TRADITIONAL IRISH WEDDINGS
When I told my daughter about this Irish superstition, she changed her wedding date so that she'd be married in April!
What began as a search for Irish traditions and customs
that she could incorporate into her celebration ended up as an incredible
pile of notes that eventually took on a life
I am convinced that if couples make the effort, they
can have a totally Irish celebration from beginning to end - even to the
pre-wedding parties. There's one quaint custom where the groom was invited
to the bride's house right before the wedding and they cooked a goose in his
Here are some more:
* Bunratty Meade is a honey wine that's served at the Bunratty Castle medieval banquet. It's from a recipe based on the oldest drink in Ireland and if you've never tasted it, it's well worth trying. In the old days, it was consumed at weddings because it was thought that it promoted virility. (If a baby was born nine months after the wedding, it was attributed to the mead!) Couples also drank it from special goblets for a full month following the wedding, which is supposedly where we get the word honeymoon. This was to protect the couple from the fairies coming to spirit the bride away.
* Lucky horseshoe. Irish brides used to carry a real horseshoe for good luck. (Turned up so the luck won't run out). You can get porcelain horseshoes which most Irish brides carry these days, or one made of fabric which is worn on the wrist.
* Magic Hanky. This charming custom involves having the
bride carry a special hanky that with a few stitches can be turned into a
christening bonnet for the first baby. With a couple of snips it can be
turned back into a hanky that your child can carry on his/her wedding day.
* Irish Dancers. Consider hiring a group of Irish dancers to hand out your programs before the ceremony. Dressed in their full regalia, it would add a wonderful touch of of pageantry and color. They could also dance at the reception later. We did this at my daughter's reception and it was a major hit.
* Music. There's so much wonderful Irish music available, you'll have no problems in finding appropriate selections for both the ceremony and the reception. The difficulty will be in deciding which pieces to play!
* Readings: My daughter had the following Irish wedding vow on the front of her program:
By the power that Christ brought from heaven, mayst
thou love me.
On the back of the program, she had this old Irish
* The Irish Wedding Song. Very popular at contemporary
Irish weddings. We had two friends sing this at my daughter's reception
while the newlyweds cut the cake. (Afterwards I thought we should have had
the lyrics typed up and placed on the tables so that everyone could join
*Also, when a
couple is dancing, the bride can't take both feet off the floor because the
* A fine day meant good luck, especially if the sun shone on the bride. If you're a Roman Catholic, one way to make certain that it won't rain is to put a statue of the Infant of Prague outside the church before your ceremony.
* It was unlucky to marry on a Saturday.
* Those who married in harvest would spend all their lives gathering
* A man should always be the first to wish joy to the bride, never a woman.
*It was lucky to hear a cuckoo on the wedding morning,
or to see three magpies
* It was bad luck if a glass or cup were broken on the wedding day
*A bride and groom should never wash their hands in the same sink at the same time—it's courting disaster if they do
* It was said to be lucky if you married during a
'growing moon and a flowing tide'
* If the bride's mother-in-law breaks a piece of wedding cake on the bride's head as she enters the house after the ceremony, they will be friends for life.
Many other customs are interspersed throughout the
book, e.g. (from the reception section) the top tier of your wedding cake
should be an Irish whiskey cake which is saved for the christening of your
first baby. I've also heard of another custom which just came to my
attention and will be
And for all engaged couples and their families in the midst of pre-wedding chaos, I raise a parting glass: May all your joys be pure joy and all your pain champagne.