It was the luck of the Irish the day you found each other, and you want to celebrate your Irish heritage, or your fondness for St. Patrick’s Day, with an Irish theme wedding. You can bring a bit of the auld sod to your special event with some careful planning and a cautious eye for those mischievous leprechauns!
One of the true symbols of love from Ireland is the Claddagh. The story says
that a man left his home in Galway to set sail to the West Indies for work. He
promised his love he would return to marry her. His ship was captured and he was
forced into slavery. When King William III demanded the release of all British
slaves, the master of this particular man offered him his daughter and half of
his fortune if he would stay and continue his work as a goldsmith because his
work was so brilliant. The man declined, and returned to his love as he
promised. Upon his return, he presented her with a ring of his own design – the
Claddagh. The ring features a heart, held by two hands, topped with a crown, and
is supposed to symbolize love, loyalty and friendship. This is the perfect
romantic centerpiece to any Irish wedding, and you will find the Claddagh in
many aspects of wedding accessories. There are Claddagh wedding invitations,
which feature the symbol in gold, silver, or green; and most places that carry
the invitations will also be able to deliver various other reception goods with
the symbol on them. Cake toppers are also available in metal, crystal, and
plastic Claddagh symbols, and you will find champagne glasses that have it
etched into them or have a pewter Claddagh affixed to the side.
Irish Wedding Customs
Wedding and Marriage
The sacrament of matrimony is a solemn observance in the Christian Church. It is an outward sign that faithful worshipers are receiving the grace of God in their lives together.
Historic Wedding Events:
Jesus preformed his first miracle at the wedding feast of Cana.
Many wedding customs have been popular since ancient times:
The Bridal Veil.
Bridal veils became popular in Great Britain and America during the late 18th century. In Rome, brides probably wore veils over 2,000 years ago.
The Wedding Ring.
The custom of giving a wedding ring may also date back to the ancient Romans. The presentation of wedding rings symbolizes that the man and woman are united forever. The shape of the ring probably represents eternity. The wearing of the ring on the ring finger of the left hand is another old custom. This originated because people once thought that a vein or nerve ran directly from the finger to the heart.
The Throwing Of Rice.
After many weddings, the guests throw rice at the bride and groom as a wish for children and good fortune. Rice was once the symbol of fertility, happiness and long life.
Tossing the Bouquet.
The custom of the bride tossing the bouquet to the unmarried guests dates from the 14th century and probably originated in France. The woman who catches the flowers is supposedly the next to marry. The same is supposedly true when the bride tosses the garter to the unmarried men.
An old superstition says that a bride can ensure good luck by wearing 'something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue'. Another old superstition says that it is bad luck for the bride and groom to see each other before the ceremony on their wedding day.
The Claddagh Ring
This ring belongs to as broad group of finger rings, called 'Faith Rings' or Fede. It is a particularly distinctive ring in Ireland, with two hands clasping a heart, surmounted by a crown. The origin of Faith Rings could date from Roman times. The motif of the Claddagh ring has been explained in the phrase or posy:
'Let love and friendship reign'. The hand signifies faith, the heart signifies love and the crown signifies honor, loyalty. Although it was worn as a wedding ring, it was also worn as a symbol of friendship. The limits defined over which the ring was worn was roughly from the Aran Islands and throughout all of Connemara, eastward and southward for about twelve mile. It probably became known as the Claddagh ring because the people of this area used this ring alone. When the Claddagh ring is worn on the right hand with the heart nearest the finger nail, it indicates that the wearer in single and unattached. When worn the same way on the left hand, indicates that although the person is still single their heart belongs to another. When the ring was worn with the crown nearest the finger nail on the left hand, the wearer was married.
Tradition tells us that the Claddagh ring was passed from mother to first daughter. For some of the Claddagh fisher folk the purchase of this ring was often the largest investment they would make. (Claddagh Ring Story. Joyce, C. 1990, pp 1, 2, 6,7)
He’s finally popped the question and of course you
said yes. Now the work starts. Your wedding plans must begin right away.