Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Traditionally in Ireland St. Patrick’s Day is considered the luckiest day of the year to be married…

Although we are getting married in Italy, in July, I have been looking at wedding traditions in Ireland and considering bringing some into our wedding day, as we are both Irish. Here are some I’m considering!

Blue Wedding Dress

The traditional Irish bride wore a blue wedding dress rather than white. This color was a symbol of purity in ancient times before white became the universal symbol for virginity.

Wedding Traditions in Ireland

Photograph: weddingsdeals.co.cc

Magic Hanky

This charming custom symbolizes fertility and the bride incorporates it into her dress, carries it with the bouquet or carries it in her sleeve. Once the wedding is over, the bride uses the handkerchief to make a christening bonnet for her first-born child.

Braided Hair

Brides often wore their hair in braids with ribbon and lace woven through the braids. Braided hair is an ancient Irish symbol of feminine power and luck.

Wedding Traditions in Ireland

Photographs: weddingbee.com and iknowhair.com

Lucky Horseshoe

Irish brides used to carry a real horseshoe for good luck. Turned up so their luck won’t run out. This was very cumbersome and over the years brides carried a small porcelain horseshoe instead, within their wedding bouquet.


Many Irish brides wore a wreath of wildflowers in their hair rather than an elaborate veil and carried bouquets of herbs and wildflowers to match.

Wedding Traditions in Ireland

Photograph: oncewed.com

Claddagh Ring

The Claddagh Ring is the traditional Irish wedding ring, it is a heart held by two hands with the heart topped by a crown. The hands represent faith, the crown symbolizes honor, and the heart signifies love.

An unmarried woman who is not engaged wears the ring on her right hand with the heart facing outward toward the end of her finger. Once engaged, she wears it on her right hand with the heart facing her own heart. During the wedding ceremony, she moves it to her left hand with the heart facing her own heart to symbolize that she is married.


Handfasting is an ancient Ireland Celtic tradition, in which a man and woman came together at the start of their marriage relationship. Each partner holds the hands of the other, right hand to right hand, left hand to left, their wrists crossed. The ribbon is wound around the wrists over the top of one and under and around the other, creating the infinity symbol. The practice gave way to the expression “tying the knot”.

Wedding Traditions in Ireland handfasting

Photograph: stylemepretty.co

Make-up bells

Giving a bell as a wedding gift is another Irish tradition. The chime of bells is said to keep evil spirits away and also remind the married couple of their wedding vows. A nice moder twist is to hand out tiny bells to your guests to ring at certain points during your wedding ceremony or when you exit the church instead of throwing confetti.

Wedding Traditions in Ireland

Photograph: maxwangerblog.com

Irish Wedding Blessing

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon the fields.

May the light of friendship guide your paths together.
May the laughter of children grace the halls of your home.
May the joy of living for one another
trip a smile from your lips, a twinkle from your eye.

And when eternity beckons,
at the end of a life heaped high with love,
May the good Lord embrace you
with the arms that have nurtured you
the whole length of your joy-filled days.

May the gracious God hold you both
in the palm of His hands.
And, today, may the Spirit of Love
find a dwelling place in your hearts.


Irish Wedding Toast

May you be poor in misfortune Rich in blessings
Slow to make enemies Quick to make friends
But rich or poor, quick or slow,
May you know nothing but happiness from this day forward.

Irish Lovers Toast

I have known many, Liked not a few,
Loved only one I toast to you.

So will you be including any Irish wedding traditions in your wedding day?

St. Patrick was a gentleman who through strategy and stealth drove all the snakes from Ireland, here’s a toasting to his health. But not too many toastings lest you loose yourself and then forget the good St. Patrick and see all those snakes again.


28 Responses

  1. Lisa O'Dwyer

    Interesting! I’ve seen the handfasting and horseshoes here, but never knew the background. I’d love to see a blue wedding dress and flower garland on a bride!

  2. flyawaybride

    I think a blue wedding dress would be stunning, so different these days, a tradition that seems to have died, sadly. The flower garland is beautiful Lisa, I’d love to wear one but I’d be sneezing all day!

  3. Orela k

    I’m Irish and we had a hand fasting ,wild flowers,bells and the hankie.and we used the irish lovers toast at our reception.

  4. Tara

    I am getting married on St. Patrick’s Day next year and while the wedding itself is Scottish in style, I would like to incorporate a few irish things into the ceremony. I like the handfasting idea, it is a more visible symbol than just rings for a ceremony. Thanks for sharing all these in one place!

  5. Fridays FAB 5 | Fly Away Bride

    […] Tune was inspired by a post Fly Away Bride featured last St. Patricks Day that highlighted some old Irish Wedding Traditions. As you might know by now, we are going to be regularly featuring venue spotlights from around the […]

  6. Ester

    The flowers are gorgeous for a destination wedding. I personally love orchids.. stunning!

  7. Van

    I am an officiant and will be doing a Celtic wedding on August 12th.I love the history of the ceremony, I was very impressed and touched by the symbolism of the handfasting, can hardly wait to officate this wedding… the couple are coming here from Germany and will be wed on the beach here on the Central Coast of California. Rev. Van

  8. denise

    Can anyone please tell me where/who/what/why/when I can find out about the first dress photo in this???? I really want a dress like this, very similar even and need help

  9. cathy tillotson

    I really appreciate the explanation of the significance of these traditions. I also recently came across Celtic tradition of loathing stone. I have been married 27 years, I think it would be a romantic anniversary gift.

  10. Anita

    I just got engaged, and the first dress on the website featuring the blue sweater like top and tutu like skirt is the dress of my dreams, please tell me where I can find it!!

  11. Wedding Venues

    Actually I love those ideas, especially the blue dress (though it may not suit some brides) and the braided hair. Besides, I think that Ireland has some most amazing wedding venues in Europe:)

  12. Melissa

    Handfasting is becoming more and more popular, even in the US. I am in love with the blue dresses too!


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