Irish Wedding Traditions
When will you marry me?
The Four-Year Leap
Superstitious…… Not me
Who goes there!
Let’s Toss The Caber
Mammy, Where Do I Stand?
Something Old, Something …..
I’m Wearing White. Right!
Darling, would you please carry my……
Time to Go Home
The Noisy Parade
A Little Help From Your Friends
No, You Go First
Darling, that’s not Dandruff, is it?
If you haven’t yet decided when to tie the knot; here are a few dates that you should keep in mind. It is believed that the last day of the old year is especially lucky for weddings. The month of May is thought to be an unlucky month for weddings, yet it the most popular! Christmas and New Year’s Eve are also lucky times to tie the knot. All you have to do is commit.
For women, Independence Day really falls on the 29th February when they have the “right” to propose to a man.
This tradition stretches back centuries to the time when English law disregarded the “Four Year Leap” and as a result, everyday traditions and norms were ignored also, i.e. that only a woman can pop the question.
A much more romantic idea is that the Leap Year is not only an opportunity to right this discrepancy between the calendar year of 365 days and the time it takes for the earth to rotate (365 ¼ days) but as an opportunity to rectify an unjust and totally sexist tradition.
Ireland is renowned for its superstitions in all areas of life, and marriage is not exempt from this generalisation. Around the 18th and 19th centuries, it was believed in Ireland that a man not a woman should be the first to congratulate the new bride. Other widely held beliefs include:
It’s lucky to be awakened by birds singing on the morning of your wedding.
It’s lucky if a woman who is happily married puts the veil on the bride, and bad luck if the bride does it herself.
It is good luck if the stone in your engagement ring is your birthstone.
If your wedding dress is accidentally torn on the day it will bring good luck.
The origin of the wedding veil is ambiguous. There are several schools of thought:
During the times of arranged marriages, it is thought that the bride’s face was covered so that the groom would not be given the chance to back out!
It was also believed that the veil was used as a shield against evil spirits.
These traditions all transpired to create a tradition for modern times where the bride’s face is concealed by the veil until the couple are pronounced man and wife.
As a tradition, the tossing of the bouquet dates back to the 14th century and most likely originated in France. The tradition is the same; the woman who catches the bouquet is thought to be the next to marry.
During the wedding ceremony, the bride stands on the left and the groom on the right. The first marriages were by capture, when the husband was fighting off other warriors who wanted his woman, as well as her family. He would hold her with his left hand and fight with his right.
The full rhyme: "Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue”.
This refers to the bride wearing something that links back to her old life. It usually takes the form of a piece of jewellery or the wedding dress, which may have belonged to the mother of the bride.
Wearing something that is representative of good fortune or success for the bride, and is usually the wedding dress itself.
This is meant to bring good luck to the bride, particularly if it comes from another happily married woman.
In biblical times the colour blue was associated with purity and fidelity. Over time this tradition has evolved from the bride wearing blue clothing to wearing a blue garter.
Although the white dress is the focal point of a traditional wedding, its arrival is relatively new in comparison to other traditions. In country weddings dresses varied in colour and it wasn’t until Anne of Brittany donned her resplendent white Gown in 1499 that the tradition was established.
The carrying of the bride is one of our favourite traditions. One belief of its origin is that the husband must carry the bride over the threshold to protect her from evil spirits.
Another belief holds that if a wife stumbles over the threshold this would bring bad luck to her marriage.
The wedding and engagement ring are traditionally worn on the third finger of the left hand, although the origin of this is not altogether certain.
One belief originates from an Egyptian belief that this finger is aligned with the Vena Amoris, the vein of love that runs directly to the heart.
The other belief dates back to the 17th century when the priest touched the three fingers of the left hand when saying “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit”, the fourth was then set aside for the ring.See our selection of Jewellers
Centuries ago, the bride would take an entirely different route home from the wedding to the journey she took to the church, symbolic of her new life ahead.
The firing of rifles was often used to mark the occasion. This has now been replaced by the sounding of horns from cars.
The origin of the bridal party dates back to Anglo Saxon days. When the groom was about to capture his bride to be, he would call on his friend to make sure all ran smoothly. The bride also had women to help her – her “Brideswomen”.
During the evening reception, it is traditional for the bride and bridegroom to dance to the first song together. During that song, the groom then takes his new Mother-in-law, and then his mother for a dance. Simultaneously the bride dances with her new Father-in-Law and then her father.
The tradition of throwing confetti goes back to before the time of Christ. The pagan ritual involved the throwing of grain onto the newlyweds as an act that would precipitate a “fruitful” union. Pagans believed that the fertility of the seeds would take effect on the couple.
The actual word “confetti” is Italian for sweet meats- sugar coated grains of seed and nuts. Recently these have been replaced by coloured pieces of paper. This tradition however, could be on its last days as churches and registry offices are much more stringent about the mess created.