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
The activity of celebrating the wedding cake has been an important part of the wedding reception since the days of Ancient Rome. During that time period, things were a little different. There was no stacking and there was no crazy decorating. There was, however, a simple wheat cake crumbled over the bride’s head and into her hair. Sound odd? There was a reason. Wheat at this time to this culture was a symbol that represented bounty, so this messy tradition was carried out to ensure her fertility.
Today, many things have changed at the wedding reception. While we may seem more civilized to pour crumbs over the head of the new bride, we do carry on a twist to the old cake tradition. Instead, now the bride and groom hold a knife together and cut the cake together. In some cases, the groom lovingly smashes the cake in the glowing bride’s face; Not a far cry from the old tradition after all. This new tradition continues with the top of the layered cake is now saved for the bride and groom to eat, one year later on their first anniversary.
The first wedding I ever DJ’ed at where there was no cake cutting happened last week. Do you have to cut the cake? Technically no. However, cutting the cake gives your guests and your photographer a great photo opportunity and lets them all celebrate your marriage with you, and your creativity of cake choice.
I have heard that there seems to be a constant battle, of late, between the DJ and/or wedding planners and the wedding hall/ caterers on when the best time it is to cut the cake at your wedding reception. Well, what is the answer?
Traditionally, the cake should be cut towards the end of the evening. Think about it. After eating a big meal, dessert isn’t always right on the guests’ minds, but could be after an hour or two of dancing. Some also choose to do the cutting right after the dinner so that everyone can dance the night away without any interruptions, but again, the cake often isn’t eaten then, if at all, until later.
One thing to keep in mind… If you do notice that during your reception, the hall is seeming to nag you for the cake to be cut and eaten right away, they probably have a hidden agenda. Sometimes they truly just want to get it out of the way. Other times, however, having the cake cutting activity done early is often a cost-cutting factor for the hall; the hall can send home their extra staff when the serving is done and then save extra money on payroll!
Whatever you chose to do, do what feels right for you! Here are some song ideas to play while the cake is being cut:
Destiny – Jim Brickman
Can You Feel The Love Tonight? – Elton John
Recipe For Making Love – Harry Connick, Jr.
I Got You Babe – Sonny and Cher
This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) – Natalie Cole
Thank You – Led Zeppelin
The Sweetest Thing – U2
Sugar, Sugar – The Archies
Wedding Song – Bob Dylan
Unbroken – Tim McGraw
How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) – James Taylor
It’s Your Love – Tim McGraw & Faith Hill
Ain’t That A Kick In The Head – Dean Martin
Chapel Of Love – Dixie Cups
Love You Madly – Cake
Because You Loved Me – Celine Dion
When I’m Sixty-Four – The Beatles
Love And Marriage – Frank Sinatra
That’s Amore – Dean Martin
Grow Old With You – Adam Sandler
Eat it – Weird Al Yankovic
After All Is Said And Done – Beyoncé Knowles & Marc Nelson
1, 2, 3, 4 – Plain White T’s
‘Cause I love You – Lenny Williams
Whatever It is – Zac Brown Band
One Love – Bob Marley
Here and Now – Luther Vandross
I Do (Cherish You) – 98 Degrees
Cut The Cake – Average White Band
All My Life – K-Ci & JoJo
Yummy Yummy Yummy – Ohio Express
Sweet Emotion – Aerosmith
Pour Some Sugar On Me – Def Leppard
I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) – Four Tops
True story… Last weekend, I had three weddings; a Mexican Salsa Reception in Saratoga at Tiznow, a Pakistani Wedding at Best Western in Albany, and a Six Flags Lodge Reception in Lake George, NY. There is a first time for everything.
First off, my first time experience was doing a DJ gig at The Six Flags Great Escape Lodge. It is a really nice place and good people. At the Six Flags wedding reception, the guests settled into their seats for dinner right after the cocktail hour and the intro. They were just about to enjoy their salads, when all of the sudden a loud siren sounded with a blinking white strobe light from wall.
Whhhhoooop! Whhhhoooop! Whhhhoooop! A recorded voice followed the shrill alarm. “The fire alarm device has been activated. All guests, please evacuate the building.”
At this point, the hotel wedding coordinator ran up to me to inform me that all was okay. “A 5-year-old boy pulled an alarm,” he said shouting over the siren. “False alarm. However, the alarm is going to have to run its course.”
“Ugh,” I replied. “How long is that going to take?”
“I am not sure,” he replied. “Maybe fifteen minutes? Can you make an announcement and ask the guests to stay seated?”
“Okay. I will try.” I said. For one, one of the piercing alarms was right behind me over my head, and for two, there were others around the room annoying the attendees.
I grabbed the mic and people who were gathering objects looked over at me. “Ladies and gentlemen, do not worry it is a false alarm,” I said. “The cake is not going to melt and my equipment is not going to burn, so let’s try and make the most of it.”
I quickly browsed through my computer and found “Burning Down The House” by The Talking Heads and pulled it up. A few faces started to laugh.
Now, mind you, you usually do not want to play loud dance music while people are eating, but I needed a way to entertain and cover up the annoying backdrop and the salads weren’t cutting it. The talking heads was a good start. The next step was to get the people on the dance floor to make them forget that a peaceful first course probably wasn’t going to happen for the moment.
Shift gears to a hot set… “Disco Inferno” by The Tramps, “Great Balls of Fire” by Jerry Lee Lewis, “Burning Love” from Elvis, and Buster Poindexter’s “Hot, Hot, Hot.”
The guests had a blast. Somewhere in the middle of the last song, the alarm ended and everyone went back to their meals.
Later on, the manager said, “Kenny Casanova saves the day!”
Also, the Lodge was really cool about everything. They gave the guests a free hour of open bar, that they wouldn’t have had otherwise, as well as an extra half hour of hall time at the end of the night.
In my opinion, it made the night better and a fun memory.
It is now that magical moment for you, the bride in white. The glowing spotlight is shinning softly on you and all eyes casted your way. Your hands hold a modest, yet gorgeous bundle of flowers and you are about to throw it all away, and move on to the next wonderful chapter in your book.
Your dress is perfect. Your hair is lovely. Everything is just how you imagined it would be, but the silly DJ cracks a stupid joke to match his song choice and plays something ridiculous and seemingly unrelated, because you didn’t specify and left it up to him.
You bite your lip. “I knew shoulda told him what to play!”
Don’t worry! You are not there yet. So what can you actually pick for a song? There are countless songs out there, and it is overwhelming, but you do not half to reinvent the wheel.
Here is a popular listing of Top Bouquet Tossing Songs where you cannot go wrong!
• Single Ladies – Beyonce
• Just Wanna Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper
• I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor
• Another One Bites The Dust – Queen
• Dancing Queen – Abba Girls
• Ladies Night – Kool & The Gang
• Man! I Feel Like A Woman – Shania Twain
• Respect – Aretha Franklin
• All I Wanna Do – Cheryl Crow
• Chapel of Love – Dixie Cups
• Hot Stuff – Donna Summer
• Pretty Woman – Roy Orbison
• So Many Men, So Little Time – Miquel Brown
•This one is for the girls – Martina McBride
•Wishin’ and Hopin’ Ani Difranco (My Best Friends Wedding Soundtrack)
•”Sex in the City” theme song
• American Woman – The Guess Who
•Bootylicious – Destiny’s Child
• Diamonds are a girls best friend – Marilyn Monroe
• Dirty – Christina aguilera
• Don’t want no Scrub – TLC
• Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic – The Police
• Express Yourself – Madonna
• Funky Town – Lipps Inc.
• Girls, Girls, Girls – Motley Cruew
• Hey Ladies – The Beastie Boys
• Hit Me With Your Best Shot – Pat Benatar
• Its Getting Hot in Herre – Nelly
• Its Raining Men – The Weather Girls
• Just a girl – No Doubt
• Ladies Night – Kool & The Gang
• Lady Marmalade – Pink, Mia, Lil’ Kim, Christina Aguilera
• Let’s Get Loud – Jenifer Lopez
• Like a Virgin – Madonna
• Milkshake – Kelis
• Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman – Britney Spears
• Oh Its so Quiet, Shhh (Zing-Boom) Bjork
• One way or another blondie
• Our Day Will Come – Ruby and the Romantics
• Perfect Day Hoku – Legally Blonde Soundtrack
• Red Neck Woman – Gretchen Wilson
• Shoop Shoop Song – Cher
• Single White Female – Chely Wright
• This one’s for the Girls – Martina Mc Bride
• Touch Me, Tease Me Case – Foxy Brown
• What a Girl Wants – Christina Aguillera