanky was used by the bride on the day of the wedding and was also used as a symbol for good luck. This hanky was then turned in to a bonnet for the first born child to wear on the day of their christening and eventually used again as a hanky at their own wedding.
6. Marrying in May
As the poem states “marry in May and rue the day”. The Irish were traditionally very superstitious and as you can see from the above points they were strong believers of good luck object. They believed that getting married in May was a form of bad luck and it was therefore avoided.
“Marry in the month of May; you will surely rue the day.
Marry when June roses blow, over land and sea you’ll go”
7. Claddagh Ring
The Claddagh ring is very well known around the world and is uniquely Irish. The ring has three main features including a heart, crown and two hands. It is said that the heart embodies love, the hands depict friendship and the crown represents loyalty. The Claddagh ring can be worn numerous ways to display different levels of the relationship, however, as a wedding ring it is traditionally worn on the left hand with the heart facing inwards. Although Claddagh may be the most famous, wedding rings with Celtic designs were also incredibly popular and suit both men and women and date back even further than Claddagh.
These traditions and rituals make Irish weddings stand out from the rest and help to give them a strong sense of identity and culture. If you know anyone with any Irish roots or heritage that is getting married make sure to inform them of all the little Irish quirks they can include to make it uniquely Irish. Theirishstore.com has a huge selection of beautiful Claddagh and wedding rings at excellent prices along with some authentically Irish clothing for men, women and children. Take a look and you may find something perfect for you or someone you care about!