Modern Irish Wedding

It’s St. Patrick’s Day and I hope you’re wearing green!  In honor of the day, I want to talk about Irish weddings.  Every culture has their own wedding traditions, but when it comes to the Irish, they are quite superstitious.  I can’t blame them, though, everyone wants good luck, right?

Now whether you are Irish or you’re getting married in Ireland (destination wedding anyone?), traditionally St. Patrick’s Day is considered the luckiest day of the year to be married.  And if one were lucky enough to have their wedding on St. Patrick’s Day, incorporating Irish traditions is a must.  But how do you make old traditions modern?  Today, I’ve got 7 ways you can have a modern Irish wedding.

7 Ways To Have A Modern Irish Wedding

1.  Have a Natural Wedding.  Many traditional Irish weddings would be considered eco-conscious these days.  Most were held outdoors in a natural setting and many Irish brides wore a wreath of local and sustainable wildflowers in their hair and carried a wildflower bouquet.  Very boho.  To make it modern, keep the venue outdoors, but bring in some of your favorite flowers instead.  You can keep the boho vibe or bring in some other influences that suit your style.

Wedding hairpiece for a modern Irish wedding

2.  Go Beyond Green.  While green is always associated with Ireland, it used to be considered unlucky for a wedding as it might entice malicious fairies.  Blue is actually considered to be a very important color as it symbolized purity in ancient times.  To modernize it, consider having a bit of both colors.  Include the blue and bring in some green to keep it natural and then accent it with some metallics or your favorite colors.  Or take it one step further with a blue wedding dress which is ironically what Irish brides traditionally wore, but would be considered untraditional now.

3.  An Irish Feast.  Take traditional Irish foods like Irish stew, potatoes, soda bread, corned beef and cabbage and modernize them. Work with the catering team to include some of the traditional ingredients, but to your tastes.  Pick drinks you like, but consider including Irish favorites like whiskey, mead, Guinness and Irish coffee.  Traditionally, the wedding cake is a whiskey cake or spiked fruitcake.  Modernize it by picking a cake you like instead and consider adding some alcohol to the top tier and saving it for a later celebration.

4.  Ceremony Customs.  The ceremony is a great time to include ancient Celtic traditions like handfasting (“tying the knot”) and exchanging Claddagh rings.  With handfasting, partners hold hands with their wrists crossed and a ribbon is wound around the top of one wrist and under and around the other wrist, creating the infinity symbol.  Personalize the ritual by choosing a ribbon or piece of fabric that has special meaning to you.  Exchanging Claddagh rings is a sign of commitment and love and shows that your heart has been taken.  To modernize the custom, use normal rings but inscribe them with a heart so that it still faces towards the wearer, but isn’t shown on the outside.

Handfasting for a modern Irish wedding

5.  Ring the Bell.  Traditionally, bells were thought to ward off evil spirits and were also used to end an argument and make a truce, reminding you of your wedding vows.  To modernize it, give your wedding guests bells to ring at the end of the ceremony instead of throwing petals.  The bells can also be used instead of clinking glasses during the reception to get you to kiss.

6.  Have a Party.  For the reception, consider incorporating a traditional Irish wedding toast, Irish music like bagpipes or a Celtic harp or even Irish dancers in a modern way.  Keep it fun and tweak the wording of the toast so that it fits well with who you two are.  A harp could be played at the ceremony, bagpipes could be played to introduce you and then have more modern music played by an Irish band.

7.  Lucky Charms.  The Irish are superstitious, so incorporate some good luck charms to bring the wedding day and marriage good fortune.  The bride can carry a mini horseshoe in her bouquet or sew one into her dress.  Pick a date in a warm, sunny month so that the chances of the sun shining are high.  Incorporate the use of a lace handkerchief (a symbol of fertility) into the wedding either held by the bride (in her bouquet or dress) or as a part of the table decor.

Wedding bouquet with a lucky horseshoe for a modern Irish wedding

(Photo credit for all photos: Aspect Photography)

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