Getting married and starting a family involves weaving together two families’ traditions and cultures (as well as inventing some new ones). If you want to involve Irish culture and heritage in your married life right from the start, you have three great opportunities to do so with your wedding: before, during and after. You can start adding Irish touches to your wedding from the moment to you send an invitation right through the ceremony and into the reception.
Irish Wedding Planning: Set the mood right away with wedding invitations that feature an Irish design. A Claddagh symbol is perfect because the hands represent friendship, the heart love and the crown loyalty. You can also choose a Claddagh engagement ring. If you are using a gift registry, you can obviously include Irish gifts such as Belleek and Galway crystal. Before the white wedding gown became so popular when women wore one of the their best dresses to get married, Irish brides often chose blue, so if the bride doesn’t fancy white she has another choice that is still traditional.
Irish Wedding Ceremony: Some couples want to have a uilleann piper herald their arrival for the ceremony, not everyone is a fan of the pipes. A harp is a quieter and equally Irish touch, and the soft strains of the harp can make the bride’s entrance truly magical. Putting a coin in the bride’s shoe is another Irish wedding tradition; it is said to bring a wealth of joy and security to the couple. A lace handkerchief does more than look nice on the wedding day – many stores selling Irish gifts offer a special hanky that can easily be converted to a baby’s christening bonnet and back again for when the baby grows up and marries. In Ireland, passersby always know when a wedding has ended, especially in small towns, because the drivers in the procession driving from the church to the reception are all honking their horns wildly as they drive along.
Irish Wedding Reception: Whether your taste runs to The Chieftains, The Pogues or The Cranberries, you can celebrate with Irish music at the reception, but that is only the start. It isn’t realistic to get Irish crystal for a hundred or so guests, but certainly the couple can use a pair of Irish crystal champagne flutes for the toasts. If you’re planning a wedding, you probably already know you can get an Irish cake topper, but did you know that the traditional Irish wedding cake is a dark fruit cake, not a light, fluffy white cake? You don’t have to choose, however, you can get a layer of each. If you have purchased a heraldic plaque with both family surnames, or better still received one as a gift, you can display it at the reception.
Of course, if you want to go beyond Irish wedding traditions and Irish gifts, you can always include a honeymoon to Ireland!