Thursday, 26 July 2012

Irish wedding traditions

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a sixpence in your shoe.

Irish culture is steeped in tradition:

Traditionally, the Irish bride wore a blue dress, the colour symbloising purity.

The Magic Hankie was carried by the bride on her wedding day then stitched into a bonnet for the first born baby's Christening day.

A tier of the wedding cake was also kept for the first born baby's christening.

Candle ceremony
I love the role that candles play in the Irish wedding's such a beautiful, romantic and symbolic element of the wedding.
Image from wedding candles Ireland

At the beginning of the wedding ceremony a representative from both the bride and the grooms family are called upon to light a taper candle. The brides lighted candle is then placed on the left hand side of the altar and the grooms family member places his lighted candle on the right hand side of the altar, to bear witness to the wedding. Once the bride and groom have been joined together in matrimony, they each take their family taper candle and together the two flames are used to light the unity candle, representing the joining together of the families and symblosing the "two become one".

I love the attention to detail that wedding candles Ireland offer their customers. Including taper and unity candles personalised with bride and grooms names, wedding date , ect. All images and text are incorprated into the wax, they do not use peel off stickers, thus ensuring a lifelong keepsake. They they also offer a colour matching service.

which gave rise to the modern term of Tying the Knot

Is an old Irish tradition involving binding the bride and grooms wrists together with ribbon, symbolising their union.

Leaving an "Infant de Prague" statue in your garden on the night before your wedding day is said to ensure fine weather..especially if you remove the head of the statue (ie decapitate it)....Yes! I am serious!

Many of these old wedding traditions may have fallen by the wayside but there are many more that the modern bride can incoporate into her wedding day to add a unique and nostalgic twist.

The Marriage Bell
pretty wedding bell
Photo courtesy of in pastels

Also known as the "make up bell" was traditionally given to newly weds as a wedding token. Chiming  bells were said to ward off evil spirits. Additionally, when an argument took place, one of the couple could ring the bell to end the dispute and declare a truce without either party having to admit to being at fault.... makes a lot of sense!

A nice modern twist is to hand out tiny bells to your guests to ring as you lead the bridal procession down the aisle.

Just imagine how magical it would be to leave the church with the sound of a hundred tiny tinkling bells ringing in your ears.

Irish Horseshoe

Due to the importance that livestock, particularly horses, played in everyday Irish life,if not survival, the horseshoe has always been associated with good luck. A horseshoe, carefully kept in the upright position, to stop all the luck draining out, was placed in the brides bouquet or sown into the wedding dress.

Modern brides may like to give a nod back to previous generations and traditions by incoporating the horseshoe symbol in the form of jewellry or bridal bouquet charms. Modern brides may also like to include a little bridal charm with a photo of the couples parents, as their "something old"...Would also make a very special and touching gift from mother to daughter or bridesmaid to bride.

The Grushie

The tradition of tossing a fistful of coins to the wedding guests was thought to bring good luck and prosperity to the groom and his bride. This tradition, termed "The Grushie" can be given a modern twist by using chocolate coins as a diy wedding favour

Irish Wedding Coin
After the blessing of the rings, during the marriage ceremony, the groom presents his bride with a silver coin and says "I give you this as a token of all I possess." The coin symbolizes his willingness to share all that he has with his bride in the future. The coin is kept as a family heirloom and is passed down from mother to her eldest son on his wedding day.

Now you know that something old referred to a connection to family, something new referred to the Magic hankie (and all the new beginnings it symbolises), something borrowed was/is a symbol of friendship and something blue referred to the brides wedding dress (a symbol of her purity)...And the sixpence was so that you would always be financially well off in your marriage.

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