Honor your Emerald Isle heritage with traditions that are romantic, clever, and a couple that are downright strange. Discover how to fill your Celtic wedding with all things Irish save the Blarney Stone. The traditionally superstitious Irish believed that the last day of the year is an especially lucky one. Plan your wedding for December 31, the luckiest of Celtic days and wake up on the first day of your new life on the first day of the new year.
According to Celtic history, Irish men declared their intentions of marriage by giving their fiancee harvest knots of straw decorated with flowers or bells to wear in their hair or around their neck. Todays Celtic bride create their own harvest knot to wear, or place in the bridal bouquet to symbolize their Irish heritage.
Known for its intricate patterns and outstanding quality, a veil or a handkerchief made of delicate Irish lace adds a touch of tradition to your Celtic wedding dress.
The steps of Irish folkdances are called ceilidh. Treat your attendants to an Irish dancing lesson, and then "perform" a jig to traditional Irish music at the reception. Perfect as the bride and grooms first dance together.
Playing the Bag Pipes
Although bagpipes have Celtic roots, they are traditionally Scottish. For a truly Emerald Isle affair, locate an Irish uillean piper to pipe in the wedding processional.
Irish Wedding Feast
The customary wedding feast in Ireland was a potluck hosted at the bride's family's home. Each guest brought traditional Irish dishes such as soda bread, coddle, and stew. If you're having a more formal reception, you can still celebrate this Irish tradition by having a "feast" for your bridal shower or rehearsal dinner.
Old custom dictates that the Irish wedding cake (usually a dense fruit cake with white icing) was cut by one of the bride's sisters or bridesmaids over the brides head. The bride remained seated while the groomsmen held the cake over her head while her sister or best friend did the honors.
A noisy way to ring in your nuptials with the luck o' the Irish is to have a recessional like those in Celtic history: instead of throwing rice upon exiting the church, pass around small drums, horns and anything else that makes a noise. All though not really as authentic as shooting of guns as the newly weds leave the church - but a similar effect.
The Irish symbol for "Let Love and Friendship Reign", two hands holding a heart underneath a crown, the claddagh can be emblazed on everything from the wedding invitations to the decorations, even the bridal party gifts.
Tokens of Hair
A more unusual Irish tradition is for the man to give the woman he loves a bracelet woven of human hair. Symbolic of acceptance, when the woman wears the circle of hair, she is linking herself to him for life.