24 July 2017

prepare your memorable wedding

Know everything about Irish weddings traditions, customs and awe-inspiring

Can you believe that?

Fairies have always been an important part of Irish folklore. In ancient times it was believed that the fairies were attracted by beautiful things and wanted to keep them for themselves. This belief led to the various beliefs that were about the protection of a bride before the fairies. So it is that the bride should hold at least one foot on the floor, while she dances at the wedding, or the fairies could sense her away. Aw!

Each culture has a different set of traditions and customs when it comes to unite two lovers in holy marriage. While some believe to make a holy fire (as in Indian culture), others bump together (as seen in African cultures) to explain their union as a man and a woman. And Ireland is not far behind in this case. The country, which has a rich cultural heritage, follows a number of interesting customs and traditions when it comes to weddings. From the hand of fasting to throwing a shoe to the bride, an Irish wedding has it all. Here is a list of the few unusual old as well as modern Irish wedding traditions.

Traditions and customs

Wedding dress

In the Irish culture, blue color is believed to bring the bride good luck and prosperity on their wedding day. In front of white it was blue, which was regarded as a symbol of purity and virginity. Although it is nowadays not a necessity to wear a blue dress, the little blue is still contained in one of the wedding accessories.

Most of the grooms prefer to wear Celtic kilts which are plaid coats worn by the Irish during the Middle Ages. The groomsmen can or may not carry baits. However, vests and sashes can be made of tartan for the ceremonies. Below is a verse used by the brides to choose the color of their wedding dresses.

Getting married in white everything is right,
Marrying in blue lovers be true,
Marrying in pink spirits will sink,
Marrying in gray life far away,
Marrying in brown living out of town,
Married in green ashamed to see,
Marry in yellow is ashamed of your companion,
Marrying in black wished you were back,
Marry in red wish you were dead,
Marries in tan he will be a beloved man,
Marry in pearl, you will live in a vortex

Bride hairstyle

Braided hair has long been associated with feminine strength and happiness, the reason why most Irish brides wear their hair in braids on their wedding day, usually with a lace or ribbon woven through it.

hand brackets

In a traditional Irish wedding, the couple’s hands are clasped together with the help of a ribbon, cord, or rope. This is the desire to spend the rest of their lives together, meaning their attachment as a husband and wife. Looks like that is where binding the knot came, eh?

Magic handkerchief

In an Irish wedding the bride puts a handkerchief in her dress or bouquet. The handkerchief symbolizes fertility, and the bride usually carries her with her all day. The same handkerchief is used later as part of the christening dress or the hood, when the couple has a baby. It is further used at the wedding of the child, so the habit is continued.

The Claddagh rings

The Irish herring is called Claddagh Ring, named after a village in Ireland of the same name. This ring is unique and has a heart held by two hands. The heart on the ring symbolizes love, the crown above symbolizing the glory, while the two hands holding it represent faith. The ring is worn in various ways to symbolize different things.

When the ring is worn on the right hand, with the point of the heart facing the fingertip, it indicates that the woman is single.
When turned around so that the point faces the wrist, it indicates that the woman is in a relationship.
The ring indicates the procedure when worn on the left side with the crown inwards to the wrist.
Once the couple is married, it is turned around so that the crown points to the fingertips of the bride.
Both the bride and groom wear their wedding rings at the ring finger of their left hands.

It is also interesting that the wedding rings are routed around the assembly at the beginning of the wedding ceremony. Each guest holds the rings for a few seconds and says their silent prayer for the couple. The rings are therefore believed to be blessed with good luck and happiness for the couple.

music

In general, a harp player plays traditional Irish music before the wedding. When the couple leave after the ceremony, bagpipes are played. Popular melodies that are played during the wedding are highland fling and the stack of barley.

Dance

Cèilidh, a traditional Irish dance form is usually performed at the wedding, either by the guests or rented dancers. After the couple’s first dance, the bridegroom first dances with his mother-in-law and then his mother. On the other hand, the bride first dances with her father-in-law and then her father.

eat

A typical Irish wedding menu includes Irish soda bread, corned beef and cabbage, with lots of whiskey.

wedding cake

An Irish wedding cake is usually a fruit cake. It is made with honey and is then soaked in an Irish whiskey and further frosted with sweet glaze. The icing is usually done with a mandelaste.

flowers

Most Irish brides wear a wreath of wild flowers in their hair and wear a basket or bouquet of them. A few twigs of lavender are often contained, as a symbol of love and devotion.

The choice of the day

In ancient times, the day and the month, when the couple decided to marry was also decided on different promises. Some days and months were considered happy, while others were believed to bring the couple bad fortune. Here is a little verse about the best days to wed.

Monday for health,
Tuesday for wealth,
Wednesday the best day of all,
Thursday for losses,
Friday for crosses,
And Saturday no day.

The month of the wedding was chosen on the basis of the following verse:

Marry when the year is new, always loving, kind and true.
If February birds take care, you can wed, nor fear your fate.
If you are waving, when the wind of the winds blows, joy and grief, you will also know.
Marry in April if you can, joy for virgin and for man.
Marry in the month of May, you will surely struggle the day.
Marry, when June roses grow, over land and sea you will go.
Those who wed in July always have to work for their bread.
Those who wed in August are much to see.
Marry in September glow, your life will be rich and fine.
When in October you marry, love will come, but wealth lingers.
If you wed in dark November, only joy will come, remember.
When December rain falls quickly, marry and true love will last.

promise to marry

The Irish Vow of Unity is usually the one used at an Irish wedding. It goes as follows:
We swear by peace and love,
Heart to heart and hand in hand.
Mark, O Spirit, and hear us now,
Confirm this, our holy vow.

Throw the bouquet

This is a tradition with which we are familiar. Just like in the USA, the bride also in Ireland, throws the bouquet on a lot of women. And as we know who catches it, is the lucky one who is next married.

horseshoe

During the Celtic period a horseshoe was regarded as happy. It is for the same reason that the Irish brides usually wear a horseshoe in their bouquet or as a charm in their bracelet.

On the way to church

The bride and the groom often take different paths to the church, symbolic of their own life that comes together. It is also customary that the bride takes another way home, from the church after the ceremony, as a sign of her new life.

honking horn

In ancient times the wedding was characterized by the firing of rifles. Nowadays the same is done by honking horns.

Locking the church door

You might be surprised to see the church door locked at an Irish wedding. The tradition began when the Irish men got cold feet on their wedding day, and the guests began to lock the doors to make sure the groom passed the ceremony.

Gifts

In an Irish wedding, the traditional wedding gift is a bell. Chiming the bell is thought to keep evil spirits away. Some couples even ring the bell while they recite their vows. Other things that are gifted to an Irish couple include gifts with the Claddagh symbol, Celtic knots and shamrocks.

The honeymoon

The Irish translation for honeymoon is mi na meala, which literally means the month of honey. In ancient times, the new marriages spent a whole month a traditional honey mead named Bunratty Mead, who was believed to promote fertility. This was the concept of honeymoon. The honey stood for the Met, and the moon represented the full lunar month the couple spent in seclusion, in the first month of marriage.

superstitions

Whiskey is sprinkled on the floor of the reception to ward off all evil spirits.

In Irish culture, it is believed that you should pass a piece of wedding cake through the bride’s ring when you have not met your true love. If you put it under your pillow, you will dream of your true love this night.

Another tradition to ward off the evil spirits, the bells ring. In ancient times the guests were given small bells at the wedding to be chanted during the ceremony. Nowadays the bells are simply taken up by the brides as part of their ornaments. This is probably the origin of the ringing of church bells after a wedding ceremony.

It is believed that the horseshoe carrying the bride should always point upwards, or the happiness of the couple might be exposed.

It is a common belief that if the bride wears a green dress the night before her wedding, it will bring a lot of prosperity and abundance to the couple.

Rains on the wedding day are considered bad luck in Irish culture. Good weather is to bring the couple good luck. The Irish brides therefore often place a statue of the Little of Prague outside the church to ward off the rains.

To hear a cuckoo or to see a trio of magpies on the wedding day is considered to be happy.

The veil on the bride’s head is always placed by one of her happily married friends to lend something of the good faith and happiness of the happy couple.

When the young men take three mouthfuls of salt and oatmeal, it is believed at the beginning of the reception to ward off the evil.

Before going to church, the mother of the bride and the father of the bridegroom’s bride and bridegroom each give a shilling, which is later buried in the hearth of the couple’s bedroom. This is believed to bury the misfortune along with him.

It’s considered unhappy when you sing on your own wedding, but happy to throw a few coins into the crowd.

A common Irish holiday is that it should be only a man who is the first to kiss the bridal spurs. If the bride is greeted by some chance, by a woman first, it will bring bad luck to the couple.

The bride and groom should not wash their hands in the same sink. It is said to bring a lot of hardship in her married life.

An old shoe will be thrown to the bride after the wedding to throw so much happiness on her.

It is believed that when the mother-in-law of the bride breaks a piece of the wedding-stakes on the bride’s head while she enters the house of the bridegroom, the bride and bridegroom will always be friends.

The bride’s wedding rings are believed to bring her happiness every time she wears them.

So now we know that not only these different customs are interesting, they also have a special meaning that is attached to them. Having these wonderful traditions on your wedding day is a great way to honor your Irish heritage.

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