An Irish theme wedding is a perfect way to make your wedding stick out and be memorable to all the guests attending. It additionally celebrates your heritage and Irish culture, and is a great way to start your marriage.
There are many things you can incorporate into your special day. Irish traditions can be fused into your decor, ceremony, clothing, food and also reception activities.
First off, the look of the reception hall is everything. When you purchase decorations, it s easy to go with anything Saint Patrick’s day, but I would stay away from the over-the-top cartoony stuff. You can get away with some of it, perhaps at the reception, if you absolutely want to go with leprechans and pots of gold, but you really shouldn’t have them at the ceremony. Those type of decorations can make your wedding look cheap.
CELTIC WEDDING TRADITIONS
The traditional Irish Wedding Bell – A hand held “Irish Wedding bell” is sounded by the new husband immediately after the ceremony. Decoration-wise for a modern Irish wedding, small bells can be distributed as favors to your guests. These are nice keepsakes, as they replicate the symbolic Irish Wedding Bell rung at the couple’s ceremony. Guests are encouraged to ring them upon departure from the church after the ceremony, much we throw rice here in the states, or blow bubbles.
The ceremony bell is not forgotten and left behind at the ceremony as a decoration, however, with the flowers. It accompanies the new couple to their home as a momento of their vows. In fact, whenever there is an argument, it is supposed to be rung to remind the couple of their wedding vows. (ONE DOWNFALL – Everyone knows when Mr. & Mrs. O’Reilly are arguing. They sounds like the Salvation Army by Walmart at Christmas time.)
Irish Shotgun Wedding /Add Gun Fire! – If you really want to start your married life out wth a bang, another Celtic tradition is for rifles to be fired to announce that the couple have been declared now, “man and wife.”
A Horseshoe Bouquet- The bride’s bundle of flowers can hold a horseshoe inside it, to bring the couple good luck as tradition. (Just make sure to remove it before the flower toss, as getting hit with one brings bad luck and a hefty hospital bill.) A twist on this tradition is that some women also sew a tiny cute horseshoe into the hem of their wedding dress in Irish weddings.
CLOTHING OPTIONS FOR AN IRISH THEME WEDDING
The Harvest Knot – Many years ago, the men of Ireland gave their brides-to-be an accessory called harvest knots which were weavings of straw. Usually, a Harvest Knot is trimmed with flowers and worn in their hair or around your neck. You can put a harvest knot also in the flower bouquet along with the lucky horseshoe to symbolize Irish pride.
Add Irish Flare – Okay. Okay. I know this sounds cheesy, but as a twist on the Horseshoe Bridal Bouquet above, some women also sew a tiny cute horseshoe onto the hem of their wedding dress for Irish weddings. Try it! It is like bedazzling for your future good fortune!
Adding Irish Lace – A great way add Irish to your wedding attire is to mix in some Irish lace. Authentic Irish Lace is always loaded with intricate patterns and great quality. You can add lace to the veil to really bring the Irish out.IRISH FOOD OPTIONS
The Dinner – The way that the wedding guests would feast in celebration, back in old Ireland was to have a potluck meal hosted at the bride’s family’s house. Traditional Irish dishes include coddle, stew soda, Irish bread, and of course everyone loves cornbeef and cabbage.
The Wedding Cake – The Irish wedding cake is typically a heavy fruit cake with white icing. Tradition says that one of the bride’s sisters or bridesmaids is actually the one to cut and serve it. But they location of the actual cut is the strangest part of this cake cutting custom. Tradition actually has the bride seated while the groomsmen held the cake over her head while her sister or best friend cut it.
MUSIC OPTIONS WITH CELTIC APPEAL & THE MUST-HAVE IRISH PLAYLIST
Irish Bag Pipes – Rock out at your ceremony or for your introduction into the reception hall with the belting melody of the Irish pipes. Although bagpipes have Celtic roots, they are often today played by the Scottish. However, with a little research, you can find a real Irish uillean piper play at your wedding.
Celtic music can be played wherever appropriate during the ceremony and reception, as there are many varieties. I particularly recommend Celtic harp music for the ceremony for the atmosphere it sets. There are many CDs on Amazon, if you are not having a live band or musician.
Reception Dancing – Learn and perform a real Irish jig to traditional Irish music at the reception. The actual steps of Irish folkdances are called ceilidh.
Here is a good playlist of must hear Irish songs for your wedding reception:
Andres Segovia – Henry Purcell
A 12 Year Old Irish Girl In All Of Us – Flogging Molly
A Walk in Irish Rain – Irish Descendants
Ave Maria (Schubert) – The Irish Tenors
Barrett’s Privateers – Irish Descendants
Black Velvet Band – Irish Rovers
Catch The Wind (Folk) – Irish Descendants
Come on Eileen Dexie’s – Midnight Runners
Danny Boy – The Irish Tenors
Dublin in the Rare Old Times – Three Irish Tenors Farewell To Nova Scotia – Irish Rovers
Give Ireland Back To The Irish – Paul McCartney
Haste to The Wedding (Celtic) – The Corrs
I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen – Three Irish Tenors
Irish Heartbeat – Van Morrison & The Chieftans
Irish Jig – Various Artists
Irish Medley – Dixie Chicks
Jump Around – House of Pain
Mother Machree – John Gary
Old Irish Blessing – Sprague Choir
Peg O My Heart – Jerry Vale
Riverdance Soundtrack – Irish Diddy
Shipping Off To Boston – Dropkick Murphies
The Biplane Evermore – Irish Rovers
The Irish Washerwoman – Celtic Bagpipes
Tim Finnegan’s Wake – Celtic Connection
Toora-Loora-Looral Three – Irish Tenors
Traditional Irish Folk Song – Dennis Leary
Unicorn – Irish Rovers
Waltzing Matilda – The Irish Rovers
Wasn’t that a party – Irish Rovers
When Irish Eyes Are Smiling – Bing Crosby
Wild Irish Rose – Country George Jones