GUEST POST: Irish wedding traditions anyone can incorporate in their weddings | by Katie Jones

Traditional Irish weddings ideas for your own wedding.

When it comes to love and traditions, the whole world can learn a thing or two from the Irish! Joy, festivity, and loving laughter are some things that we all need more of! Irish wedding traditions have had meaningful fun associated with them since time immemorial. Many old traditions have slowly died out over the years, but are still be fascinating to follow. Go have a chat with someone old and Irish. You just might be surprised with the mysticism and lore in old Irish wedding traditions.

If you’ve got your own wedding coming up, there can be a few things you can incorporate from Irish weddings into your wedding ceremony. Katie from Orla James still recalls seeing her first Claddagh ring – it was love at first sight! There are many ways you can adapt old Irish wedding traditions and make them your own.

Hand fasting:

Hand fasting is an old Celtic tradition where the hands of the bride and groom are tied together. This symbolic tying up of hands is where the term ‘tie the knot’ has originated from. The hand fasting ceremony has the same symbolism that exchanging rings in modern times does. During the ceremony, the bond between wife and husband is signified by clasped hands that are tied together with cord, ribbon, or rope in bright colors (or the colors of the wedding theme). With this ceremony, the bride and groom agree to be tied to each other for the rest of their lives together. You could also incorporate a hand fasting ceremony in your wedding as you exchange your vows.

A Claddagh Ring:

Incorporate Irish wedding traditions into your very own wedding

Claddagh rings are probably the oldest known traditions of Irish weddings. The ring is usually given to girlfriends, fiancĂ©es, and wives as part of an old Irish tradition. Unmarried women are known to wear the ring on the right ring finger with the ring facing outwards, and once married, they shift it to the left and face it inwards to signify they are now ‘unavailable’. The Claddagh ring is known for the symbolism it has which makes it a popular choice amongst young couples. You could also think of using a Claddagh ring as an engagement ring to be worn with the traditional wedding ring on the left hand.

Wedding Bells:

Earlier, Irish people would gift sweet sounding bells to couples getting married. These bells are also meant to keep evil and malicious spirits away from the newlywed couple. You can ring a bell together during your wedding ceremony as an ode to this old Irish tradition and could continue by hanging a pair of wind chimes in your new house. You could also hand out bells to guests and ask them to ring the bells as you leave the church in order to bless your future with good fortune.

Irish traditional blessing:

In the Irish tradition, the father of the bride offers a traditional blessing to the newlywed couple. You could ask your father, elder brother or any elderly family member to read this traditional blessing during your reception ceremony.

"May your mornings bring joy and your evenings bring peace. May your troubles grow few as your blessings increase.

May the saddest day of your future be no worse than the happiest day of your past. May your hands be forever clasped in friendship and your hearts joined forever in love.

Your lives are very special; God has touched you in many ways. May His blessings rest upon you and fill all your coming days."

Honey wine:

Honey wine, an Irish wedding tradition that anyone can incorporate into their wedding.

Honey wine is traditionally served at Irish weddings and is passed on to the couple after their wedding to help in their marital bliss. The wine is said to boost virility and fertility. The newly wedded couple was forced to spend a month getting to know each other and drink honey wine. The term honeymoon is also derived as an adaptation of the honey drink that is carried and drunk by the couple together on their wedding holiday. You could also include Honey wine in your wedding reception with small cards that explain the symbolism behind it.

Twist these traditions to make them your own. If you’re not too fond of honey wine, you could include a variation in the drink as the Irish blessing is delivered. You could also adapt the Claddagh wedding ring in the metal of your choice and add your favorite stone to make it unique. The best way would be to celebrate your honeymoon in Ireland!

A busy woman's guide to everything wedding and beyond

About Katie Jones: Guest post by Katie Jones, writer at Orla James.

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