The traditional Irish weddings

'"Benetton Wedding"' - Attribution: Stephen Fyfe

For a couple getting married in Ireland, chances are excellent that the couple will incorporate at least one ancient Irish wedding tradition into their church ceremony or reception. While modern Irish weddings have evolved from their Celtic ancestors’ weddings by embracing more modern practices, there are many ways to incorporate ancient Irish traditions into weddings. A traditional or authentic Irish wedding will always contain something that can be traced back to their rich Celtic heritage.

The location of the wedding can influence the types of wedding traditions chosen. Couples wanting to get married in Ireland have many indoor and outdoor options to choose from. Ancient holy sites that can be found on small islands off the coast and medieval castles are rentable for weddings. Stunning scenic locations like the Cliffs of Moher in the southwest or beach weddings that are located in the Ring of Kerry are highly desirable locations. Ireland has many cathedral-like churches and quaint hotels that also serve as popular wedding destinations.

During the Irish wedding ceremony, wedding vows are very diverse, depending on the couple’s religious views. Besides the traditional Catholic vows, a famous Irish proverb “Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Walk beside me and just be my friend,” is used by Irish couples during weddings and receptions.

An Irish wedding would not be complete without Irish music, dancing and singing. Hiring a group of dancers who are trained in the traditional dances of the bride and groom’s hometowns to perform during the reception is one way to incorporate an ancient tradition into a contemporary wedding celebration. Irish vocalists and musicians can perform many of the traditional Irish songs, including “The Irish Wedding Song”, which is popular at Irish weddings.

These days the traditional wedding dessert, the Irish wedding cake, looks to be a regular tiered cake, but there is a traditional cake actually called an “Irish Wedding Cake” that is served at some receptions. This cake contains dried fruit such as currants and raisins, almonds and is laced with brandy.

For non-resident couples wanting to get married in Ireland, the requirements are strict, but with a little forethought and a lot of planning, you can get married in Ireland. One requirement is the couple needs to declare their intent to marry to a registrar within at least three months of the wedding date. Someone such as a wedding planner, who is well-versed in the marriage procedures, may be needed to help non-residents with understanding and fulfilling the requirements.