Irish Wedding Traditions: Express Your Irish Side at One of Life's Most Precious Moments!

Irish wedding traditions are a wonderful blend of age-old Irish culture and customs, and a terrific opportunity to express your Irish side, wherever you are in the world!

We have witnessed many unique wedding experiences with an Irish theme - and they are an experience to be treasured.

Irish Wedding Traditions - Bride and Groom on the Beach.

Irish Wedding Traditions: The Proposal

The special nature of Irish wedding traditions starts with the proposal.

In some parts of the world you might hear a simple "Will you marry me?" or "Will you do me the honor of being my wife / husband?"

But in Ireland a traditional wedding proposal is just as likely to be something less direct, even a touch humorous. For example, "Would you like to hang your washing next to mine?"

Or for those of you who really like to shake things up, there's always the classic Irish proposal: "would you like to be buried with my people?"

That should work!

The Wedding Date

The superstitions that influence a wedding date in Ireland are similar to those of other cultures.

One superstition says the last day of the year is extra lucky to hold the wedding on, while Childermas Day is not.

The month of May has never been considered a lucky month for weddings, (although it is typically a beautiful time of year and many do choose this month.)

The Claddagh Ring

Irish Wedding Traditions - Claddagh Ring

A Claddagh ring has two hands with a crowned heart in them.

If you are not in a romantic relationship, the crown's tips should be worn towards the wrist; this means you can be approached.

However, if you happen to be engaged or married, these tips should be turned outwards.

So be careful putting on your Claddagh rings, people - especially the morning after a pub-crawl.

Better yet, just never take them off!

For more information on Claddagh wedding rings, check out our section on Irish wedding rings.

The Irish Wedding Gown

In years gone by, the typical wedding gown was blue, not white because blue was a symbol of purity dating back to ancient times.

Today it is very common to see blue trim on the dress, or a blue-trimmed garter.

We love the gowns that are adorned with Celtic symbolism like the one you see here.

For more ideas and examples, visit our section on Irish Wedding Gowns.

The Irish Bridal Bouquet

In the Irish wedding tradition, lavender symbolizes luck, devotion, loyalty and most of all love. Adding the lavender to the bouquet guarantees a long and happy union for the couple.

At least, that's the idea!

Another item you might consider adding to the bridal bouquet is a small horseshoe, or a replica of one made in porcelain or fabric.

In Irish themed weddings, a horseshoe is a sign of luck. ALWAYS carried upward so the luck won't 'run out.'

Now if you decide to carry a real horseshoe, be careful, especially when tossing the bouquet into the unmarried crowd.

The Irish Wedding Cake

Irish wedding cakes are traditionally fruitcakes.

If fruitcake is not your thing, it's perfectly ok to have different cakes on different layers.

Often the top layer is an Irish whiskey cake, and is saved for the christening of the couple's first born.

Click the link above for more information on Irish wedding cakes!

The Irish Wedding Reception

In the Irish wedding tradition, as in many cultures, the happy pair takes to the center of the floor, so the groom can show off his new bride (and his jiggy footwork) with their first dance as a fully-married couple.

The reception also includes blessings, toasts and wedding favors.

The first person to congratulate the bride should always be a man. This brings luck, while if it is a woman it is thought to be unlucky.

Departing an Irish Wedding

As you leave the ceremony, it is very important to look up, and sometimes, to duck down. Why?

Chances are, somebody will throw an old shoe over the bride's head for good luck. The amount of good luck is directly related to the aim of the thrower.

And ladies, if your new mother in law busts a piece of wedding cake over your head, be cool. According to Irish wedding tradition, this means the two of you will be friends for life. After you get the cake out of your hair!

For More Information

There is so much opportunity to express your Irish side with Irish wedding traditions!

For more ideas from Irish Expressions, choose another topic on this page, or click on our sections on Irish wedding songs, gifts, and vows.

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In the meantime, thank you so much for visiting!  We hope you will continue to explore Irish culture and customs with the growing community at Irish!



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